A recent post in 'The Automatic Earth' November 12 2011: Bail Out or Revitalize? has an interesting article by Nathan Carey on "The Revitalization of Rural Economies:Profiling Small-Scale Agriculture". In part, it describes the efforts in Hardwich, Vermont:
"The best way to conceive of this revolution is by illustrating a place where the challenge of rebuilding our food systems from the soil up has begun in earnest - Hardwick, Vermont (pop. 3000). The town had its best days in the 1920s, as it was a primary source for granite. When Granite was replaced by concrete as a building material, the industry collapsed. Therefore, the town has been in a sort of stasis for generations. .....
However, there's a growing and well publicized movement happening in Vermont that could provide some clues to the rest of us on how to proceed in a systemic process of revitalizing rural economies. There are many small and medium sized agricultural businesses in Hardwick that popped up within a short time frame and have been growing and making their positive influence felt."
The town was profiled in a 2008 NY Times article Uniting Around Food to Save an Ailing Town and a 2010 book The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food by Ben Hewitt. A review here.
From the NPR article Vermont Town's Food Focus Still A Growing Concept:
"Maybe the same thing can't happen in bigger towns, or major cities. Maybe Hardwick is different. But in this small town, at least, food is moving from the fringes of local life back toward its heart"