Agriculture in industrial Waterbury?  Sounds like an oxymoron.  And yet agriculture remained robust in the city even after the industrial revolution made Waterbury the Brass City.  A new exhibit, “Brass City/Grass Roots,” explores – through informative story panels – the many ways in which agriculture, local food processing and local food marketing have made their mark in Waterbury over the past 150 years. 

  The exhibit first appeared in the Torrington campus library and is now on display at the Waterbury campus library until May 22.  It will coincide with programming around the current UConn Reads selection, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. 

   The exhibit will finally travel to the Dodd Research Center on the Storrs campus, where it will remain from June 1 to August 1. It has been at farmers’ markets and other local venues in a number of Waterbury’s neighborhoods during the fall of 2014.  Viewing is open to the general public and hopefully will inspire lively discussions on the past, present, and future of local agriculture as an economic development tool, a way to revitalize neighborhoods, and a source of fresh and healthy food.  The exhibit also complements the discussions this semester around UConn’s current book selection for its UConn Reads program.

     This colorful display consists of 10 panels with historic maps, photographs, and oral history interviews done with many area residents, and has in-depth profiles of several important Waterbury farms.  A Spanish language translation of exhibit text and places for comments, questions, and stories will be included on one of the panels. 
    Conceived by Brass City Harvest Executive Director, Susan Pronovost, the display is based on a year and a half of research by Dr. Ruth Glasser, an urban studies and history faculty member at the University of Connecticut Waterbury Campus, along with UConn students and talented area photographers and mapmakers.  Research for this project was made possible by grants from Connecticut Humanities, the Waterbury Environmental Benefits Fund, and the Connecticut Community Foundation.  The project was funded by and was part of Connecticut at Work, a year-long conversation on the past, present and future of work life in Connecticut created by Connecticut Humanities.   

   Display hours at the UConn Waterbury library are Monday thru Thursday, 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM and Fridays from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.