According to Green and Haines (2015), “cultural capital represents forces such as family background and educational qualifications that can be converted into economic capital and help to explain the structure and function of a community” (p. 306). That being said, education is a focal point for the Middlebury community because of the significant roll that Middlebury College plays within the town. This can be seen in the percentage of the population that has a high school degree or higher, compared to the national average. In Middlebury, 93.5% of the town’s population has a high school level degree or higher, while the U.S. national average is 86.3% (Data Access and Dissemination Systems, n.d.). These results may be in part to the tradition of education in New England and Middlebury in particular, and reflect the heavy influence of the academic sphere and focus on higher education and continued learning.
Another key example of cultural capital in Middlebury is the strong representation of agriculture. This has been a part of Middlebury’s history since it’s founding. In fact, in the 1859 book on the History of the Town of Middlebury, Samuel Swift reflected that “Vermont is an inland State, and agriculture is the pursuit of the great body of its inhabitants” (p. 136). This tradition lives on today, through Middlebury’s diverse groups of farmers that populate the surrounding area. The cultural value of this pursuit is shown each week at the Middlebury Farmers’ Market. Samuel Swift also remarked on Addison County’s agricultural fairs stating, “There have been exhibited an extensive variety of the products of agriculture, horticulture, and of domestic and other manufacture” (p. 129) and he noted how they help to advance both economy and society. In the same way, the Middlebury Farmers’ Market allows agricultural producers of vegetables, fruits, plants, etc. to come together. Green and Haines(2015) note “Local food systems also create stronger connections between producers and consumers” (p.322). They interact with college students, professors, town citizens and visitors of varied backgrounds. It is based on the values of local production and agriculture in the town and based in the historic Marble Works section of Middlebury. In the end, the town of Middlebury has a strong representation of cultural capital through the past and present.
Green, Gary Paul and Haines, Anna. 2015. Asset Building & Community Development 4th Edition. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). (n.d.). American FactFinder. Retrieved October 01, 2016, from http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml
History of the Town of Middlebury: In the County of Addison, Vermont by Samuel Swift , Middlebury Historical Society (Middlebury, Vt .) Published 1859
Middlebury Farmers’ Market. (n.d.). Retrieved October 01, 2016, from http://www.middleburyfarmersmarket.org/
Trent Campbell. July 25 2106 SHOPPERS CHECK OUT the offerings at the Middlebury Farmers’ Market in the Marble Works complex last Wednesday. The market will move at the end of the season because a multi-year downtown construction project will eat up some nearby parking spaces. [Photograph], Retrieved from http://www.addisonindependent.com/201607middlebury-farmers-market-looking-new-home