Jon Kalish


Manhattan-based radio reporter Jon Kalish has reported for NPR since 1980. Links to radio documentaries, podcasts & stories on NPR are at Find him on Twitter: @kalishjon

A display case with CBD products at the Green State Gardener store in Burlington.
Jon Kalish / For VPR

As the harvest nears a close, 2018 is turning out to be a pivotal year for industrial hemp in Vermont. More people are growing it than ever before and millions of dollars are being invested in hemp farms and in the industrial labs needed to extract CBD from hemp.

A man kneels on the ground outside of a tiny house in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
Jon Kalish / For VPR

Since 2012, a group of tiny house enthusiasts has gathered in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom to participate in hands-on building workshops. It's known as Tiny House Summer Camp.

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To New England now. Maple syrup, cheese and ski resorts are staples of Vermont's economy, and the state may soon be adding hemp to that list. The plant's fiber has been used for fabric for millennia, but Vermont farmers are growing hemp for its purported medicinal properties.

Stephan Cantor, left, and Howie Cantor, right, of West Glover, Vt., stand here with Tara Rodriguez Besosa, center, director of the Puerto Rico Resilence Fund, and the fund's van that was purchased with donations since the hurricane.
Stephan Cantor, courtesy

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, and though news of its impact on the island has receded from the front page, a long rebuilding effort continues — and a handful of Vermonters are helping out.


A South Burlington woman named Nina Meyerhof has been spending time in Poland where she is trying to create a humanitarian institute next to the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp.

Jay Burstein, who makes ukuleles out of hemp like the one he's holding above, attended this year's Hemp Fest at Burke Mountain Resort on Sept. 9.
Jon Kalish / VPR

On Saturday, Sept. 9, about 400 people gathered at the Burke Mountain Resort for Hemp Fest, a daylong series of workshops and displays focused on the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Green Mountain CBD's hemp farm in Hardwick. Since this photos the hemp plants seen here have more than doubled in size.
Jon Kalish / For VPR

More than 80 Vermonters registered with the Agency of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp in 2017, the third growing season since legalization in 2013. And while more than four times the number of people who signed up last year are growing in 2017, experienced growers have had a range of experiences.

Campers at Zeno Mountain Farms spend a month living in wheelchair-accessible tree houses, performing, making films and taking care of one another.
Jon Kalish / For VPR

Every summer adults living with developmental disabilities and their able-bodied friends spend a month on Zeno Mountain in Lincoln, Vermont, living in wheelchair-accessible tree houses and caring for one-another.

courtesy of Newport Wireless Mesh

For many Vermonters, a broadband connection to the internet is an essential facet of 21st century life, and yet there are some who can't afford it. A group in Newport is organizing a wireless network that will offer high-speed internet access at a price that low-income residents of the city can afford.

courtesy of Green Mountain CBD

A group of investors that includes two prominent Vermont businessmen has reached a tentative agreement to back a hemp farm in Hardwick that is producing pills with a high concentration of a substance claimed to be effective in blocking seizures in epileptics.

Matt Hogan

The Generator maker space has to move out of Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium by the end of this year. The non-profit workshop has reached a tentative agreement to move into a warehouse leased by Champlain College in Burlington’s South End.

Jacob Goldstein

Farmers have started planting Vermont’s third hemp crop. Though their numbers are few, the acreage devoted to hemp has significantly increased this year, as has the direction of the state’s fledgling hemp industry.

Regina Troiano

Joseph "Chip" Troiano represents Caledonia District 2 in the House. Troiano worked for more than 30 years as a defense investigator in Vermont. The job allowed him to make use of his skill as a photographer, which is currently on display at the Statehouse.

Jon Kalish for VPR

Farmers have become allies in renewable energy development in Vermont; often they have plenty of land, but struggle to make a profit. Farmers who offer to lease their land for solar installations sometimes are met with intense opposition. But one Ryegate farmer’s solar project appears to have the blessings of his neighbors.

Jon Kalish for VPR

Writer Laura Stevenson has written two works of fiction inspired by her own life in Vermont. One of her books drew on the very personal experience of losing her hearing. 

Vermont Historical Society

This year marks the centennial of the last long log drives on the Connecticut River. From the late 1800s and early 1900s, logs as big as 30 feet long were floated down the river to sawmills in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Now two Vermonters are keeping the history alive, chronicling the history of the drives.

Jon Kalish / VPR

Vermonters have just harvested their second crop of industrial hemp since the Legislature legalized it in 2013. But because of obstacles to cultivating hemp in the state, few farmers have grown the crop.

Last year only a half dozen people grew hemp in Vermont. This year, according to one grower, the number is up to nine.

Howard Wise / Paul Zaloom

This spring Senator John McCain cited a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to the Sandglass Theater in Putney as an example of wasteful government spending.

McCain took the NEA to task for funding Sandglass’ puppet festival. He also singled out one of the scheduled performers, Paul Zaloom. Sandglass’ Puppets in the Green Mountains festival kicks off on Thursday. And Zaloom will be there to fire back at McCain.

Jon Kalish

Fun Home, the hit Broadway show inspired by Vermont cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s memoir, won a total of five Tony Awards on Sunday, including best musical. The show chronicles her childhood and college years in a family with a closeted gay father.

But Bechdel isn’t the only Vermonter with a connection to Fun Home. Eleven-year-old Oscar Williams of Charlotte plays the older of her two brothers. 

Jon Kalish / VPR

On a recent weekend, dozens of vintage snowmobiles were on display in a farm field in Bethel. To qualify as vintage, they had to be made no later than the early 1980s –  but a couple of them dated back to the 1920s.