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VCRD In the News

Guilford groups leverage $400K to transform historic Grange Hall into community center
Press Release as seen in vtdigger.com: https://vtdigger.org/2017/10/03/guilford-groups-leverage-400k-transform-... GUILFORD, VT–Exciting things are happening in Guilford Center, and on Sunday, October 22, from 3-5 p.m., the townspeople of Guilford... more
Community ‘Visits’ To Focus On City’s Future: Vermont Council On Rural Development To Host First Meeting In December
By Robin Smith, as seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/community-visits-to-focus-on-... NEWPORT CITY — Recommendations about downtown’s potential for economic development will form the baseline for community... more
Community Visits Produce Tangible Results: Child Care Center, Warming Shelter, Among Achievements
By Amy Ash Nixon, as seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/community-visits-produce-tang... The 2015 Community Visit process in the town of Craftsbury has led to a new child care center, opened earlier this month... more
NEK - Helping Towns Help Themselves: Community Visits to Brighton, Burke, Craftsbury, Lyndon, St. J
By Amy Ash Nixon, as seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/rural-development-council-foc... Teams from the Vermont Council on Rural Development have visited several Northeast Kingdom communities in recent years.... more
Vernon receives Village Center designation
As seen in vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/09/29/vernon-receives-village-center-designati... An area in the Town of Vernon has been designated as a Vermont Village Center by the Vermont Downtown Development Board. The designated area... more
Our opinion: Time for other voices to be heard in Pownal
Editorial as seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/our-opinion-time-for-other-voice... Well, we've heard from those Pownal residents pushing a libertarianistic viewpoint at meetings for the Empower Pownal program... more
One Burke Process Passed to Citizen Task Forces: Infrastructure in W. Burke to be Major Focus
By Amy Ash Nison, as seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/one-burke-process-passed-to-c... BURKE — The One Burke community visioning process brought to town by the Vermont Council on Rural Development on Tuesday... more
Courtney Commentary: Put it in Reverse
By Elizabeth Courtney as seen in the Rutland Herald: http://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/put-it-in-reverse/ I recently heard Paul Hawken — the ecology of commerce and drawdown guru — speak about “reversing” climate change. Hawken spoke at the... more
State aid 'helps pay the bills' for construction -- Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development sends more than $300,000 in tax credits to four projects in county
By Wendy Levy, as seen on The Commons: http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=26856&page=1 By Wendy M. Levy/The Commons BRATTLEBORO—The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) has awarded more than $300,... more
Climate opportunity: Initiative seeks creative innovations in new economy
By Yvette Shi, as seen in the Addison Independent: http://www.addisonindependent.com/201709climate-opportunity-initiative-s... MIDDLEBURY — How does a community position itself to reap the benefits of the new climate economy? That was the core... more
Conquering Climate Change One Business at a Time
By Terri Hallenbeck, as seen in Seven Days: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/conquering-climate-change-one-busine... When Paul Costello and his team of organizers started putting together a conference on climate change a few months ago, they... more
Middlebury residents concerned about climate change, but differ on what to do about it
By Lou Varricchio, as seen on True North Reports: http://truenorthreports.com/middlebury-residents-differ-on-response-to-c... MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — A meeting held Monday on “creating a climate economy” revealed that Middlebury residents are concerned... more
Vermont seizes climate change economic growth and resource renewal opportunities -- Accel-VT invites entrepreneurs from across North America to solve electric grid challenges and accelerate business growth in Vermont
BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As national environmental protections are deregulated and challenges presented by climate change become more widely recognized, Vermont positions itself as the state where climate change and resource... more
‘Climate economy’ initiative divides Pownal, Middlebury next
By Michael Bielawski, as seen in True North Reports: http://truenorthreports.com/climate-economy-initiative-coming-to-middlebury One community has become divided after the Vermont Council on Rural Development visited with its Climate Economy Model... more
Editorial: How Middlebury's Climate Initiative will make you richer
By Angelo Lynn, as seen in the Addison Independent: http://www.addisonindependent.com/201709editorial-how-middleburys-cimate... A week from Monday, on Sept. 18, residents of the greater-Middlebury area will kick-off a discussion on how to transform... more
'Now or never': Family to open general store in Vernon
By Chris Mays, as seen in the Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/stories/now-or-never-family-to-open-general-stor... VERNON — Residents missing the community store need worry no longer. Construction is visible at 67 Governor Hunt Rd.,... more
Fear of empowerment: In a Vermont town, goal of ‘climate economy’ draws support, resistance
By Evan Lawrence, as seen in the Hill Country Observer: http://www.hillcountryobserver.com/2017news/sept2017pownal.htm POWNAL, Vt. - This spring, the rural town of Pownal became the first in Vermont to embark on a new planning initiative aimed at... more
VCRD Announces Middlebury as the next Climate Economy Model Community: Kick-off event and free community dinner September 18
As seen in Vermont Business Magazine: http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/2017/september/03/vcrd-names-middlebury-n... MIDDLEBURY - Vermont Council on Rural Development, joined by partners Efficiency Vermont and Green Mountain Power, announces that... more
Former Greensboro Garage to Become Food-Ag Center
By Sally Pollack as seen in Seven Days: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/former-greensboro-garage-to-become-f... The big yellow building on Route 15 in Hardwick, the former Greensboro Garage, will become a food and agriculture center, thanks to... more
Green business summit aims to spur national investment
By Kevin O'Connor as seen in vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/08/20/green-business-summit-aims-spur-national... Paul Costello doesn’t want to talk about the polarizing problem of climate change. He wants to talk about solutions. “We have... more
Village Infrastructure, Traffic Safety, School Needs Top Priorities in Burke
By Amy Nixon, as seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/village-infrastructure-traffi... BURKE HOLLOW — More than 80 community members turned out Tuesday night for the second in a three-part community visit... more
Robert Miller Commentary: Climate economy is an important opportunity
As seen in vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/08/16/robert-miller-climate-economy-important-... Editor’s note: This commentary is by Robert Miller, of Shelburne, who is CEO of VSECU and a former commissioner of the Vermont Department of... more
New 'Climate Action Commission' Seeks Jobs-Growing Solutions To Greenhouse Gas Problems
As seen and heard on Vermont Public Radio: http://digital.vpr.net/post/new-climate-action-commission-seeks-jobs-gro... Gov. Phil Scott’s newly minted Climate Action Commission held its first meeting Tuesday, and while past Vermont governors have... more
Costello Commentary: Coming Together to Answer Climate Change
As seen in the Times-Argus: https://www.timesargus.com/articles/answering-the-climate-challenge/ This week saw yet another disturbing climate change report in the news—this one authored by U.S. Government officials—highlighting the grave danger... more
Catalysts of the Climate Economy summit set for Vermont
As seen in the Vermont Business Magazine Vermont will host the Catalysts of the Climate Economy (cc:econ), a three-day national innovation summit on September 6-8. Taking place at the University of Vermont in Burlington, the summit brings together... more
Hawken to keynote national climate innovation summit
Montpelier, VT – Environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist and author Paul Hawken will be the keynote speaker at the Catalysts of the Climate Economy: National Innovation Summit, (cc:econ). The National Innovation Summit is a three-day event being... more
Nick Richardson Commentary: The climate and economy are intertwined
As seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/nick-richardson-the-climate-and-... The economy and our landscape in Vermont are intertwined. Recreation, tourism, agriculture, and forestry, all key economic drivers, depend... more
Amid controversy, residents decide on five town projects
By Jim Therrien, as seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/amid-controversy-residents-decid...POWNAL — About 120 town residents whittled down a list of proposed community-oriented projects from 16 to five, but not... more
Pownal's opportunity to lead
By Ted Brady, as seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/pownals-opportunity-to-lead,514507 Rural economies across America are struggling to recover from the Great Recession, with economic progress stalling,... more
Pownal program not something to fear
As seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/pownal-program-not-something-to-... Some Pownal residents are highly suspicious of the intent of the Vermont Council on Rural Development's Climate Economy Model Communities... more
Some object to Pownal initiative, call for town vote
As seen in vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/07/21/object-pownal-initiative-call-town-vote/ POWNAL — Vermont’s southwestern-most town in April became the first selected by a statewide program aimed at helping communities address the... more
Country Stores, a New England Institution, Are Going Dark: Across New England, classic rural general stores are on the decline amid new competition, but some are finding ways to fight back
By Jennifer Levitz, as seen in the Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/article_email/country-stores-a-new-england-instituti... For 203 years, the Francestown Village Store served its tiny New Hampshire town, selling everything from fresh-baked... more
Community looks to unite around ‘One Burke’
By Alan Keays, as seen vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/07/12/community-looks-unite-around-one-burke/ BURKE — Uniting east and west, as well as the mountain resort and the village below, was a common theme as residents, business owners and... more
Lyndonville Working On Downtown Rejuvenation
As seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/lyndonville-working-on-downto... LYNDONVILLE — A new committee is at work on trying to rejuvenate the downtown. The group was borne from the recent Community Visit... more
Empowering Pownal: Meeting draws over 100
By Jim Therrien, as seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/empowering-pownal-meeting-draws-... POWNAL — More than 100 residents turned out for the launch of Empower Pownal, the state's first initiative under the... more
Empower Pownal invites the full community to a free lunch and kick-off to set direction for the future
On Saturday June 24th all members of the Pownal community are invited to the Empower Pownal kick-off event at the American Legion. This event is kicks off a process for residents to identify and advance priorities that improve economic opportunity... more
Paul Bruhn Awarded Vermont Council on Rural Development Lifetime Leadership Award
On Thursday, June 8th the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) presented its annual Vermont Lifetime Leadership Award to Paul Bruhn, the Executive Director of Preservation Trust of Vermont for his transformational leadership in historic... more
Video ~ Vermont PBS "Profile of Vermont's Future" with Paul Costello
Vermont PBS aired their "Profile of Vermont's Future" special around the economic challenges facing Vermont and how communities are stepping up to advance their revitalization -- with moderator Fran Stoddard and panelists VCRD Executive Director... more
McGinnis Opinion: Seeing opportunity in climate fight
By Linda McGinnis as seen in the Burlington Free Press: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/opinion/my-turn/2017/06/08/opin... Vermont is made up of communities that care about each other and our beautiful surroundings. It comes from our... more
Larry Williams Commentary: Vermont can lead the way in climate economy
As seen in vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/06/02/larry-williams-vermont-can-lead-way-clim... As the numbers of people who participated in the climate march recently showed, Vermonters and Americans across this country are concerned about... more
First ‘climate economy’ town begins charting its course
As seen in vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/05/14/first-climate-economy-town-begins-charti... POWNAL — About 30 residents turned out last week to begin planning how to foster a healthy local economy in an era of climate change. Pownal is... more
First Climate Community initiative launched in Pownal
By Jim Therrien, as seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/first-climate-community-initiati... POWNAL — The Vermont Council on Rural Development launched its first Climate Economy Model Communities initiative Tuesday... more
Pownal chosen as first climate economy model community
As seen in Business Vermont of the Rutland Herald/Times Argus: http://www.businessvermont.com/pownal-chosen-as-first-climate-economy-mo... POWNAL — Shannon Barsotti, Pownal Planning Commission member, loves to sit on her porch and watch the Hoosic... more
Video ~ Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce: Rural Economic Development
Hear VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello's perspective about changes and progress in the state technologically, economically, and culturally as he  speaks with Tom Torti, President, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber (0:28 minutes).
Local Economy, Downtown, Recreation Are Among Lyndon Priorities, School-Community Partnerships Focus, Too
By Amy Ash Nixon as seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/local-economy-downtown-recrea... LYNDON — The three-part Lyndon Community Visit Process brought to town through the Vermont Council on Rural Development (... more
Lyndon’s Community Planning Meeting April 25
As seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/lyndon-s-community-planning-m... The Vermont Council on Rural Development will hold its last major session in the Lyndon Community Visit process on April 25. All residents... more
Vernon halts fiber optic work
By Mike Faher, as seen in the Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/stories/vernon-halts-fiber-optic-work,504885 VERNON — Despite years of planning and research, it appears that a high-speed fiber optic network isn't coming to Vernon... more
Retreat Farm presents multi-year plan
By Chris Mays, as seen in the Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/stories/retreat-farm-presents-multi-year-plan,50... BRATTLEBORO — The Retreat Farm recently unveiled a multi-year plan that calls for collaboration between organizations... more
Dan Hoxworth: Fighting poverty and climate change through transportation efficiency
As seen in the vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/04/18/dan-hoxworth-fighting-poverty-climate-ch... Editor’s note: This commentary is by Dan Hoxworth, the executive director of Capstone Community Action and a member of the Vermont Climate... more
First model climate economy town
By Jim Therrian, as seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/first-model-climate-economy-town... POWNAL — Pownal has been selected as the first Vermont town to receive planning assistance through the Climate Economy... more
Press Release: Pownal Selected as First Climate Economy Model Community
The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) joined with partners Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont to announce that the town of Pownal was selected as the first to participate in the Climate Economy Model Communities Program. VCRD and... more
Video ~ Paul Costello Keynote at the 72nd Annual Vermont Town Officers Education Conference
VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello gave the keynote address at the annual Town Officers Education Conference. Tune in to hear him talk about VCRD's Community Visit process in service to Vermont towns.
Priorities Chosen for VT Rural Development Process in Lyndon
As seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/priorities-chosen-for-vt-rura... LYNDONVILLE — The community planning process initiated by Vermont Council on Rural Development continued this week with more than 70... more
YMCA partnership is a win for Bennington
As seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/ymca-partnership-is-a-win-for-be... The town has known about its need for improved recreational programs since at least 2012 when the Vermont Council on Rural Development... more
Bennington to contract with Berkshire YMCA
By Jim Therrien, as seen in the Berkshire Eagle: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/vermont-town-to-contract-with-berk... Jacobs and Hurd said the impetus for the effort dates to the 2012 Vermont Council on Rural Development Community... more
VTrans and ACCD award economic development grants to Brighton, St Albans and Windsor
As seen in the Vermont Business Magazine: http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/march/vtrans-and-accd-award-economic-deve... Note that VCRD wrapped up our Brighton Community Visit process in January 2017 where the community chose to prioritize work to "... more
Commentary ~ Jon Copans: Modelling a local and vibrant climate economy
As seen in the vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/03/06/jon-copans-modelling-local-vibrant-clima... With a national political conversation that seems to become more divisive and fragmented with each passing day, engaging locally to create... more
Officials, Residents Begin Community Visioning Process
As seen in the Caledonian Record, by BY AMY ASH NIXON Staff Writer: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/vt-council-on-rural-developme... LYNDONVILLE — The first leg of a process aimed at helping the community identify priorities to improve... more
Climate Economy Model Communities Program Launched: Vermont Communities are Invited to Apply
As seen in the Vermont Business Magazine: http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/february/scott-vcrd-utilities-look-develo... The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) joined with Governor Phil Scott and partners including Green Mountain Power,... more
Creating bright futures for Maine’s rural economies relies on collaboration of ideas
As seen in the Bangor Daily News: https://bangordailynews.com/2017/02/10/homestead/creating-bright-futures... BANGOR, Maine ― Communities throughout rural Maine are up against no shortage of challenges. Facing geographic isolation, aging and... more
Rural Development Council Coming To Lyndon
As seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/rural-development-council-com... LYNDON CENTER — The entire community is invited to take part in a forum focused on making positive changes for the future of Lyndon and... more
Working Lands Enterprise Board Announces Program Impacts on Vermont’s Economy and Communities
As seen on vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2017/02/09/working-lands-enterprise-board-announces... Press Release: Working Lands Enterprise Board Contact: Noelle SevoianNoelle.Sevoian@vermont.gov 802.585.9072 428 New Full-Time Jobs Created and... more
Town offers land to ease purchase of Grange: Creation of community center was 'top priority' in community visioning process
By Wendy Levy, The Commons. As seen on: http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=16488&page=1#... GUILFORD—Members of the nonprofit Broad Brook Community Center recently got one step closer to possibly purchasing the Broad... more
Opinion: Maine needs a leader to step up for rural communities
As seen in the Bangor Daily News: https://bangordailynews.com/2017/02/04/opinion/editorials/maine-needs-a-... Maine’s rural communities are struggling. They face a declining population, especially among young people. The state’s aging population... more
What Maine can learn from Vermont about revitalizing rural communities
As seen in Revitalizing News: https://revitalizationnews.com/article/maine-can-learn-vermont-revitaliz... Maine is the most rural state in the United States, but it doesn’t have an organization devoted solely to helping rural communities. There are... more
Maine’s efforts to help rural towns didn’t work. Here’s what it can learn from Vermont
As seen in the Bangor Daily News: http://bangordailynews.com/2017/02/02/mainefocus/maines-efforts-to-help-... Maine is the most rural state in the country, but it doesn’t have an organization devoted solely to helping rural communities. There are... more
Jon Copans named director of VCRD's Climate Economy Model Communities Program
The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) announced today that Jon Copans has joined the organization as Director of its Climate Economy Model Communities Program. The Program, starting in 2017, will work with Green Mountain Power and other... more
Brighton Community Action Plan to Be Developed on December 8th
The Vermont Council on Rural Development will hold its last major session in the Brighton Community Visit process on December 8th; all residents of the town are welcome to help line up action plans to move priority projects forward. On November 4th... more
Center For The Agricultural Economy Leads Effort To Acquire Big Yellow Barn
As seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/features/business/center-for-the-agricul... HARDWICK — The Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE), working with a consortium of Hardwick area businesses, the town and economic... more
Vermont Climate Economy Action Team Convened
As seen in vermontbiz.com: http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/november/vermont-climate-economy-action-t... A new working group has formed to advance Vermont’s Climate Economy. Founded by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD), the Vermont... more
VCRD Job Opening: Climate Economy Model Communities Program Director
The Vermont Council on Rural Development is seeking a “Climate Economy Model Communities Program Director” to help Vermont communities advance economic opportunities while reducing their local carbon footprint. The Director will develop and... more
Vernon eyes Vermont Yankee property
By Mike Faher, as seen on vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2016/10/14/vernon-eyes-vy-property/ VERNON — Town officials see an “amazing opportunity” in potential reuse of Vermont Yankee property, though it’s not the property some might initially... more
A cup of cheer: Vernon's Community Café debuts in Town Hall lobby
By Wendy M. Levy, as seen in The Commons: http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=15690&page=1#... VERNON—A group of locals trying to open a community café are so intent on meeting their goal, they won’t even let a lack of a... more
Brighton brainstorming session Oct. 4: Event about the future of Brighton Town, Economy, and School also includes free community dinner
By Robin Smith, as seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/brighton-brainstorming-session-encouraged-on-oct/article_9dca428b-fe04-5ace-972b-cebf74124bcf.html BRIGHTON — The entire community around Island Pond is... more
Vernon committee finds 'interim' space for community store
By Chris Mays, as seen in the Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/latestnews/ci_30410266/vernon-committee-finds-in... VERNON — A committee exploring the prospects for opening a community store has found an "interim" space in the lobby... more
Brighton / Island Pond Community Visit Program invites the full community together to set direction for the future
On October 4th 2016, all members of the Brighton/Island Pond community are invited to kick off the Brighton Community Visit process, an opportunity for residents to actively participate in examining issues, deciding their top priorities and... more
Paul Costello Commentary: Vernon is building its future
All Vermonters know that the town has taken a hard blow with the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee. The closure has had direct economic impacts on jobs, employee relocations, declining home values, and lost taxes and fees to the town that support... more
Vernon's power production future debated
By Mike Faher, vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2016/09/14/vernons-power-production-future-debated/ VERNON - As residents try to imagine Vernon's energy future, some say the former nuclear town should think small. Officials and experts gathered... more
Manchester River Walk: Showcasing the natural beauty
In 2013, VCRD ran a Community Visit process in Manchester. One of the priorities chosen by the town was to "Redevelop the Riverside and Open a Riverwalk." We're so happy to see this story sharing the progress so far. Or visit WCAX website: http... more
To Fill Void Left By Vermont Yankee, Vernon Looks For New Energy Projects
As heard on Vermont Public Radio. Listen to the story here: http://digital.vpr.net/post/fill-void-left-vermont-yankee-vernon-looks-n... Energy leaders from across the state met in Vernon this week to help the town plan for life after Vermont Yankee... more
Residents say they want a community store
As seen on The Commons: http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=15418&page=1#... VERNON—Is a general store in the town’s future? At least 175 residents think so, according to information provided by Annette Roydon, chair of... more
Business incubator, fiber optics eyed for Vernon’s future
By Mike Faher, as seen on vtdigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2016/08/29/business-incubator-fiber-optics-eyed-ver... VERNON — In a basement meeting room just a short walk from the front gate of Vermont Yankee, federal, state and local officials... more
Vermont gets $1.2 million in federal aid for northern border communities
As seen in Vermont Business Magazine: http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/august/vermont-gets-12-million-federal-ai... As part of a continuing effort to bolster economic development in Northern Vermont, Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders... more
Carbon tax one issue dividing gubernatorial hopefuls in debate
By Adam Federman, as seen in vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2016/07/20/carbon-tax-one-issue-dividing-gubernatori... RUTLAND — Can Vermont meet its own economic needs and still effectively address the issue of global climate change? That... more
Candidates for governor square off in Rutland
By Gordon Dritschilo, as seen in the Times Argus: http://timesargus.com/article/20160720/THISJUSTIN/160729969 RUTLAND — It was sometimes hard to draw distinctions between Vermont’s gubernatorial candidates Tuesday night. Democrats Matt Dunne,... more
Online Learning, Global Programs, Farm Enhancements, and Nationwide Leadership: Innovation Thrives in Food Systems Education at Vermont’s Higher Ed Schools
This summer Vermont’s colleges and universities are buzzing with inventive and hands-on learning that drives global food system solutions. The seven members of the Vermont Higher Education Food Systems Consortium are continuing to expand their... more
Community Visit draws to a close; final meeting will set task forces
By Chris Mays, Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/ci_30087408/moving-forward-momentum-vernon-commu... VERNON >> The Community Visit process is coming to a close in one sense. But community action is just beginning in another. Task... more
Audio ~ WKVT radio podcast: Vitalizing Vernon
Jenna Whitson and Art Miller update the Vernon Community Visit process in advance of the July 7th meeting.
Vernon Community Action Plan to Be Developed on July 7
The Vermont Council on Rural Development will hold its third, and last, major session in the Vernon Community Visit process on July 7th; all residents of the town are welcome to help line up action plans to move priority projects forward. At the... more
Vernon's Community Visit tackles what's next: Residents to vote on action items
By Chris Mays, as seen in the Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/latestnews/ci_29988302/vernons-community-visit-t... VERNON — Sound the bells for round two. Vernon's Community Visit — funded through the Windham County Economic... more
Collaborators For Community Improvement Gather To Celebrate Progress: Committees Developed Through Community Visit Process Give Update
As seen in the Caledonian Record: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/ ST. JOHNSBURY – A flame of volunteerism sparked in St. Johnsbury last spring continues to burn in the name of community betterment. More than 60 people Thursday attended an update... more
Community: Swanton on the Move
From the May 2016 newsletter of the Vermont Arts Council The arts are alive and growing in this small Franklin County town. In the first two months of 2015, the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) had the privilege of working with the... more
Morrisville Food Co-op Breaks Ground
Congratulations MOCO (Morrisville Co-op) on kicking off their building renovation project. In 2011, VCRD facilitated a Community Visit process in Morrisville that built a local task force to "Develop a Morrisville Coop." We are SO excited to see... more
Planning for tomorrow: Vernon Community Visit process begins
Kick-off event expected to get the ball rolling By Chris Mays, Brattleboro Reformer. As seen here: http://www.reformer.com/latestnews/ci_29885903/planning-tomorrow-vernon-... VERNON >> Life without the nuclear plant Vermont Yankee is going... more
Vernon Community Visit program invites the full community together to set direction for the future
All members of the Vernon community are invited to come together on May 18th to kick off the Vernon Community Visit process, an opportunity for residents to actively participate in examining issues, decide their top priorities and develop concrete... more
Video ~ BCTV Open Studio: Vernon Community Visit Day
As seen on BCTV: http://www.brattleborotv.org/bctv-open-studio/open-studio-vernon-communi... Host Chris Lenois sits down with VT Council on Rural Development Community and Policy Manager Jenna Whitson, Vernon Community Visit Process Chair Art... more
Costello: The Vermont Climate Economy Partnership
by Paul Costello, Executive Director, Vermont Council on Rural Development At the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) we get to work with rural towns throughout Vermont where we rally everyone to pull together, review all the issues before... more
Vernon gas plant project on hold after losing fuel supply
By Mike Faher, as seen in vtdigger: https://vtdigger.org/2016/04/21/vernon-gas-plant-project-on-hold/ VERNON — After more than a year of intense planning and debate, the Vernon natural gas plant project has come to an abrupt halt. Energy giant... more
Post-Vermont Yankee grant program questioned in Vernon
By Chris Mays, Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/latestnews/ci_29787299/post-vermont-yankee-grant... VERNON >> Frustrated Planning Commission members wondered about the success of a grant program that resulted from a settlement... more
Two Weeks, Seven Schools: Students Invited to Vermont to Discover the Future of Food
As seen in Vermont Business Magazine: http://vermontbiz.com/news/april/two-weeks-eight-schools-students-invite... For Immediate Release: April 4, 2016 Contact: Paul Costello, Vermont Council on Rural Development; pcostello@vtrural.org, 802.223.... more
House approves $900,000 for ‘Working Lands’ grant program
As seen in vtdigger, by Mike Faher: https://vtdigger.org/2016/04/01/house-approves-900000-for-working-lands-... BRATTLEBORO — The state House wants to pump more cash into Vermont’s working lands. The fiscal year 2017 budget bill the House approved... more
Notes from Montpelier: Legislature working to reduce spending growth
As seen in the Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/localeditorials/ci_29692425/notes-from-montpelie... As expected, long hours were spent on the Floor of the House this week as we worked our way through several of the year's most important bills –... more
Grant to aid Vernon’s post-Vermont Yankee plan
As seen in the vtdigger.org: BRATTLEBORO — Since late 2014, state officials have awarded more than $3.6 million from an economic development fund set up to ease the pain of Vermont Yankee’s closure. Now, for the first time, some of that money will... more
Work the land
As seen in the Times Argus: http://tablet.olivesoftware.com/olive/Tablet/BarreTimesArgus/SharedArtic... There’s money in Vermont’s woods. More than that, there’s a way of life. The Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative released a Forest... more
Working Lands Committee Releases Year-Long Report and New Mapping Tool
As seen in vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2016/03/01/working-lands-committee-releases-year-lon... On Thursday, February 25th, the Forestry Committee of the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) released the final report of the Forest Systems... more
Tech help for job hunters renewed
As seen in the Times Argus: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20160229/NEWS01/160229640/0/NEWS05 MONTPELIER — Job seekers who are computer-challenged have a new technology tool at their fingertips. Beginning in March, six libraries across Vermont... more
Editorial: Rising tides
As seen in the Times Argus: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20160225/OPINION01/160229804 A report out this week found that sea levels are rising more rapidly than at any time since the era of ancient Rome. As a result, coastal flooding is... more
Optimism on Vermont’s ‘climate economy’
By Gregory Dennis, Addison County Independent: http://www.addisonindependent.com/ When confronted with the latest piece of bad news about climate change – record-high temperatures, devastating floods, the North Pole turned into a giant swimming... more
Audio ~ Can Vermont adapt to climate change?
In the midst of one of the warmest winters in memory, how can Vermont adapt to the new realities of climate change? Paul Costello of the Vermont Council on Rural Development has been exploring this issue with community leaders all around Vermont. He... more
VCRD Summit focuses on growing Vt’s green jobs
As seen at Mountain Times: http://mountaintimes.info/vcrd-summit-focuses-on-growing-vts-green-jobs/ RANDOLPH – Strategies for keeping Vermont in the forefront of stimulating the growth of green jobs while reducing carbon emissions were abundant at... more
Communities lead in climate economy effort
By Andy Clark, Times Argus: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20160224/NEWS01/160229839 RANDOLPH — Vermont’s climate economy is a pace-setter for the nation, in large part because of work being done in many communities across the state. Vermont... more
Summit Explores Vermont's Climate Economy
By Steve Zind, VPR. Listen here: http://digital.vpr.net/post/summit-explores-vermonts-climate-economy More than 400 participants attended the second annual Vermont Climate Economy Summit held Monday in Randolph Center. The day-long event followed... more
Conference Held On Implementing A Climate Economy In Vermont
Listen to the audio of the Pat Bradley story on WAMC: http://wamc.org/post/conference-held-implementing-climate-economy-vermon... Hundreds of people gathered in Randolph, Vermont Monday to discuss the state’s “climate economy.” Attendees considered... more
Video ~ 2016 Climate Economy Summit
VCRD Summit Highlights Talented students from the Emergent Media Center at Champlain College interviewed Summit speakers and participants to capture the spirit of the Summit in video. Their showing of a first draft at the close of the Summit was a... more
Gathering asks: Could Vermont benefit from climate change?
By Mark Johnson, vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2016/02/22/gathering-asks-could-vermont-benefit-from... RANDOLPH — Vermont is poised to benefit economically while also helping the world cope with climate change, political and policy leaders... more
Hundreds gather in Randolph for economic climate summit
See the story on WCAX: http://www.wcax.com/story/31285216/hundreds-gather-in-randolph-for-econo... RANDOLPH, Vt. - Lawmakers and business leaders are fighting climate change and looking to help Vermont cash in at the same time. A summit focused on... more
Leahy to Open Vermont Climate Economy Summit Monday, February 22
As seen at: http://www.vermontbiz.com/event/february/leahy-open-vermont-climate-econ... Senator Patrick Leahy to be opening speaker at the Vermont Climate Economy Summit, sponsored by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD). VCRD founded... more
Today’s Summit: Growing Vermont’s Green Jobs
Contact: Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director, 802-223-5763, pcostello@vtrural.org EDITORS: Note, a complete Summit packet, including participants and bios, is available at http://vtrural.org/sites/default/files/content/ClimateEconomy/... more
Video ~ Hardwick Community Visit Vote: Feb 15, 2016
As seen on: http://hctv.us/2016/02/hardwick-community-visit-vote-feb-15-2016/ The VT Council on Rural Development returns to Hardwick to follow up on ideas generated in a series of forums on January 20. From vtrural.org: “The February 15th... more
Living Economically
By Laurie Caswell Burke, Wind Ridge columnist | As seen at Shelburne News: http://www.shelburnenews.com/2016/02/18/living-economically/ Miss the Paris Climate Summit? Here’s an opportunity much closer to home. A second climate summit in Randolph... more
VPR's Vermont Edition: A Warm Winter's Impact On the State Economy
Listen to the conversation here: http://digital.vpr.net/post/warm-winters-impact-state-economy#stream/0 In this segment of VPR's Vermont Edition, Jane Lindholm talks with Parker Riehle, president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, a non-profit... more
Working Lands end-of-year report points to success stories
As seen in vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2016/02/05/working-lands-end-of-year-report-points-t... A state investment fund credited with helping a growing group of businesses and farms was put on full display Thursday at the Statehouse.... more
Times Argus Editorial: Building Blocks
As seen at: http://timesargus.com/article/20160205/OPINION01/160209789/0/SEARCH About a year ago, the Vermont Council on Rural Development held a daylong summit in Randolph to discuss the economic implications and potential opportunities of climate... more
Video ~ Working Lands Enterprise Initiative helps VT working lands businesses thrive
A 6 min. overview of the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative - A State of Vermont sponsored grant program for working lands businesses looking to advance to their next stage. Featuring four grantees: Big Picture Farm, Winterwood Timberframes, Maple... more
Video ~ On the Waterfront: VT Climate Change Initiative and Upcoming Climate Summit
As seen on: https://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/vt-climate-change-initiative-and-... Host Melinda Moulton speaks with Jenna Whitson, Community and Policy Senior Associate with Vermont Council on Rural Development, and Linda McGinnis, Network... more
Video ~ Vermont’s Working Forests: Challenges and Opportunities
As seen on: http://middleburycommunitytv.org/2016/02/04/forestry-forum-at-the-vermon... From the Forestry Forum at the Vermont Folklife Center, panelists discuss challenges and opportunities of Vermont's working forests. Panelists include: Michael... more
New report helps Vt. businesses take on climate change
MONTPELIER, Vt. (watch the clip at: http://www.wcax.com/story/31119960/new-report-helps-vt-businesses-take-o...) A new report aims to help businesses and nonprofits take on climate change. The 24-member Vermont Climate Change Economy Council says... more
New Report Says Vermont Businesses Are Key 'In Age Of Climate Change'
By Steve Zind. Listen to the story at VPR: http://digital.vpr.net/post/new-report-says-vermont-businesses-are-key-age-climate-change#stream/0 Vermont’s economy has always been influenced by larger forces, whether global recession or changes in the... more
Video ~ City Room with Steven Pappas
As seen on: http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T05132&video=264383 Steven Pappas interviews Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director and Rob Miller, VT State Employees Credit Union President about the Climate Change Economy Initiative and the... more
Bold New Strategy Proposed for Vermont’s Economy
Contact: Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director, 223-5763, pcostello@vtrural.org MONTPELIER, VT – The Vermont Climate Change Economy Council (VCCEC) is proposing a bold new vision and strategy for economic development statewide. With its State... more
Opinion: Sooner or later, a new economy
Over the past year, as the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council (of which I was a member), listened to the collective wisdom of the state’s communities, entrepreneurs and policy leaders, one thing became very clear: Sooner or later, it’s going to... more
Calley Hastings Opinion: Support Working Lands Enterprise Fund
As seen in the Burlington Free Press: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/opinion/my-turn/2016/01/26/opinion-support-working-lands-enterprise-fund/79366596/ Eight years ago when I started Fat Toad Farm with my family, I wasn’t sure how long I... more
Lessons from Students: Making the Most of Vermont’s Food Web
Written by Vicky Tebbets Students from around the country plunged into a whirlwind tour of Vermont last June with one goal: immersion in Vermont’s food systems. For 21 intensive days they traveled 404 miles, learned from leaders at five colleges,... more
National Clean Energy Innovator to Keynote Vermont’s Climate Economy Summit
MONTPELIER, VT – Danny Kennedy, an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues, will keynote Ideas to Action: the Summit on Vermont’s Climate Economy on February 22 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. Kennedy is the... more
Chris Brooks: Support Working Lands Enterprise Fund
As seen in the vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2016/01/21/chris-brooks-support-working-lands-enterprise-fund/ Editor’s note: This commentary is by Chris Brooks, who is the CEO and president of Vermont Wood Pellet Co. He is the product of five... more
To the editor: Montpelier should support Working Lands Enterprise program
As seen in the Chester Telegraph: http://chestertelegraph.org/2016/01/19/to-the-editor-montpelier-should-support-working-lands-enterprise-program/ We are writing in support of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. The Brattleboro Area Farmer’s Market... more
New Series Features Vermont’s Climate Economy Innovators
MONTPELIER VT – Today’s innovative Vermont businesses are growing the state’s climate change economy. Examples range from manufacturers of super insulated panels for new buildings to engineers that are designing ways to warm greenhouses using heat... more
Video ~ What’s Next for Vermont’s Climate Change Economy?
Area businesses and nonprofits are increasingly involved with climate change--both its challenges and opportunities. Their creative solutions are becoming a growing part of our state’s economy. VCRD hosted 3 public forums to hear from people... more
Donohue Commentary: Climate change is a business opportunity
Commentary by Mike Donohue, as seen on: http://burlingtonfreepress.vt.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=18fb873f2 Today at 7 p.m., Burlington’s Mayor Miro Weinberger and the Vermont Council on Rural Development will be holding a public forum on... more
Audio: Climate Economy Forum planned in Burlington
By Pat Bradley, WAMC Radio, as seen on: http://wamc.org/post/climate-economy-forum-planned-burlington#stream/0 Listen to the story here: http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wamc/audio/2015/10/patb10-27climate-economy-forum.MP3 A forum is planned this week in... more
Northern Vermont Climate Economy Forum October 29
MONTPELIER, VT – A regional forum focusing on the opportunity to create jobs while developing innovative solutions to stem the impact of climate change will take place at Contois Auditorium in Burlington’s City Hall on Thursday, October 29, from 7-... more
Opinion: Beyond panels and turbines
By Gov. Peter Shumlin, as seen in the Burlington Free Press: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/opinion/my-turn/2015/10/15/opin... When we talk about renewable energy, the focus is often on the project – the solar panel or the wind turbine... more
Committee looks at changing government structures
By Erin Mansfield as seen in vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/14/committee-looks-at-changing-government-st... The Legislature’s committee on government restructuring met for the first time Tuesday and plans to have a report done in... more
Video ~ On the Waterfront: "What's Next for VT's Climate Change Economy" Upcoming Regional Forum
Host Melinda Moulton speaks with Jenna Whitson, VCRD's Community and Policy Senior Associate, about the upcoming October 29th public forum "What's Next for VT's Climate Change Economy?" It will be a statewide conversation with the public and the... more
‘Working Lands’ supporters lobby for funding
By Mike Faher, as seen in the vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/11/working-lands-supporters-lobby-for-fundin... BRATTLEBORO – Creamy goat-milk caramels have become a big business for Townshend’s Big Picture Farm. And as the farm underwent... more
Efficiency help needed, energy advocates say
By Mike Faher as seen in vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/08/efficiency-help-needed-energy-advocates-say/ BRATTLEBORO – From urine recycling to shiitake mushrooms to electrically-assisted bikes, those attending a “Climate Change Economy”... more
Brattleboro Forum Weighs Economic Impact, Opportunity Of Climate Change
As seen on http://digital.vpr.net/post/brattleboro-forum-weighs-economic-impact-opp... The Vermont Council on Rural Development wants the state to become a leader in growing the green economy as scientists, governments and entrepreneurs confront... more
Public support for conserving land in Vermont
Gil Livingston, President of the Vermont Land Trust, shares his perspective about the increase in public support for land conservation in their Fall 2015 newsletter.
Manchester gets $580K to improve busy road
As seen in the Rutland Herald: http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20150930/THISJUSTIN/709309907 MANCHESTER — Manchester will receive a grant of $580,000 from the Vermont Agency of Transportation to enhance Depot Street and make it more friendly... more
‘Climate Change Economy’ talks coming to Brattleboro
By Mike Faher, http://vtdigger.org/2015/09/30/climate-change-economy-talks-coming-to-br... BRATTLEBORO – For years, local officials and energy-efficiency advocates have been working to nurture and promote a “green building” industry in Windham... more
Grinold: Climate change and our local economy
by Adam Grinold, Executive Director, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation On October 6, Southern Vermont will host the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Regional Public Forum on Advancing Vermont’s Climate Change Economy. It takes place... more
Cell service, food insecurity, affordable housing raised as issues of import in Craftsbury
By Jennifer Hersey Cleveland, Caledonian Record. As seen on: http://caledonianrecord.com/ CRAFTSBURY COMMON -- Residents here lauded community assets while figuring out how to tackle challenges during the first stop in a process called the... more
Brattleboro Forum to Explore Next Steps for Vermont’s Climate Change Economy
MONTPELIER, VT – Area businesses and nonprofits are increasingly involved with climate change--both its challenges and opportunities. Their creative solutions are becoming a growing part of our state’s economy. What are your experiences? Do you have... more
Christopher Louras: Rutland taking leadership in Vermont’s climate economy
As seen in vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2015/09/02/christopher-louras-rutland-taking-leaders... Editor’s note: This commentary is by Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras. On Aug. 26 I co-hosted (with the Vermont Council on Rural Development) a... more
Paul Gallo: Business owner is driving force in Rutland renaissance
By Helen Whyte, September 2015 issue of the Battenkill Business Journal People who have not visited Rutland in the past few years may be surprised by recent changes - near zero downtown vacancy rate, a diverse and popular selection of programs at... more
Group solicits local input on global issue of climate change
By Kevin O'Connor, vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2015/08/30/group-solicits-local-input-on-global-issu... A new Vermont Climate Change Economy Council is asking the public how the state can simultaneously grow the local “green” job market and... more
Forum airs out solar issues
By Gordon Dritschilo as seen in the Rutland Herald: http://www.rutlandherald.com/ The tension surrounding renewable energy development was captured in an exchange Wednesday night at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland. The theater was hosting a forum... more
Panels Around Vermont Will Brainstorm Climate Change's Economic Opportunities
As seen on VPR. Listen at: http://digital.vpr.net/post/panels-around-vermont-will-brainstorm-climat... The public is invited to a panel discussion on Wednesday evening at Rutland’s Paramount Theatre to brainstorm ways to turn the challenges of... more
Opinion: Climate change economy
Editorial as seen in the Rutland Herald: http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20150825/OPINION01/708259959/1038 Vermonters will gather Wednesday evening at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland to chart new steps in creating what is being called a “... more
Climate Change Economy Council seeks public input
By Kevin O'Conner as seen on vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2015/08/16/climate-change-economy-council-seeks-publ... A new Vermont Climate Change Economy Council — composed of two-dozen business, public policy and environmental leaders — is... more
Video ~ PEG-TV show about the Climate Economy Forum in Rutland, August 26th
A public forum in Rutland on August 26th 2015 (7-9pm, Paramount Theatre) will discuss "What’s Next For VT’s Climate Change Economy?" Host Tom Donahue interviews Paul Costello (Executive Director, Vermont Council on Rural Development) and Joe Fusco (... more
Rutland Forum to Explore Next Steps for Vermont’s Climate Change Economy
MONTPELIER, VT – Area businesses and nonprofits are increasingly involved with climate change--both its challenges and opportunities. Their creative solutions are becoming a growing part of our state’s economy. What are your experiences? Do you have... more
New York Post names Killington one of top five summer ski towns in U.S.
We were so pleased to see that the New York Post recently named Killington one of “Five ski towns that are worth visiting in summer,” (the only resort in the northeast!!) alongside the Western resort towns of Park City (Utah), Vail (Colorado),... more
Transportation, Housing, Wages Biggest Impediments To Economic Stability Citizens Brainstorm Ideas For A Healthy Economy At Forum
By Jennifer Hersey Cleveland Staff Writer, Barton Chronicle: http://caledonianrecord.com/ HARDWICK -- There are multitudes of services and funding sources available to people in the rural and agricultural economies of the Northeast Kingdom, but... more
Upcoming Forums Focus on Stimulating Vermont’s Climate Change Economy
MONTPELIER, VT – Area businesses and nonprofits are increasingly involved with climate change--both its challenges and opportunities. Their creative solutions are becoming a growing part of our state’s economy. The Vermont Council on Rural... more
Students Traverse Vermont on Food Systems Tour
By Leon Thompson Vermont Correspondent, Lancaster Farming: http://www.lancasterfarming.com/news/northeedition/Students-Traverse-Vermont-on-Food-Systems-Tour#.VcuoOfm2KW5 ST. ALBANS, Vt. — Long Island native Kasey Wien had never been to a dairy farm... more
Video ~ Course allows students to explore Vt. food systems
As broadcasted by WCAX-TV, June 10, 2015: http://www.wcax.com/story/29288672/course-allows-students-to-explore-vt-food-systems A group of college and grad students is taking a first-of-its-kind course this month a tour of Vermont’s local food... more
Video ~ Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Grant Awards Ceremony
The 2015 Working Lands Grants were announced at Maple Wind Farm in Richmond in May 2015. Here are a couple videos of the event.
Field Day: The Summer Study Tour Blog
Check out the Summer Study Tour Blog by Ivars Balkits, the media fellow of the Vermont Summer Study Tour. An adventurer by nature with a background in agriculture and ecology, Ivars currently hails from the midwest. Discover the Vermont food... more
Media Invited to Visit with Students on Statewide Farm and Food Summer Study Tour
Members of the press are invited to connect with student leaders from across the nation on tour in Vermont from May 31 – June 20. The Vermont Food Systems Summer Study Tour invites students to move from the classroom to field and forest with an... more
Folks Sought To Focus On Town's Future: Community Vision Process Continues
By Taylor Reed, Caledonian Record: http://caledonianrecord.com/ ST. JOHNSBURY -- Community collaboration continues following the start of an initiative that brings residents together for the sake of their town's future. More than 80 people have... more
Farm and Food Student Leaders to Arrive in Vermont for Whirlwind Study Tour
Leaders from across the nation who are studying how communities source, grow, process, purchase, and contemplate food will soon arrive in the Green Mountain State for the inaugural three-week Vermont Food Systems Summer Study Tour, May 31 – June 20... more
Renters 101 offers training
From the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/community/ci_28115453/renters-101-offers... BENNINGTON >> Bennington Renters 101 recently offered a free training for Bennington residents. The training included three sessions:... more
Beyond Basics: Feast Your Eyes, Heart, and Mind on Vermont Food and Farm Education
By Vicky Tebbetts, Published in Food Solutions New England A quiet revolution is astir in Vermont. Food systems education, practical agricultural experience, entrepreneurship, and inspiration have blended into an elixir for community revitalization... more
Vermont: America’s Food Relocalization Laboratory
By Steve Holt, Civil Eats: http://civileats.com/2015/05/12/vermont-americas-food-relocalization-lab... If most Americans were to rank the nation’s most influential states, chances are Vermont would not make many lists. But it should. Quietly,... more
Passion, energy at VCRD visit: Seventy gather, begin to build social capital
By MATTHEW PREEDOM, St. Albans Messenger: http://www.samessenger.com/ SWANTON — The smiles were wide and the energy high Wednesday at the third and final community visit from the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD). Roughly 70 people were... more
Testimony to Senate Appropriations: April 7, 2015
Madam Chair and Members of the Vermont Senate Appropriations Committee: I am Paul Costello, Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development. I’m here to speak as the coordinator for the Vermont Working Lands Coalition to ask you to... more
Hardening Against Disaster by Going Digital
By Dale McKay, Daily Yonder: http://www.dailyyonder.com/hardening-against-disaster-going-digital/2015/04/06/7790#.VSLAXw4NMRA.facebook When tropical storm Irene wiped out a month’s worth of timber sales, Vermont logger Carl Russell, who lives off... more
New England Culinary Institute Joins the Vermont Higher Ed Food Systems Consortium
Montpelier’s New England Culinary Institute (NECI) has joined Vermont’s education and agriculture leaders as part of the Vermont Higher Education Food Systems Consortium. A visionary for Vermont’s evolving food economy for many years, NECI offers... more
Commentary: The 21st Century Global Food System: This Summer, Vermont is its Classroom
For nearly a half century, Sterling College has emphasized a "working hands-working minds" approach to education that views agriculture through the lens of environmental stewardship. This college, and its program of study refined over many decades,... more
‘Maple Fest” brings community together
By Josh Ogorman, Times Argus: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20150322/THISJUSTIN/703229951 CABOT — What a sweet way to foster a tighter community. Several hundred people turned out at Cabot School on Saturday for Maple Fest, an annual... more
Living Economically: Ramp it up with Vermontivate, the game that inspires behavior change and fun
By Laurie Caswell Burke, published in the Shelburne News: http://shelburnenews.com/?p=20752 Last month I joined 400 Vermonters from around the state to participate in the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Summit on Creating Prosperity and... more
Letter to the editor: Working lands program worthwhile
A Page 1 article in Sunday’s Times Argus (“Serving notice”) notes that the Vermont food system is currently undergoing unprecedented growth, “from $6.9 billion to $8.6 billion between 2007 and 2012, according to figures from the Vermont Sustainable... more
Swanton gets fix on future: Meeting selects 4 ideas for community action
By Elodie Reed, St. Albans Messenger: http://www.samessenger.com/community-swanton-gets-fix-on-future/ SWANTON — For a town looking to come together as a community to better itself, Swanton seems off to a pretty good start. About 100 residents,... more
And now is the time to watch Swanton grow
St. Albans Town has Walmart and two growth districts open for development. St. Albans City is in the homestretch in its effort to rebuild its downtown through a $41 million building project. Now, eight miles north, the community of Swanton is coming... more
Opinion: A crisis and an opportunity
Published in the Times Argus: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20150308/OPINION06/703089979 By Brian Shupe, Executive Director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council Many people have raised alarms about the need to do something about climate... more
A call for action
By Steve Pappas, Times Argus: www.timesargus.com A summit at Vermont Technical College on Wednesday showed exactly how far Vermont has progressed when it comes to climate change, but also how far we still have to go if we want to be economically... more
Opinion: Moving forward on climate change
By Bill Laberge, owner of Grassroots Solar, and published in the Times Argus: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20150301/OPINION06/703019960/1014 Despite the thermometer suggesting otherwise, the February sun is starting to give us the sense of... more
Notes from Montpelier: Revenue shortfall will require tough decisions
Editorial published in the Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/localeditorials/ci_27621782/notes-from-montpelie... It's hard to believe that Town Meeting is here. I look forward to visiting with folks at all of the Town Meetings in my... more
With Front Porch Forum, Internet Goes Local
By Dale Mackey, Daily Yonder: http://www.dailyyonder.com/front-porch-forum-internet-goes-local/2015/02... A Vermont-based social media platform helps residents communicate with neighbors. In the process, participants feel more connected to each... more
VCRD Awards its Annual Vermont Community Leadership Award and a new Community Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award
MONTPELIER, VT – On Wednesday , February 18th the Vermont Council on Rural Development  presented the Vermont Community Leadership Award to the community leader who have led the renaissance of downtown St. Albans over the last few years. The award... more
Video ~ Climate Economy Summit
This video captured sessions at the Summit on “Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change” held at the Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center on February 18, 2015. [Video by Rick McMahan of Vermont In Person: http://www.... more
Vt. discusses ways to turn climate change into economic opportunities
Visit WCAX to view the video: http://www.wcax.com/story/28141188/vt-discusses-ways-to-turn-climate-cha... WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports- RANDOLPH, Vt. - Most government officials, nonprofits and policy groups agree on the... more
Summit to tackle climate change, economy
This week’s Summit on Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change isn’t about the debate over climate change, organizers say. Instead, it’s about how to use climate change to benefit Vermont’s economy. The summit Wednesday at... more
Video ~ Paul Costello and Ted Brady on City Room
This 28 minute program gives a good overview of the Climate Economy Summit and Initiative. City Room with Steve Pappas: Paul Costello and Ted Brady of Vermont Council on Rural Development from Central Vermont Television on Vimeo.
Nate Freeman: Vermont’s climate questions
By Nate Freeman. Published in vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2015/02/15/nate-freeman-vermonts-climate-questions/ Editor’s note: This commentary is by Nate Freeman, who is director of ClimatePlanners Consulting and program coordinator for the... more
Fusco Commentary: Benefitting Vermont’s economy by rewarding innovative climate solutions
by Joe Fusco I’m not here to argue with you about climate change. I’m not here to convince you that it’s real, or that it’s not. I am here to convince you, politics aside, that there is a cascade of genuine economic and business development... more
Swanton Community to Set Priorities for Action on March 5th
All members of the Swanton Community are invited to participate in the second phase of the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s (VCRD) Community Visit to the Swanton. The meeting, to be held on Thursday March 5 6:30 – 9:00pm at the Swanton Village... more
Townspeople seek help to create and cultivate community
By Alana Fichman/The Commons: http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=11637&page=1#... VERNON—Some of the 44 people who assembled in the combined auditorium/cafeteria at Vernon Elementary School were disappointed at the... more
Vernon considers 'community visit'
By Michael Faher, Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/latestnews/ci_27422043/vernon-considers-communit... VERNON >> What should Vernon's future look like? It's a big question, especially given last month's closure of the Vermont... more
Summer Study Tour: Savoring the flavors of Vermont farm and food education
Published in VtDigger.org: https://vtdigger.org/2015/02/01/summer-study-tour-savoring-flavors-vermo... Leaders from education and agriculture are collaborating on an innovative “movable feast” of study where undergraduate and graduate students... more
Digital tools having big impact on Vermont farms
In one way or other, Vermont farmers have always been drawn to new technologies, from innovations in horse-drawn plows to devices that bring them essential weather updates. Today, rapid advancements in digital tools are putting remarkable... more
Allison Hooper Opinion: Connect people, places and food
Published in the Burlington Free Press: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/opinion/my-turn/2015/01/22/opin... In Paris during my junior year of college, I spent the summer working on an organic farm. The French know where their food comes... more
Southern Vt. town revisits fluoridation
By Patrick McArdle, Times Argus: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20150121/NEWS03/701219903 BENNINGTON — Voters in Bennington will be asked in March to weigh in on whether they want the town’s water supply fluoridated but the question is only... more
Founder of World’s Largest Solar Company to Keynote Vermont’s Climate Change Economy Summit
MONTPELIER, VT –Jigar Shah, one of the today’s leading cleantech champions, will keynote the Summit on Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change on February 18 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. Shah founded and is former... more
Vermont Council on Rural Development hires Community and Policy Senior Associate
January 12, 2015, Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) announced today that Jenna Whitson has joined the organization as the Community and Policy Senior Associate. Jenna will be supporting the VCRD Community Visit program... more
Swanton residents will have their say: VCRD visit aims to prioritize wants and needs
By MICHELLE MONROE, St. Albans Messenger SWANTON — The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) this month will make a community visit here. Among the issues certain to face discussion are hopes for a revitalization of the downtown district.... more
Ron Miller Commentary: Upcoming Conference Promotes “Climate Change Economy”
The Vermont Council on Rural Development is holding a major statewide conference, “Creating Prosperity & Opportunity Confronting Climate Change,” in Randolph on February 18. The gathering will launch VCRD’s new Climate Change Economy initiative... more
Vermont Climate Economy Initiative
From Green Energy Times: http://www.greenenergytimes.net/2014/12/15/vermont-climate-economy-initi... The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) is kicking off its new Climate Change Economy Initiative with the Summit on Creating Prosperity and... more
Wired in Waterbury: Free Internet access
By Matt Mientka | Waterbury Record Waterbury now has the largest downtown free Wi-Fi coverage in Vermont. The public Wi-Fi network, completed this month, encompasses Stowe and Main streets and allows access from Rusty Parker Park, the Waterbury... more
Costello: Digital innovation brings new vitality to rural Vermont
When we think of Vermont, we picture our beautiful working landscape, our lakes and mountains, and our dynamic community centers. Our past is crucial to who we are and to the character and identity of this special place. But the land we care for and... more
New Report Highlights Potential for Vermont’s Digital Economy
MONTPELIER, VT – Bridging the digital divide and expanding the innovative use of online tools will remain critical for Vermont if it wants to continue building resilience into our communities, keep businesses competitive, and assure that community... more
Allison Hooper Commentary: Terroir grows from working lands
By Allison Hooper, co-founder of Vermont Creamery In Paris during my junior year of college, I spent the summer working on an organic farm. The French know where their food comes from, and they are connected to the working rural landscape. There I... more
Letter to the editor: Fund working lands program
Published in the Times Argus: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20141209/OPINION02/712099926 The Working Lands Enterprise Fund, an innovative and imaginative idea, was created in 2012 by Act 142. Its purpose is “to stimulate a concerted economic... more
Rutland's Wonderfeet Children's Museum Expands, Hopes To Become A Destination
By Vermont Public Radio: http://digital.vpr.net/post/rutlands-wonderfeet-childrens-museum-expands... VCRD comment: The idea for the creation of a children's museum in Rutland, was sparked during VCRD's Rutland Creative Community project. The... more
New report highlights potential for Vermont’s digital economy
MONTPELIER, VT –Bridging the digital divide and expanding the innovative use of online tools will remain critical for Vermont if it wants to continue building resilience into our communities, keep businesses competitive, and assure that community... more
Montpelier farmers market has multiple winter homes
Published in the Times Argus: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20141202/THISJUSTIN/312029999 MONTPELIER — The Capital City Farmers Market is kicking off its winter season Saturday with a new website and a pair of new venues. With the loss of its... more
Vermont Council on Rural Development’s summit on ‘Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change’
The Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Summit on “Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change” on February 18, 2015 will bring together scientists, innovative business, non-profit, and community leaders, elected officials,... more
Susan Alexander Commentary: Working Lands Grants lead to partnerships and growth
This commentary, by Susan Alexander, the founder of The Vermont Switchel Company in Cabot, was published on VtDigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2014/11/26/susan-alexander-working-lands-grants-lead... Over the past two years The Vermont Switchel... more
Cambridge Community Action Plan to Be Developed on December 1
The Vermont Council on Rural Development will hold its last major sessions in the Cambridge Community Visit process on December 1st; all residents of the town are welcome to help line up action plans to move priority projects forward. On October... more
February Summit to Kick Off New Focus on Vermont’s Climate Change Economy
MONTPELIER, VT –The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) is kicking off its new Climate Change Economy Initiative with the Summit on Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change on February 18 at Vermont Technical College in... more
February Summit to Kick Off New Focus on Vermont’s Climate Change Economy
MONTPELIER, VT –The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) is kicking off its new Climate Change Economy Initiative with the Summit on Creating Prosperity and Opportunity Confronting Climate Change on February 18 at Vermont Technical College in... more
Guilford studies future of Broad Brook Grange
By Michael Fahar, Brattleboro Reformer: http://www.reformer.com/ci_26940824/guilford-studies-future-broad-brook-... GUILFORD >> At a recent Guilford Selectboard meeting, there was much debate about whether Broad Brook Grange should accept a... more
New Initiative to Advance Vermont’s “Climate Economy”
Can Vermont be a national leader in incubating small businesses that answer climate change? The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) thinks so. The organization is announcing a new initiative designed to rally business, policy and community... more
New green push aims to grow Vt. jobs
By Kevin O'Connor, Times Argus - http://www.timesargus.com/article/20141026/THISJUSTIN/710269963 Can Vermont simultaneously jumpstart its job market and help stop global warming? That’s the goal of organizers of a new Vermont Climate Change... more
Irene's Silicon Lining: Has wiring Bethel changed it for good?
By Ken Picard: http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/irenes-silicon-lining-has-wiring-beth... The noontime rush at Cockadoodle Pizza Café in Bethel is more like a steady trickle. Two construction workers in reflective neon vests wait in line for pizza... more
Cambridge Community to Set Priorities for Action on October 27th
All members of the Cambridge Community are invited to participate in the second phase of the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s (VCRD) Community Visit to the Town of Cambridge. The meeting, to be held on Monday, October 27th 6:30 – 9:00pm at the... more
Food And Farming Consortium's Pilot Course Will Sample From College Programs
By Steve Zind. Click here to listen to the story: http://digital.vpr.net/post/food-and-farming-consortiums-pilot-course-wi.... --------------- Last November, a group of Vermont colleges announced the formation of a consortium to promote food and... more
Close the digital divide
http://www.timesargus.com/article/20140925/OPINION01/709259945/1021 By Steve Pappas, Times Argus - A few hundred Vermonters made history at the State House this week. While a few of them were lawmakers, the vast majority of the participants were... more
Summit addresses Vermont's digital economy
MONTPELIER -- Vermont is on the right track toward developing a digital economy and has more to do, Gov. Peter Shumlin told an audience at the Statehouse on Tuesday. Shumlin gave the keynote speech at a daylong summit in Montpelier organized by the... more
Got Tech? Industry Wants To Be Part of Vermont's Image
http://digital.vpr.net/post/got-tech-industry-wants-be-part-vermonts-image By Steve Zind, VPR - Vermont high tech companies say the state’s way of life is a powerful calling card for the kind of clean industry it hopes to attract, but they would... more
Conference Assesses Vermont’s Future Digital Economy
http://wamc.org/post/conference-assesses-vermont-s-future-digital-economy By Pat Bradley, WAMC Northeast Radio - A daylong conference was held at the statehouse in Montpelier Tuesday to highlight what technological and digital innovations could... more
Video ~ Paul talks about Community Visits and other VCRD projects
Senator Bill Doyle interviews Paul Costello about VCRD programs including Community Visits, the Digital Economy Project, the Working Lands Initiative, the Higher Education Food Systems Consortium and other initiatives. [http://vp.telvue.com/... more
Audio ~ VT Connected Summit on the Mark Johnson Show
Mark Johnson interviewed 5 participants of the VT Connected Summit of September 23, 2014. Here are the links to the Show broken into 2 parts: http://markjohnsonshow.podbean.com/e/92314-vermont-digital-economy-pt-1/ - Alex Tursi of Fletcher Allen,... more
Improving Vermont's digital economy
By Alexei Rubenstein, WCAX - http://www.wcax.com/story/26609277/improving-vermonts-digital-economy WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports- MONTPELIER, Vt. - In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, most of the visible damage was to Vermont's... more
Digital economy summit addresses Vermont’s ‘brand’
By Hilary Niles, VtDigger.org - http://vtdigger.org/2014/09/23/adapting-vermonts-brand-surfaces-digital-... Vermont is on the right track toward developing a digital economy and has more to do, Gov. Peter Shumlin told an audience at the Statehouse... more
Got Tech? Industry Wants To Be Part of Vermont's Image
Vermont high tech companies say the state’s way of life is a powerful calling card for the kind of clean industry it hopes to attract, but they would like state officials to do more to market itself to attract new business. The “Envisioning the... more
Improving Vermont's digital economy
Aired on WCAX: http://www.wcax.com/story/26609277/improving-vermonts-digital-economy Watch the video here: http://www.wcax.com/story/26609277/improving-vermonts-digital-economy?au... WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports- In the wake of... more
Leahy, Sanders, Welch: Vermont nets $2.3 million for rural development
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) announced $2.3 million in funding for rural development in Vermont. The funding, under the new Farm Bill, has been awarded to 13 organizations across the... more
Cambridge Community Visit program invites the full community together
Cambridge community members will be coming together over the next few months to review challenges and opportunities before the town, set priorities, and advance action plans to ensure the future vitality of the community. The process kicks off with... more
State farm, business groups share $2.3 million in USDA grants
BURLINGTON, Vt. —During a visit to Burlington, the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $2.3 million in grants and loans intended to create jobs in rural Vermont. Krysta Harden said Friday that 13 organizations will... more
USDA Announces Investments to Increase Economic Activity in Rural Areas and on Native Lands: Funds will help capitalize rural businesses and create jobs in economically distressed communities
Vermont Council on Rural Development has been awarded a Rural Business Opportunity Grant of $100,000 from USDA Rural Development to bring community leaders together to identify their towns' strengths and challenges, and determine action items and... more
For Some Vermonters, A Lack Of Knowledge Is The Barrier To Getting Online
By Steve Zind. Listen to the story here: http://digital.vpr.net/post/some-vermonters-lack-knowledge-barrier-getti... ------------------ Much has been made of Vermont’s efforts to extend broadband service to every resident. But the service isn’t... more
Vermont Connected: Envisioning the Future of the Vermont Digital Economy Summit at State House Sept. 23
Vermont Connected: Envisioning the Future of the Vermont Digital Economy a summit convening produced by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) will be held at the Vermont State House on Tuesday, September 23. The event will highlight the... more
VT Digital Economy Project
July 21, 2014 A look at how the VT Council on Rural Development has given local communities a technology boost following Tropical Storm Irene, including a conversation with Tess Gauthier of The Snelling Center. Also, Morning Almanac with Arlo... more
Downtown Wi-Fi kickoff will be celebrated during Midnight Madness
by KEITH WHITCOMB JR., Staff Writer BENNINGTON -- The town's annual Midnight Madness event will coincide with a celebration of the recent Wi-Fi project completed in the downtown. As part of the festivities, Economic and Community Developer Michael... more
Bennington gets new Wi-Fi service
BENNINGTON, Vt. - Surfing the Internet in Bennington is getting a whole lot easier. A new Wi-Fi service is up and running downtown. The free access is part of an effort by Vermont's Council on Rural Development to get communities connected. It's... more
Towns Take Down Websites In Response to New Open Meeting Law
by Steph Machado MONTPELIER - Some towns are struggling to keep up with a new Vermont law. The updated Open Meeting Law was passed by the Legislature in May as an effort to make towns and cities more transparent, and bring the current law into... more
Bennington’s downtown now a Wi-Fi zone
By Patrick McArdle BENNINGTON — It’s a digital world, and visitors and residents alike can now get free access to it through the public Wi-Fi zone in downtown Bennington. People using laptops, tablets and smartphones can connect to the Internet... more
The creative economy
It's nice to see that the work we did with the Council on Culture and Innovation is still making news: From: http://www.stowetoday.com/stowe_reporter/opinion/weekly_editorial/article_c1c3fe14-0842-11e4-9c94-0019bb2963f4.html Congratulations to... more
Wi-Fi and Broadband Spreading Through Vermont
by Alex Rose Waterbury, Vt.- Some people are attached to their phones, and connecting to Wi-Fi on your Smartphone, brings the internet to our fingertips. "Internet access is a basic need for participation in the economic life, civic life, social... more
Farm, forestry projects share $1.1 million
By LISA RATHKE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MORETOWN — Vermont awarded $1.1 million to 37 farm and forestry projects around the state Tuesday in the second year it offered working lands grants. Among the recipients is Grow Compost of Vermont LLC, which is... more
Grants designed to expand Vermont’s diversified farm economy
From VTDigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2014/06/17/grants-designed-expand-vermonts-diversifi... The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative awarded 37 grants for agriculture and forestry projects Tuesday at a ceremony at Grow Compost in Moretown.... more
Working Lands Enterprise Board announces $1.1 million in grants to 37 Vermont entrepreneurs and providers
From Vermont Business Magazine: http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/june/working-lands-enterprise-board-annou... The Working Lands Enterprise Board announces this year’s grant recipients - 37 projects for $1.1 million in grants reaching every county in... more
Costello Commentary: Vergennes on the Move
Vergennes — With all its assets, Vergennes epitomizes so much that Vermont communities statewide strive for: a strong village center, surrounded by a beautiful working landscape, strong, committed community members, a dynamic and balanced downtown... more
In the zone
By Miranda Orso  Free, public Wi-Fi in downtown Waterbury Parts of downtown Waterbury are now in the zone — a free public Wi-Fi zone. A new “wireless mesh network” of access points was recently installed around downtown. The new system is... more
Halifax gets a wifi spot
By CHRIS MAYS / Reformer Staff HALIFAX -- There will be wireless Internet access after a wifi hotspot was set up at the Halifax Town Garage located at 2044 Branch Road last week. "It's in place now," said Halifax Selectboard member Edee Edwards. "... more
Time bank thriving after one year
BENNINGTON -- What started out as five people thinking a time bank would be a neat idea has grown over the past year to boast 84 members who have exchanged 343 hours between each other. Hour of Our Community The Hour of Our Community time bank... more
VCRD and IBM partner for a more resilient Vermont
Final IBM disaster preparedness workshop with the Vermont FoodBank wraps up $150,000 IBM grant MONTPELIER - On Thursday, June 5th, IBM specialists will deliver a disaster preparedness workshop to Vermont FoodBank members from flood-prone... more
Costello Commentary: Leveraging Vermont’s Working Landscape Assets
By Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director Vermonters have always known that our working landscape is our greatest asset. It drives our economy, brings tourists from away, and sustains the wonderful environment where we live, work and play. Vermont... more
Video ~ New Wi-Fi zones popping up in Vt.
Caitlin Lovegrove, Outreach and Network Manager of VCRD's Digital Economy Project, and Chris Campbell of the Vermont Telecom Authority talk about new Wi-Fi zones being installed by the Vermont Digital Economy Project. http://www.wcax.com/story/... more
Wi-Fi in Downtown Windsor: Free Network Will Cover Center of Town
Windsor — A student sitting on a bench doing homework on a laptop. A businessman enjoying lunch outside a cafe while surfing the web on a tablet computer. A tourist scanning the Internet on a smartphone while navigating downtown streets. These... more
Vergennes residents rank community priorities
Vergennes — Over 100 Vergennes residents gathered in a community meeting last week to consider the ideas that were discussed through the Vergennes Community Visit process and to set priorities for action. At the Community Meeting participants... more
Vergennes dedicates Task Forces to address priorities; Resource Meeting May 21 to build action steps
On April 16, over 100 Vergennes community members gathered in a community meeting to consider the ideas that were discussed through the Vergennes Community Visit process and to set priorities for action. At the Community Meeting participants... more
Vermont goat project links immigrants, farmers: New Americans look for meat they are used to eating in their home countries, and goat dairy farmers find a market for male kids
By Linda Rathke, Associated Press COLCHESTER, Vt. — A bunch of kids in a minivan are solving twin challenges in northern Vermont: refugees struggling to find the food of their homelands and farmers looking to offload unwanted livestock. The half-... more
Working Lands Enterprise Board announces $300,000 to 19 working lands businesses
Vermont Business Magazine The Working Lands Enterprise Board announces this year’s grant recipients from its “Enterprise Investment” area awarding just under $300,000 of $1.2 million available to 19 grantees in 11 counties of the state representing... more
Wi-Fi could be part of downtown’s future
By David Delcore April 07, 2014 BARRE — You probably won’t be able to watch Netflix in City Hall Park, but surfing the Internet from your laptop, tablet or smartphone without doing a number on your data plan could soon be an added attraction to... more
Video ~ Info about the upcoming Vergennes Community Meeting Day
The Vermont Council on Rural Development is facilitating a Community Visit process in the City of Vergennes that helps area residents discuss, set, and then implement common goals for the future of the city. On Wednesday, April 16th, VCRD will... more
Guilford looks at town plan, village center
By MIKE FAHER / Reformer Staff GUILFORD -- Last year, with help from the Vermont Council on Rural Development, Guilford residents came together at two well-attended meetings to brainstorm ideas for the town's future. Members of the Guilford... more
Community Visit - One Year Later
by Anna Boarini - Staff Writer for the Manchester Journal MANCHESTER - A little over a year ago, on March 11, 2013, the first of three community forums fostered by the Vermont Council for Rural Development and the genesis for the Manchester 2020... more
Vt. Investments Put Landscapes to Work
By Amy Shollenberger, http://www.dailyyonder.com/vt-investments-put-landscapes-work/2014/02/13/7207 In a state that is mostly forests and farmland, the Working Lands Enterprise initiative helps landowners generate income while protecting open space... more
Joint town/school budget presentation to be held next week
BENNINGTON -- It may seem like an obvious thing to do, but for the first time the local school district and the Select Board will host a joint budget presentation. "Better informed" The presentation is on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Bennington Fire... more
New public Wi-Fi areas added in Vermont
MONTPELIER, VT. — The Vermont Council on Rural Development says there are more public access points for Wi-Fi that are part of the Vermont Digital Economy Project. Their installation team reports adding wireless hotspots in Stockbridge, Killington... more
Grants allow agricultural businesses to expand
By Peter Hirschfeld, Vermont Public Radio For Joe Buely, there was the matter of the potatoes. As Buely’s burgeoning soup-making operation took hold, the process of removing skin from spud was consuming ever greater portions of his employees’ work... more
Securing the Future of Vermont’s Working Landscape
By Jeremy Carter, The Bridge: http://www.montpelierbridge.com/2014/01/securing-the-future-of-vermonts-... On December 17, 2013, temperatures plummeted, snow plastered the streets and schools closed. And yet, inside Vermont Technical College in... more
Front Porch Forum on WKVT
Michale Wood-Lewis discusses Front Porch Forum, and how the Vermont Digital Economy Project helped its statewide expansion, on WKVT. You can find the original audio here.
Marlboro gets WiFi hotspot
By HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN / Reformer Staff MARLBORO -- Town residents who can’t get broadband, and who are frustrated with the slow pace of upgrading their service at home, now have an option when trying to get online. The town center has a new Wi-Fi... more
Stroll's Munzing gets community leadership award
BRATTLEBORO -- Strolling of the Heifers founder Orly Munzing this week received the 2013 Vermont Community Leadership Award from the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Munzing was honored at the end of the council's 2013 Summit on the Future of... more
A forum on the future of Vermont's working landscape points to progress, problems
The low-hanging jargon lifted quickly. By the end of the day Tuesday, the dozens of folk who gathered in Randolph to mull the future of Vermont’s rural economy had boiled the conundrum down to two words: “work” and “land.” Participants began with... more
Leaders eye ‘working landscape’
By Kevin O'Connor, Times Argus: RANDOLPH — When Gov. Peter Shumlin was growing up a half-century ago, Vermont’s agricultural engine was fueled by milk: “If you had asked people outside the dairy industry then to get together and talk about how we’re... more
Working Lands Summit Shows Return on Investment
RANDOLPH, VT -- Over 350 Vermonters gathered at Vermont Technical College on Tuesday for a day of celebration, learning, and reporting on the results of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund investments. The Future of Vermont's Working Landscape Summit... more
Integrity of current use program vital to its success, stakeholders say
Without the state’s current use tax program, “Vermont probably wouldn’t have a working landscape,” says a former president of the Vermont Land Trust. Darby Bradley opened a panel discussion on the state’s current use program Tuesday with a short... more
Vt. summit aims to seed ‘working landscape’
RANDOLPH — When Gov. Peter Shumlin was growing up a half-century ago, Vermont’s agricultural engine was fueled by milk: “If you had asked people outside the dairy industry then to get together and talk about how we’re going to make more value-added... more
Video ~ Summit on the Future of Vermont's Working Landscape
Thanks to Orca Media for filming the Summit sessions that took place in Judd Hall and making the video available online. The day is broken out into 4 videos: Part 1 ~ Introductions and welcoming remarks by: Paul Costello, Phil Conroy, Chuck Ross,... more
Video ~ Working on Vermont's working landscape
Visit this link to watch the news story on the WCAX website.
Can Vermont Forestry Be As Popular As Vermont Farming?
By Steve Zind, Vermont Public Radio Business owners, public officials, policy makers and advocates gathered Tuesday at a summit in Randolph Center to take stock of efforts to preserve the state’s working landscape.One of the conversations that took... more
VCRD honors Orly Munzing with Community Leadership Award
The Vermont Council on Rural Development has presented its 2013 Vermont Community Leadership Award to Orly Munzing, founder and executive director of Strolling of the Heifers. The award was announced on Tuesday, Dec. 17 during the Council’s 2013... more
Letter: Vermont Working Lands Summit
To the Editor: On Dec. 17, hundreds of Vermonters will come together at Vermont Technical Center in Randolph to celebrate the success of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund and to identify actions to encourage policymakers to continue this important... more
Gathering to celebrate, foster Vermont's rural renaissance
Randolph — On Dec. 17, hundreds of Vermonters will come together at Vermont Technical Center to celebrate the success of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund and to identify actions to encourage policymakers to continue this important work. Farmers,... more
Celebrating working lands
On Dec. 17, hundreds of Vermonters will come together at Vermont Technical Center to celebrate the success of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund and to identify actions to encourage policymakers to continue this important work. The summit is being... more
Guilford plans for future
GUILFORD (By MIKE FAHER) -- Having decided where they want to go, Guilford residents now will try to figure out how to get there. As the latest step in a planning process organized by the Vermont Council on Rural Development, residents have settled... more
Free Wi-Fi, new website for town
WILMINGTON- Thanks to a new website and a new free wireless Internet zone, Wilmington is moving forward in its quest to become a digitally efficient municipality.  The town now has “the Wilmington connection,” a Wi-Fi zone that provides online... more
How a hackathon can transform your community
What started as an uphill battle in Burlington, Vermont on the National Day of Civic Hacking in June 2013, transversed into an understanding between local government, non-profits, the media, and the community four months later. What they came to... more
Thoughts about our working landscape
The experience and evolution of Vermont’s working landscape has been in my thinking recently, particularly as our communities work on issues of solar arrays, wind towers, and zoning regulations with respect to views and landscaping. In my personal... more
Wilmington to launch new website and Wi-Fi zone
WILMINGTON, VT - The town of Wilmington, Vermont will be celebrating the arrival of a free and public downtown Wi-Fi zone called “The Wilmington Connection,” as well as the launch the town’s new municipal website (wilmingtonvermont.us) at a special... more
Improving economic fortunes in the Route 30/100 corridor
TOWNSHEND -- With a limitless amount of ideas, town officials and business owners jumped at the chance to spark conversation regarding opportunities within the West River Valley. "It's going to take folks lining up together and saying, 'How do we... more
Vt. Aims To Become Food Systems Education Leader
by LISA RATHKE, Associated Press MONTPELIER -- Vermont, with its reputation for handcrafted premium cheeses, pure maple syrup and craft beers, now wants to become a national leader in food systems education. Several Vermont colleges and... more
Vermont aims to become hub of food systems education
MONTPELIER (AP) -- Known for its commitment to local foods and its artisanal cheeses, maple syrup and even beer, Vermont now hopes to become a national hub for food systems education. On Thursday, the presidents of the University of Vermont,... more
Food systems proposal crucial
Editorial by Emerson Lynn, St. Albans Messenger: http://www.samessenger.com/ Vermont is not flush with products or services that lend themselves to national brands of any significant scale. We have neither the population nor the central location to... more
New Consortium Will Make Vermont a Global Center of Food Systems Education
Vermont took a giant step today towards becoming a global center for food systems education. The leaders of six of Vermont’s higher education institutions were at the State House to sign a groundbreaking agreement to create a premier destination for... more
Vermont aims to become hub of food systems education Six educational institutions have signed on to be part of the initiative
by Tim Johnson, Burlington Free Press MONTPELIER — Vermont’s leaders love to tout synergy, and a joint news conference Thursday morning announced another showcase example: an initiative that will have colleges, state government and educable youth... more
Colleges Will Share Students To Boost Food & Ag Education
by Steve Zind, Vermont Public Radio A group of Vermont public and private higher learning institutions has announced a plan to share students and programs in an effort to boost the state’s image as an education center for agriculture and food... more
Vermont Colleges to share resources in creating food systems degree
by John Herrick, vtdigger.org A consortium of Vermont colleges launched a plan Thursday to make the state “the destination for agricultural education.” The colleges announced an agreement to share the state as a “campus” for undergraduate,... more
Town looks at creating wi-fi 'hot spot' at Broad Brook Grange
By John Snyder/The Commons: http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=8797&page=1#.... GUILFORD—The Selectboard said it is on the fence about whether to invest in a public Internet wireless “hotspot” at Broad Brook Grange, and... more
Conference Focuses on Financing Working Lands
Vermont Public Radio: http://digital.vpr.net/post/conference-focuses-financing-working-lands According to those working to improve farming and forestry opportunities in Vermont, the state is experiencing a renaissance.  There’s an influx of... more
In A Digital World, Some Towns Working Hard To Keep Up
By Katy Savage Virginia Lancaster started the Barnard Bulletin 20 years ago when she realized people in town were not prepared when it came time for Town Meeting. She mailed it free to every registered voter. Now, the 4-8 page monthly news flier... more
Online forum connects Vermont residents in rural towns
MONTPELIER -- When Tropical Storm Irene flooded mountain valley towns in Vermont two years ago, some savvy residents turned to social media to rally for help and spread news. Their posts on Facebook pages and other community forums were answered in... more
Like the Food Shelf on Facebook
For The Woodstock Community Food Shelf  Remember back when Irene was imminent and you were wondering how long power and phone would stay connected? Somewhere in the midst of the storm, we here in Woodstock, and in Bridgewater and Reading, were cut... more
Video ~ Michael Wood-Lewis founder of Front Porch Forum on City Room with Steven Pappas
With support from VCRD's Vermont Digital Economy Project, Front Porch Forum is now in every Vermont town. FPF Founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, talks with Steven Pappas of City Room. City Room with Steve Pappas, Michael Wood-Lewis founder of Front Porch... more
$18K grant heading to Manchester
MANCHESTER - An $18,000 grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation could result in a new sidewalk and improved crosswalks in downtown Manchester, according to a town official. "We're looking at opportunities and constraints to building a new... more
Is Vermont's Front Porch Forum Moderating Civil Discussion — or Censoring Free Speech?
Written by Kathryn Flagg of Seven Days: http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/is-vermonts-front-porch-forum-moderat... Imagine this: A South Burlington resident posts an offhand remark on his neighborhood Front Porch Forum about killing “some useless... more
Riverwalk work party set
MANCHESTER - The Manchester Riverwalk Association will be holding a Riverwalk Work Day on Sunday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting at the town green. This spring, after a visioning exercise with the Vermont Council on Rural Development,... more
Vermont-created community website connects neighbors statewide
BURLINGTON, Vt. —It's the latest way to connect with your neighbors, and now it's in every community across Vermont. Front Porch Forum is the brainchild of a Burlington man, who created the online meeting place after finding it difficult to... more
Front Porch Forum to go statewide
By Neal Goswami MONTPELIER — An online forum allowing local communities to share information or seek and offer assistance to neighbors is set for a statewide rollout with backing from the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Front Porch Forum,... more
Front Porch Forum expands to every Vermont town
The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) and Front Porch Forum (FPF) jointly announce today that Front Porch Forum has expanded and is now available statewide in every Vermont town and neighborhood. Today’s announcement is made possible after... more
Video ~ Working lands group accepting grants to benefit farms
BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Working Lands Enterprise Board is accepting applications for grants. Winners will be people from the agriculture and forest sectors who are advancing entrepreneurism, business development and job creation. Bruce Hennessey is a... more
Exotic lumber sells: Farm to Plate meets innovative Forest to Table
A $100,000 grant from the Working Lands Enterprise Fund to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board will support the delivery of The Forest Viability Program. Participants will receive in-depth, one-on-one assistance. Ellen Kahler, executive... more
Immigration Reform, Obamacare, The Economy: Just A Few Things Companies Like Facebook, Google And Much Smaller Businesses Want Resolved
By Laura Matthews - Paul Costello was interviewed for this piece on the current state of the U.S. economy. Here's an excerpt from middle of the article where he was quoted: By comparison, Vermont, less than 200 miles away from the Maine border,... more
VT Digital Economy Project - Builds Website for Potter's Angels Rescue
by Jenny Day Federal dollars are helping puppies right here in Vermont. Specifically - sprucing up the "Potter's Angels Shelter" website - to get more dogs adopted. The "Vermont Digital Economy Project" is actually using the money to get more... more
Vermont Digital Economy Project Assisting Local Nonprofits in Plymouth
Rob Fish is assisting the Plymouth Historical Society in building a website. Part of the focus of this project is to share and collaborate with other organizations in the area. A free, skills workshop has been planned for Wednesday, Aug. 14th, from... more
Vermont agribusiness service providers expand to include wood product industry
Montpelier - Business planning and technical assistance previously available to the agricultural sector is growing to include wood product and forestry industry businesses. The Vermont Farm Viability Program and the Vermont Agriculture Development... more
Digital Infrastructure Gets Boost In Flooded Towns
By STEVE ZIND Resiliency has been a buzzword ever since Tropical Storm Irene. The goal of resiliency is to improve the ability of communities to recover from natural disasters. In some cases that involves building bigger culverts and better... more
Vt. Public Wi-Fi Creates Broadband Options
Broadband and Tech | Main Street Economics Vermont builds a wi-fi network for its downtown, providing students, businesses and residents with a new way to get online. For the town of 2,000, that means more opportunity -- and less time in the... more
City Room: Sharon Combes-Farr, Vermont Digital Economy Project Director
Project Director, Sharon Combes-Farr gets interviewed on City Room.   City Room: Sharon Combes-Farr, Vermont Digital Economy Project Director from Central Vermont Television on Vimeo.
The Northeast Kingdom growth surge
Commentary by John McClaughry On June 15 some 120 people from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom came together for a session at Lake Region High School on “building action to advance the health and prosperity of NEK communities while maintaining their... more
Village walking tour and Wi-Fi get nod
by Jack Deming Wilmington village could get a mak­eover if a design plan is approved and acted on. WILMINGTON- The select­board approved two projects totaling $11,000 for the 1% option tax fund allotment for the second quarter, . At a meeting... more
2013 Working Lands Enterprise Fund Grant Recipients Announced
The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) comprised of public and private sector members involved in agriculture, forestry, and/or forest products was responsible for allocating over $1 million in grant funds in the fiscal 2013 budget year. The... more
Bennington’s First Fridays back on track for July
BENNINGTON -- Throughout the summer season and into October, Downtown Bennington will hold "First Friday" celebrations on the first Friday of every month. The concept for Bennington’s First Fridays stemmed from a Vermont Council on Rural... more
Pellet company ups output with grant
Vermont Wood Pellet Company was among 16 companies and organizations to share more than $750,000 in grants from the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. The North Clarendon pellet mill received a $38,153 infrastructure grant that will allow the company... more
Grants for local apple, meat-cutting projects aims to fuel local foods movement
ADDISON COUNTY — Nearly $100,000 in grants to two local apple operations announced last week, plus additional grants supporting meat-cutting and composting efforts, aim to help businesses cultivating the local foods market. Ultimately, the awards... more
2013 Working Lands grants awarded
MONTPELIER — The state has announced $750,000 in grants as part of its Working Lands Enterprise Initiative. The grants for service providers as well as capital and infrastructure were given as part of the first round of grants in those categories.... more
Windham County rakes in big grants
BRATTLEBORO -- Windham County's agricultural business community got a big boost Tuesday when the latest recipients of the state's Working Lands Enterprise Fund were announced. More than $750,000 in grants were given out to 16 grantees at a... more
Gov. Shumlin announces final 16 grantees of the 2013 Working Lands Fund
MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin, Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Chuck Ross, Commerce & Community Development Secretary Lawrence Miller, Forests, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder and the Working Lands Enterprise Board... more
Working Lands awards $750,000 in 2013 grants
Vermonters in the forestry and agriculture sectors got a helping hand from the state on Tuesday. The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative awarded 16 local businesses a total of $750,000 in grant money at an event at Beaver Brook Farm in Marshfield,... more
NEK Today and Tomorrow: Development drives discussion
By Hilary Niles, vtdigger.org: http://vtdigger.org/2013/06/17/nek-today-and-tomorrow-development-drives-discussion/ Bill Stenger found more money than he knew what to do with when he started developing the year-round water park that opened at Jay... more
Vermont fine furniture company receives $100,000 working lands grant award
Vermont Woods Studios online fine furniture to be awarded a $100,000 working lands Grant Award. The Vermont Woods Studios was selected to receive a $100,000 grant to be used to complete the construction and landscaping of Stonehurst, their Vermont... more
Video ~ Paul Costello talks about VCRD's work
Paul Costello, Executive Director, joins Comcast Newsmakers to discuss VCRD's work.
A Day for Economic Development
By Katie Mettler Valley News Staff Writer (Published in print: Friday, June 14, 2013) South Royalton — It was a day of firsts on the green in South Royalton yesterday. The town’s grant-funded public wifi was unveiled and the third annual BALE... more
Waterbury VT Getting Boost From Digital Economy Project
Waterbury is getting another boost as it recovers from its flooding. This time from the Vermont Digital Economy project. A $1.8 million grant will benefit 25 towns impacted by flooding including Waterbury. The town will soon see many benefits... more
Vermont’s first economic summit takes on perception problem
Joseph Fusco, VCRD board member and vice president of Casella Waste Systems, on a panel at the state’s first economic summit, June 3, 2013. Photo by Anne Galloway. by Anne Galloway | June 4, 2013 | http://vtdigger.org/2013/06/04/vermonts-first-... more
Towns Get Wi-Fi
Bethel, South Royalton Will Benefit By Molly Mattern Tropical Storm Irene, which devastated local communities in 2011, has imparted a surprising gift to the towns of Royalton and Bethel this summer. On Thursday, June 13 at 3 p.m. on the Royalton... more
WiFi in Downtown S. Royalton - 15 Other Towns are Next!
This video piece aired on Fox44 and ABC22.
Interview with Paul Costello
Reproduced here with permission, this interview appeared in the June-July 2013 issue of Vermont Property Owners Report, a bimonthly subscription newsletter about Vermont and Vermont real estate. For more information, call 802-229-2433, or visit www.... more
Morrisville Food Co-op to hold meeting
The Morrisville Food Co-op (MoCo) Task Force is holding a community meeting, “Community Engagement 2013,” on June 4, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Peoples Academy in Morrisville, to launch its member/ownership pledge drive and talk about the next steps in... more
Video ~ Paul Costello on Bill Doyle's TV show
In this 30 minute video, Paul talks about Vermont's investments in farm and forest enterprises and the history of the Working Lands Enterprise initiative.
Community sets action steps
MANCHESTER - Tuesday night marked the final of three meetings in Manchester's 2020 Community Visit series. The gathering brought the community back together to focus on their four defined priorities - developing a small business incubator, becoming... more
Mark Johnson Interviews Sharon Combes-Farr at the VBSR Spring Conference 2013
Vermont Digital Economy Project Director, Sharon Combes-Farr, discusses Cloud Computing and more at the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Conference in Burlington, Vermont. Find the original audio link here.  
Compendium of press for the first round of working lands grants
On Wednesday May 2nd the Working Lands Enterprise Board announced the first farm and forest enterprises to receive grant funds made available through funds build through Act 142 last year. Here are a some articles about the awardees: Grants to fund... more
Video ~ Speeches from the Working Lands Enterprise Grant Awardees press conference
May 2, 2013 ~ Close to $220,000 was awarded to 20 grantees representing sectors across agriculture, forestry and forest products industry. Here are some of the speeches from the press conference announcing the awardees. Click here for a list of... more
Gov. Shumlin announces 20 grantees of Working Lands Enterprise
MONTPELIER, 5/2/13 – Gov. Peter Shumlin, Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross, Forest, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder and the Working Lands Enterprise Board today announced the first round of grant recipients from the “Enterprise... more
Bethel Will Get Wi-Fi
Whole Village Area Would Be Served By Jennie Marx The Bethel Business Association hosted a presentation on the downtown Bethel public Wi-Fi grant April 17 at the former Breaking Grounds building. The town applied for the technology grant, which... more
Mihaly Commentary: Changing the world
VtDigger.org editor’s note: This op-ed is by Marc Mihaly, the president and dean of Vermont Law School. He is an expert in land use, urban planning, and energy law and policy. Vermont Law School is here for people who want to change the world. We... more
Community Visit sets four goals
MANCHESTER, by staff writer Brandon Canevari - After a three hour session, Manchester residents as well as some from surrounding towns narrowed the vision for the future of Manchester during the second Community Visit last Thursday night. More than... more
Manchester sets four community priorities
MANCHESTER — At the second public session for Manchester’s community visit, the community narrowed down a list of goals to four priorities for improving the town’s draw for tourists, economic future and educational opportunities. By the end of the... more
Hotspots: Board discusses digital economy grant
By CHRIS MAYS / Reformer Staff HALIFAX -- The Selectboard met with representatives from the Vermont Digital Economy Project on April 2 to discuss the grant the town was recently awarded from the Vermont Council on Rural Development. "The Vermont... more
Irene-impacted Vermont towns to receive digital recovery services
The Vermont Council on Rural Development announced a few of the 25 towns to receive services from its Digital Economy Project, created in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. The project is intended to spur economic growth and development in affected... more
Community Visitors return
MANCHESTER, Andrew McKeever - The time is approaching for Community Visit, the sequel. Three weeks ago more than 300 area residents converged on four locations across town to take part in one or more community forums and discussions on issues... more
Manchester Community Visit
There was so much to reflect on following last week's Community Visit organized by a local group of community leaders and the Vermont Council on Rural Development that it's hard to know where to start. So we'll start from the beginning. First, the... more
Manchester explores its future
MANCHESTER -- On the one hand, challenges - youth emigration; lack of nightlife; a need for more regional transportation; more integrated communication. On the other hand, opportunities - beautiful natural scenery; a vibrant arts and cultural scene... more
Focusing on opportunities, challenges
MANCHESTER - More than 300 people from Manchester and the surrounding area participated in nine different discussions on Monday, part of a "Community Visit" organized by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. The nine topics of discussion around... more
Video ~ Manchester 2020 Community Visit Day
Produced by Greater Northshire Access TV (GNAT), this video filmed during the Manchester 2020 Community Visit day dinner gives a great overview of the day, and includes interviews of visiting team members and community members.
Community visit comes to Manchester today
MANCHESTER — Residents of Manchester are encouraged to come out today and take part in the Community Visit process by helping to set priorities for the town and bringing their views to discussions about what steps Manchester should take in the... more
Video ~ Front Page on GNAT-TV about the upcoming Manchester 2020 Community Visit Day
Andrew McKeever talks about the Manchester 2020 Community Visit event on March 11th. All community members are invited to share ideas. A series of forums will begin at 2:15 with a FREE community dinner at Burr & Burton Academy at 5:45pm.
Vermont Lawmakers Support Working Lands Investment: Five million per year for three years will build a strong working lands economy
MONTPELIER, VT – A coalition of lawmakers today delivered a “Dear Colleague” letter to the Vermont House and Senate Appropriations Committees, in support of the “five-by-three” investment for the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. The 66 legislators... more
Costello Commentary: Investing in Working Lands
Last year Act 142 established the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) and Fund. Act 142 was both the jobs bill of 2012 and the agriculture and forest products policy bill of the decade. It established a unifying and nonpartisan platform to... more
Orton Commentary: Working Landscape
After 65 years of decline, Vermont's working landscape - farm and forest - is poised to reverse that trend with the help of two critical applications - and I don't mean manure and lime. The first application is at the ready, an enthusiastic... more
Working Lands Coalition 5x3 campaign launch in the press
Here are a few recent articles about the launch of the Coalitions 5x3 campaign requesting $5M for each of the next three years: Big rush for 'Working Lands' cash, Brattleboro Reformer State officials knew there was a demand for more cash to... more
Working landscape groups look for $15 million boost over three years
by Andrew Stein | vtdigger.org | February 14, 2013 Vermont agriculture, forestry and conservation groups are asking the Legislature to set aside $5 million annually over the next three years to fund forestry and agricultural enterprises. The... more
A tale of three cities
By Tara Kelly, in A Weekly Column from the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link Lately, I’ve been thinking about the communities I’ve lived in and their relationships with local food and agriculture. Growing up in the Boston area during the 70’s and 80... more
After a busy couple of years, what's next for Manchester?
Manchester Journal, 01/23/13 ~ One Roundabout. Check. A Park House. Check. New Visitor's Center. New streetlights, refurbished Adams Park, plus a new parking lot for a historic district. Town wifi - at least for a downtown sliver. Check, check check... more
Vermont's New Front Porch
By Helen Labun Jordan, published in the Daily Yonder For over a decade, the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) has rallied rural communities to identify and act on key local concerns. These concerns almost invariably include community... more
Len Bull Commentary: Working lands fund needs continued legislative support
Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Dr. Leonard Bull, who was a professor of animal sciences at the University of Vermont and North Carolina State University. He is currently chair of the Vermont Agricultural and Forest Products Development Board, and... more
184 agriculture entrepreneurs vie for slices of “working lands” pie
Pent up demand for investment capital among agriculture entrepreneurs has sparked a massive response to the inaugural “Working Lands Enterprise Initiative.” As part of an attempt to fuel a “renaissance” of the ag economy, lawmakers last year... more
Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Receives $9 million in Request for Funds
Media Advisory, January 18, 2013 ~ The Working Lands Enterprise Board solicited Letters of Intent (LOI) for two of three investment areas (Capital & Infrastructure, and Service Providers) and received 184 applications, for a total request of... more
Leonard Bull: Hope springs for Vermont agriculture
Last year, the Vermont Legislature created the Working Lands Enterprise Fund and seeded it with a small investment of $1 million. We are now seeing our seeds growing, as agricultural and forest products enterprises have actively applied for the... more
Leahy, Sanders, Welch: Economic Development Administration Awards $1.8 M. To Help Businesses, Farms, Towns And Nonprofits Harness Online Tools To Bolster Disaster Resiliency
MONTPELIER, Vt. (Friday, Jan. 11, 2013) – Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Peter Welch announced Friday that the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded Vermont a $1.8 million grant to help businesses, farms,... more
U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.8 Million to Expand Internet Capacity for Vermont Businesses in the Wake of Tropical Storm Irene
WASHINGTON — Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced a $1.8 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the Vermont Council on Rural Development of Montpelier, Vermont. The investment will help the state rebound... more
Donath Commentary ~ Working lands, our Vermont home
Editor’s note: This op-ed is by David A. Donath, president of the Woodstock Foundation, which operates the Billings Farm & Museum, an operating dairy farm dedicated to telling the story of Vermont’s rural heritage. He is co-editor of a... more
Vermont's Smallest City Thinks Big
The citizens of Vergennes have set the top three priorities for their city, in an effort to take a big picture approach to planning for the future. More than 100 people turned out to a community meeting last week. It was the second event in a three-... more
'Community Visit' in the works
MANCHESTER - Sometime in early 2013, the Town of Manchester will participate in the Vermont Council on Rural Development's "Community Visit Program," an initiative geared towards connecting community building efforts in Vermont towns with state-wide... more
Mount Abe opens computer labs to community
BRISTOL — Mount Abraham Union High School has launched an impressive array of educational programs in the past few weeks. With support from an e-Vermont grant, which supports computer literacy in communities across the state, as well as a grant... more
eVermont Leaves Legacy of Help, Tools
By Wayne Hanson All good things must end, the saying goes, and eVermont, a stimulus-funded program of the Vermont Council on Rural Development -- designed to increase broadband adoption in rural Vermont -- recently completed its two-year run.... more
Press Release: New Working Landscape Coalition Pushing for Farm and Forest Funding
December 19, 2012 ~ The Vermont Council on Rural Development announced today that a new leadership team has formed to advance Vermont’s working landscape by supporting state investments through the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB)... more
Press Release: New Working Landscape Coalition Pushing for Farm and Forest Funding
December 19, 2012 ~ The Vermont Council on Rural Development announced today that a new leadership team has formed to advance Vermont’s working landscape by supporting state investments through the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB)... more
Farm and Forestry Interests to Seek Greater State Investment
By Pat Bradley ~ click here to listen to the broadcast A coalition of groups plans to lobby the Vermont Legislature in the upcoming session for additional funding for infrastructure investments in the state’s farm and forest sectors. The Vermont... more
Stevens commentary: Working Lands initiative needs nurturing
Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Will Stevens, an organic market gardener and independent state representative from Shoreham. Last month, Gov. Shumlin announced his priorities for the upcoming legislative session. As notable as what we heard was... more
Website Design Contest Winner Announced: Innovative Contest Provides New Tools for Digital Literacy
MONTPELIER, VT - A winner has been chosen in the Beginner Friendly Website Design contest organized by the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project. Lars Hasselblad Torres, a freelance web designer who recently launched the Local 64 co-working space in... more
Jordan Commentary: Closing the digital divide in Vermont
Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Helen Labun Jordan, project director of the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project at the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Find their work online at www.e4vt.org. The good news is that a little more than a year... more
Video ~ Vermont Countryside interview about the Working Landscape Initiative
A Vermont Countryside show featuring Representative Will Stevens and Paul Costello from the Working Landscape Partnership will be broadcast on public access TV in Vermont at the end of November and early December... But you can see it here in the... more
Press Release: New Resources Available for Community Broadband Use
(MONTPELIER, VT) – The Vermont Council on Rural Development is sharing toolkits and lessons learned from the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project. These resources will help rural communities in Vermont and throughout the United States make better... more
Rutland Creek Path gets $295K
In 2006, VCRD brought its Creative Communities program to Rutland. Rutland community members embraced the concepts and remain committed and energized as they continue to advance projects designed to make Rutland a more dynamic, exciting, and fun... more
e-Vermont broadband effort benefited towns
Putting broadband to work for Vermont was the directive of e-Vermont, an initiative seeking to expand access to and make better use of high speed Internet throughout all parts of the state. Locally, the program resulted in netbooks for students,... more
Update on Bennington's "Downtown as a Destination" project
Members of the "Downtown as a Destination” task force have been meeting since it's formation through the VCRD Community Visit process in 2012. John Shannahan, chair of the committee, reports some progress being made: For those who have been... more
Helen Labun Jordan Commentary ~ Is the Internet relevant?
Is the Internet relevant? The quick answer to that question is yes, very relevant, to all of us. For many Vermonters the answer is that the Internet isn’t just relevant, it’s vital. But not everyone shares that perspective. The National... more
Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Fund and Initiative Launches
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is pleased to announce the creation of the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB), a newly appointed board which will create and execute a fast-paced timeline to support investment in Vermont’s... more
VISTA volunteers to work with local community
BENNINGTON -- A pair of volunteers from a federal program will be attached to the local hospital for the next year, working with youth to address poverty and nutrition in the Bennington area. ...one thing the students may help with is the expansion... more
Planning Commission Welcomes Agripreneurs to Hinesburg
Here's an email update we received from a member of the Hinesburg Planning Commission. Paul, Keep up the forward progress on the Working Landscape Partnership! I thought you might like to hear about one of your success stories in progress.... more
Costello Commentary: Celebrating Rutland’s creativity, innovation
The city of Rutland has a proud history of economic innovation and cultural creativity — and has a tremendous leadership team of volunteers who are advancing that tradition today. The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) announced this week... more
Governor Shumlin announces $1.9 million in community development grants: New jobs, affordable homes, and downtown revitalization will result
MORRISTOWN, Vt. — Gov. Peter Shumlin announced today that the former Arthur’s department store, a landmark building in the center of Morristown, will be renovated into new commercial space and affordable apartments with the help of a $600,000 grant... more
"Madness" gets Main Street hopping
BENNINGTON -- Downtown retailers were open late for the "most important night of the year to be on Main Street" -- the third Thursday in July, known as Midnight Madness in Bennington. For nearly four decades, since 1963, the once-a-year event has... more
VT Agricultural Development Board to Include Forestry; Will Become the VT Agricultural & Forest Products Development Board
From the 7/13/12 issue of Agriview, by Colleen Leonard, VAAFM Agricultural Policy Administrator The 2012 Legislative session brought with it a renewed commitment to Vermonter’s values by passing the Working Lands Enterprise initiative for the... more
Little City downtown gets wifi
VERGENNES — Free wifi now blankets downtown Vergennes, courtesy of the eVermont grant the city won in 2010. The Bixby Free Memorial Library served as the lead applicant for that grant, with support from the Vergennes partnership. Wifi service... more
New law aims to grow Vt farming, forestry
SHOREHAM, Vt. - If there is any question how important rolling fields and forests are to Vermont, consider this. "Agriculture is in the neighborhood of 20 percent of the land base, forestry is about 75 percent and that is most of our landscape, and... more
Downtown Morristown battles setbacks
By Lisa McCormack Last summer, it seemed downtown Morristown was about to experience a renaissance. • Two affordable-housing agencies signed a contract to buy and renovate three empty buildings that had housed Arthur’s Department Store. Shops,... more
Vermont's digital future envisoned at conference
In his opening remarks at the recent Vermont’s Digital Future Conference, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Internet service at his Putney home is behind that of Vietnam, Cambodia and Croatia. “It’s behind most of the undeveloped world, and most of the 49... more
Video ~ Technology to connect Vermonters
Technology is so important to economic and educational vitality no matter where you live. Charlie Baker, executive director of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, hosts panelists Paul Costello, executive director for the Vermont... more
Work begins on goals set through community planning meetings
BENNINGTON -- Local residents began working Wednesday toward four community goals identified last month as part of the Vermont Council on Rural Development's Community Visit program. Nearly 100 people attended Wednesday's "resource meeting," which... more
Video ~ Governor Shumlin's speech at the signing of the Working Lands Enterprise bill 5/15/12
Yesterday in St. Albans, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law the Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill (H.496). At the signing, Governor Shumlin noted that this initiative is the first new program in government of significance since... more
Video ~ VT Working Lands Bill Signing Ceremony
May 15, 2012 - Chuck Ross, VT Agriculture Secretary, and Paul Costello, Executive Director of the VT Council on Rural Development, speak at the signing of the Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill. Governor Peter Shumlin signs the bill.
Working Lands Bill Moving toward Enactment: Governor expected to sign bill Tuesday afternoon
MONTPELIER, VT – Legislators gave final approval to the Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill (H.496) in the final days of the session, and sent the bill to the Governor’s desk. Governor Shumlin is expected to sign the bill on Tuesday in St.... more
Natural resources: 'It was a pretty good year for the environment'
Candace Page of the Burlington Free Press (www.burlingtonfreepress.com) interviewed Brian Shupe, Executive Director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council. He discusses the working landscape effort as well as other efforts they have been involved... more
Tom Slayton Commentary: Working landscape is our signature
I believe that the working landscape of Vermont — that familiar tapestry of farm fields, forests, small cities and compact villages — is vital to the future of Vermont, and is endangered. The working landscape is part of the signature of our state... more
Landscape at work
The passage of a bill this year to boost farm and forest enterprise says something about the pervasive and enduring commitment of Vermonters to the rural character of their state. The bill was the product of extensive work by the Council on Rural... more
Working lands’ viewed as victory in House and Senate
By PETER HIRSCHFELD, VERMONT PRESS BUREAU MONTPELIER — The idea wasn’t new — energize a flagging agriculture sector by treating farm-based enterprises like dot.com startups. But backers of the “working lands” program proposed at the outset of the... more
Video ~ Vermont's Digital Future Conference Introduction and Keynote
This video captures the remarks and introduction from Mark Snelling, Snelling Center for Government, Governor Peter Shumlin, Helen Labun Jordan, e-Vermont Director, Laura Breeden, Program Director for Public Computing and Broadband... more
Vt. Senate Passes 'Working Lands' Bill
The Vermont Senate has passed a bill designed to jump start farm and forestry projects. The "working lands" bill sets up a board that will oversee a fund to promote agriculture and forest ventures. Senate President pro tem John Campbell says he... more
Agreement Reached on Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill: Final bill moving toward governor’s desk
MONTPELIER, VT – Legislative conferees reached agreement on the Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill (H.496) in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday. All six conference committee members approved the compromise version of the bill, which... more
Food and Agriculture: The ‘Value-Added’ Buzz: Our Farms, Our Food
By Josey HastingsThe Herald of Randolph The Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill, the result of a year’s work by the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership, seeks to create a fund to award grants and loans to start-up businesses making value-... more
Costello Commentary: Support funding for Vermont Working Lands
Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Paul Costello, executive director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, which is coordinating the work of the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership. Right now, Vermont has an opportunity to build a new,... more
Vermont Senate approves working landscape bill
BENNINGTON -- The Vermont Senate gave final approval Monday to a bill that proponents say will enhance the state’s farming and forest industries. The Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill, which aims to boost agriculture and small businesses and... more
Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill Approved by Vermont Senate
House & Senate will work to resolve minor differences and agree to funding amount MONTPELIER, VT – The Vermont Senate gave preliminary approval to the Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill (H.496) on Friday afternoon. A final vote on the... more
Letter to the editor: Applause for the Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill
Thank you, Mike Yantachka, for voting in favor of the Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill (H.496). Charlotte is blessed with some of the most fertile land in all of Vermont. Before moving to Charlotte in 2008, I gardened in a small lot at my... more
“Technology Meets Community” PSA
This 30 second Public Service Announcement was produced for e-Vermont by a team at the South Burlington school system. Thanks to students Riya Patel and Neel Desai and Jay Hoffman, Technology teacher at the Tuttle Middle School for coming up with... more
Stuart Hurd column: Communitywide efforts exerpt
On April 12, I attended the Community Day follow-up meeting. More than 100 people came to the Fire Facility to participate in the formulation of tasks/ideas important to the community. Rather than focus this discussion on the four ultimately... more
Slayton commentary: Working landscape is Vermont’s signature
Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Tom Slayton, a journalist, writer, radio commentator, and retired editor of Vermont Life Magazine, who lives in Montpelier. I believe that the working landscape of Vermont – that familiar tapestry of farm fields,... more
Bennington community defines goals
BENNINGTON -- Residents winnowed more than 20 potential action statements down to four Thursday evening with the help of the Vermont Council on Rural Development as part of that group's ongoing Community Visit Program. The group held nine community... more
Stevens commentary: Working Lands bill is sound policy
Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Rep. Will Stevens, an independent from Shoreham who is a member of the House Agriculture Committee. He and his wife own Golden Russet Farm. I’ve often been asked, “What’s so special about the Working Lands bill (H.... more
Hey, let's do them all!
It is too bad the community planning initiative Bennington is undertaking with help from the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and the many state officials and experts the process will bring to town, couldn't pursue all of the excellent ideas... more
Debevoise commentary: Support Vermont’s working lands
Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Tom Debevoise, the owner of Upwey Farm in South Woodstock. He served as chairman of the Council on the Future of Vermont in 2008-09. Sometimes I have trouble getting excited about what the Legislature is up to.... more
Audio: Paul Costello testimony in the Senate Ag Committee
Listen to Paul Costello share his perspectives on the Working Land Enterprise Bill with the Senate Agriculture Committee: http://www.action-circles.com/wl/paulcostelloagcmteapril2012.mp3.
Scott Buckingham commentary ~ My turn: Growing our future economy
Vermont has an extraordinary and growing wealth of talent, energy, and entrepreneurial interest in its agricultural and forest products sectors. With the state's working lands economy at a turning point, a flood of interest from young entrepreneurs... more
2012 Doyle Town Meeting Day survey results
The 2012 Doyle Town Meeting Day survey results are in and show that 89% of Vermonters believe that the state should continue to support our working farms and forests. Click here to see all the results.
Video ~ Digital Tools for Vt Small Businesses through the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project
ACROSS THE FENCE: Patrick Ripley of the Vermont Small Business Development Center helps businesses make use of Internet tools through the e-Vermont program. He talks with Judy Simpson on WCAX's "Across the Fence" which was broadcast on 3/26/12.... more
Video ~ Finding Reliable Information in the Digital Age
ACROSS THE FENCE: Larraby Fellows of Vermont State Colleges talks with Judy Simpson on WCAX's "Across the Fence" which was broadcast on 4/4/12. She discusses and demonstrates how to find reliable information online. Click here to watch the interview... more
Video ~ Reps testify on H.496 before the House Appropriations Committee 3/27/12
   Vermont Reps. Carolyn Partridge and Will Stevens testify on H.496, the Working Landscape Enterprise Investment Bill, before the House Appropriations Committee.
Video: WCAX interview about e-Vermont and the upcoming conference on May 8th
Joanna Cummings of the Snelling Center for Government talks about the e-Vermont project and the Digital Futures Conference on May 8th.
Bills target working lands for economic development assistance
The following article was published in the April/May 2012 Vermont Property Owners Report. (Reproduced here with permission) It has become common for states, including Vermont, to compete for jobs and economic development by offering potential... more
Working Lands Investments allocated $2.1 million; House vote is Thursday
Parallel bills to invest in rural economic development have cleared key hurdles in the House and the Senate, and the House version is scheduled for a vote Thursday. The bills create a Working Lands Enterprise Fund, which would invest state money in... more
Vermont House of Representatives Supports Working Lands Bill: House gives initial approval to bill with non-partisan vote
MONTPELIER, VT – The Vermont House of Representatives gave initial approval for the Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill (H.496) on Thursday afternoon with a 131-5 vote. The bill includes a little more than a $2 million appropriation for a new... more
House Supports Bill To Preserve Working Landscape
Vermont Public Radio ~ (Host) The House has given its strong support to legislation that's designed to provide opportunities to strengthen the state's agricultural sector. The legislation allocates just over $2 million to help launch new businesses... more
Letter to the Editor: Support our working landscape
SANDGATE ~ If you love the beautiful setting of Vermont, with its rolling farmlands graced with forested backdrops of the Green Mountains or Taconic Range, then thank a farmer, a forester or a logger. These hardworking folks with sore backs and... more
Commentary: This is the town's big chance
BENNINGTON ~ I have heard the voice of Bennington, and there is reason for hope. The Vermont Council on Rural Development paid us a visit recently. They held forums to stimulate a discussion on how to improve our community. What was said there was... more
Side Dishes: Morristown gains ground for a co-op
Lamoille County is home to 375 farms — according to the DC-based Environmental Working Group — and not one food co-op. Residents seeking to own a stake in their farm-fresh food have to purchase a CSA, or head to co-ops in Hardwick or Montpelier.... more
Video ~ Reps testify on H.496 before the House Appropriations Committee
   Vermont Reps. Carolyn Partridge and Will Stevens testify on H.496, the Working Landscape Enterprise Investment Bill, before the House Appropriations Committee.
A good start with forums: Now, let's build on that
Bennington residents turned out in impressive numbers Thursday afternoon and evening for nine community forums to offer suggestions and comments on broad topics for possible initiatives that would benefit the town. Those residents and others, and... more
Fairfield resident posts on FPF about positive outcome of VCRD's Community Visit process
Here's a recent post on Fairfield's Front Porch Forum. A nice mention of VCRD's recent Community Visit process there and some of the progress made in the communications priority: Hi Fairfield! As someone in town (maybe one of a small few) who... more
Bennington speaks out at community forums
BENNINGTON, NEAL P. GOSWAMI, Staff Writer -- Local officials and residents fanned out in force in nine separate forums Thursday as part of the Vermont Council on Rural Development's community visit program aimed at jump-starting discussion on a... more
Video on CAT-TV: Bennington Community Visit
Paul Costello and Joe Krawczyk talk about the upcoming community visit process that kicks on on March 15 in Bennington.
Community-wide planning effort to launch
Friday February 24, 2012: KEITH WHITCOMB JR., Staff Writer BENNINGTON -- If other towns are any indication, some changes and new initiatives could be coming to Bennington in the near future. On March 15, there will be a Community Visit Meeting... more
Working lands bill unanimously supported by House Agriculture
House Agriculture Committee Votes Unanimously to Support the Bill MONTPELIER, VT—The Vermont House Agriculture committee gave their unanimous support to the Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill (H.496) Thursday morning with an 11-0 vote. The... more
House Agriculture Committee just says ‘yes’ to working lands bill
MONTPELIER– Remember that “working lands” bill we wrote about a while back? Since then the House and Senate Agriculture committees have taken weeks of testimony on legislation that would create a board that would give out grants and loans, help... more
Letter to the editor: Benefits us all
Letter to the editor of the Times Argus by Dan Breslaw of West Corinth: I hear a lot of arguments over whether the government or the private sector should be planning our future. What I like best about the Working Landscape bill now before the... more
Press Release: House Agriculture Committee Votes Unanimously to Support the Bill
Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill Moves Forward House Agriculture Committee Votes Unanimously to Support the Bill MONTPELIER, VT—The Vermont House Agriculture committee gave their unanimous support to the Working Lands Enterprise... more
Middlebury to offer free wi-fi
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - The town of Middlebury will soon offer free wireless internet. Money in the town budget along with funding from the Vermont Council on Rural Development, has allowed the local library, which already offers free Wi-Fi to... more
Letter to the editor: Support Working Lands bill
Audrey Famette of Montpelier, submitted her letter to the editor of the Bridge. Click here to read it.
Letter to the editor: League of Women Voters
02/20/12 ~ Support working lands bill. The League of Women Voters of Vermont supports the Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill (H.496/S.246). The League recognizes that some land-use decisions are of statewide concern and believes that the... more
Letter to the editor: Nancy Wayne Jaffe
Shelburne resident, Nancy Wayne Jaffe, writes in support of the Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill. Click here to read her letter to the editor of the Shelburne News.
Letter to the editor: Protecting our resources
Ruth Wallman, Executive Director of the Champlain Islands Chamber of Commerce, wrote a letter to the St. Albans Messenger in support of the Working Land Enterprise bill. Click here to read her letter to the editor.
Bob Foster Commentary: Working landscapes bill holds hope for Vt
Our heritage is our working landscape. Agriculture and forestry are the backbone of our working landscape. Vermont is a small state and has limited resources. Therefore we need to use them wisely and sustainable. Over the years a number of... more
Bill bolsters ag, forest and food processing
MONTPELIER — Vermont lawmakers are working on legislation that aims to bolster Vermont’s economy while retaining the hallmarks of its rural landscape. The main focus in both the House and Senate agriculture committees so far this session has been... more
Working the land
Editorial by David Moats, Rutland Herald/Times-Argus, 2/5/2012 ~ Vermonters from one end of the state to the other, of all political persuasions and demographic groups, rank the vitality and beauty of Vermont’s working landscape as one of their most... more
Working landscape
MONTPELIER — “I dip therefore I yam” is a motto that belongs to Lisa Johnson of Norwich, who testified recently about a niche product, Yummy Yams, she is producing from a crop seldom seen on the Vermont landscape. “I want to change the way people... more
Leaving RutVegas: A blue-collar city reinvents itself — and refutes its reputation
“Let’s talk about RutVegas.” Jim Sabataso is sitting at a small table in Café Terra, “Rutland’s best coffee shop” — and only one, he admits. Sabataso is 28 years old, bearded and friendly. His family goes back a long time in these parts: His great-... more
Vermont wood products industry releases '2020 Vision' report
VermontBiz.com, 1/30/2012 ~ The Vermont Wood Products Marketing Council has released a new ten year strategic plan entitled, “A 2020 Vision for the Vermont Wood Products Sector,” prepared by industry expert and International Consultant, Tom... more
Video ~ Rep. Stevens at the Rural Economic Development Caucus, 1/25/12
Representative Will Stevens presenting to the Rural Economic Development Caucus on January 25, 2012 on the Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill:
Vermont's Digital Development Starts on the Front Porch
...e-Vermont, a consortium of seven different organizations, has come together to improve the economic outlook of rural Vermont through technology, while at the same time preserving what’s most attractive about a region better known for its maple... more
Video ~ WCAX You Can Quote me: Vermont's Working Landscape
January 22, 2012 -- Paul Costello and Rep. Will Stevens, I-Shoreham, join Darren Perron and Keith McGilvery to discuss Vermont's working landscape. Watch the video here: http://www.wcax.com/category/166239/video-landing-page?autoStart=true&to... more
Tweets ~ January 18th Public Hearing on the Working Landscape Bill
Click HERE to read the tweets from the public hearing.
Video ~ Clips from the January 18th public hearing on the working landscape
Over 100 people came to the Public Hearing for the Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill on January 18th, and over 40 testified on the bill. Here are a few scenes from the hearing:  
Working landscape
From: http://www.reformer.com/ci_19750382?IADID=Search-www.reformer.com-www.reformer.com Representative Carolyn Partridge, Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, overviews H.496, the Working Lands Enterprise Bill which was introduced this year... more
Bixby Library looks to its second century
VERGENNES - ...The e-Vermont grant will help with the technological challenges as the Bixby looks past its birthday — the Bixby served as the lead applicant for the grant. The city and the Vergennes Partnership, the nonprofit that oversees the... more
Allbee Commentary: This is a bold initiative
ST. ALBANS — Two Franklin County legislators from opposite sides of the political aisle have joined forces in a bid to improve the development of agricultural and forestry products and businesses in Vermont. Funding for infrastructure development,... more
WAMC Radio: Bill to Invest in Vermont's Agriculture and Forest Sectors Introduced
MONTPELIER, VT (WAMC) - Pat Bradley of WAMC Northeast Public Radio interviewed Paul Costello (Executive Director at VCRD), Will Stevens (member of the House and a lead sponsor on the bill), and Kate McCarthy (Sustainable Community Director at VNRC)... more
Editorial: Getting to the character of Vermont
From: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/opinion/ci_19732185 BENNINGTON BANNER - It was heartening to see that a bill to create the Working Lands Enterprise investment, promotion, coordination and assistance initiative already has significant support... more
Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill Draws Support: Lawmakers and Advocates Stand Together for Vermont’s Future
MONTPELIER VT, 1/12/2012 – Several Vermont lawmakers and advocates announced the introduction of the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill on Wednesday morning in the Vermont statehouse. After a presentation to the Rural Economic... more
Vt. bill would promote value-added ag, forestry
New Vermont legislation that appears to have broad support seeks to promote turning milk into cheese, apples into cider and trees into furniture as keys to keeping the state's working landscape of farms and forests vital to its economic future. The... more
Vermont Working Landscape Partnership press conference, January 11, 2012
Several Vermont lawmakers and advocates announced the introduction of the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill on Wednesday morning in the Vermont statehouse. After a presentation to the Rural Economic Development Caucus, representatives... more
Through Grants, Bill Would Invest In Working Landscape
From: http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/93023/through-grants-bill-would-invest-in-working-landsc/ (Host) Turning milk into cheese, apples into cider and trees into furniture are some of the key ways to keeping Vermont's working landscape vital in the... more
Vermont bill looks to move more businesses beyond raw materials
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Turning milk into cheese, apples into cider and trees into furniture are the keys to keeping Vermont's working landscape vital in the future. That's the idea behind a bill introduced Wednesday by a group of lawmakers and the... more
Vermont Working Landscape Partnership press conference
Several Vermont lawmakers and advocates announced the introduction of the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Investment bill on Wednesday morning in the Vermont statehouse. After a presentation to the Rural Economic Development Caucus, representatives... more
Best of both worlds: Protecting Vt, adding jobs
(1/10/12) MONTPELIER — In an effort to preserve the character of Vermont’s rural landscape and create jobs, the Vermont Council on Rural Development will tout legislation this week that it says would do both. The council is the force behind a bill... more
Council wants to know Bennington’s goals
BENNINGTON -- The Council on Rural Development is planning to bring its Community Visit Program to Bennington to help residents identify and achieve goals for the town. Executive Director Paul Costello said an initial steering committee is being put... more
A Contest Gets Vermont Businesses Webby
Nothing like competition and cash prizes to get businesses people fired up. In rural Vermont, contests for the best new business applications on the web - plus training and mentoring - are improving scores local companies. Click HERE to read the... more
Proposal backs agriculture, small business, Vermont's rural economy
BENNINGTON - As lawmakers return to Montpelier for the second year of the legislative biennium, a coalition of advocates is hoping they will consider legislation aimed at enhancing Vermont's working landscape. The Vermont Council on Rural... more
Advocates push for 'working landscapes' bill
BRATTLEBORO -- Former agriculture secretary Roger Allbee smiles when he talks about Vermont's farming renaissance in the last decade. He also beams when reviewing the industry's future. "The future has always been adding value, whether it's butter... more
Schubart Commentary ~ Vermont must invest in working farms and forests
From: http://vtdigger.org/2012/01/01/schubart-vermont-must-invest-in-working-farms-and-forests/ Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Bill Schubart, a regular commentator for Vermont Public Radio and president of the Vermont Journalism Trust, the... more
VPR Commentary Series ~ Schubart: Fragile Landscape
From: http://www.vpr.net/episode/52649/schubart-fragile-landscape/ (Host) Commentator Bill Schubart has been paying attention to a new initiative by a broad base of Vermonters to ensure that Vermont's working landscape continues to contribute to... more
VPR Commentary Series ~ Krupp: The Working Landscape
From: http://www.vpr.net/episode/52633/krupp-working-landscape/ (Host) What will the New Year hold for farming, food and forestry in the Green Mountain state?  Commentator Ron Krupp looks at the challenges and opportunities we face with our working... more
Creative Corner: 'Natural resource renaissance' rests on state's desire to invest in land
Paul Costello, VCRD's Executive Director, is thankful for Vermont's farm and forest stewards and the tremendous spirit of entrepreneurial energy they bring. The Working Landscape Partnership believes that Vermont must invest in diversification and... more
Commentary: After 50 years Vermont's environmental movement is still evolving
Everyone is familiar with the concepts that Charles Darwin’s controversial theory inspired: that all life descended from a common ancestry, that bio-diversity contributes to species’ survival and that a pattern of evolution results from a process... more
The Working Landscape Initiative on Across the Fence in October 2011
October 2011 - Watch 2 episodes with Vermont Working Landscape Council members on Across the Fence by clicking the titles below. The episodes include: 10/27/11 — Investing in Vermont’s Farm and Forest Future. Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director... more
Invest in our future
George Aiken really was the man with a plan. When he was governor, he took many of the qualities of Vermont he loved and built policy around them. Nearly all of the public policy he solidified had direct affects on farming, agriculture and Vermont’s... more
Council: State should invest in Vt.’s rural resources
By Thatcher Moats, VERMONT PRESS BUREAU MONTPELIER — A Vermont group hoping to revitalize the state’s rural economy and preserve its “working landscape” said the state should invest at least $15 million annually for grants, loans and other... more
e-Vermont on Across the Fence in October 2011
October 2011 - Watch 4 episodes with e-Vermont Partners on Across the Fence by clicking the titles below. The episodes include: 10/20/11 — Facilitating Community Dialogue through Front Porch Forum. Michael Wood-Lewis, co-founder of Front Porch... more
Video ~ Revitalizing Vermont’s Rural Economy Campaign Launch
Videos of the press event on October 18, 2011. Speakers include Roger Allbee, Christa Alexander, Peter Condaxis, and Marie Audet.
Revitalizing Vermont’s Rural Economy - Campaign Launched
JERICHO— Today, members representing the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership (VWLP) launched the Revitalizing Vermont’s Rural Economy campaign. The campaign is focused on achieving the five goals outlined in the Partnership’s Action Plan,... more
County classrooms embrace new technologies
ADDISON COUNTY — In Dawn Berno’s fourth-grade class at Addison Central School, students are learning key skills for the Internet age, ranging from principles of digital citizenship to managing a personal password, with the help of their own netbook... more
'The Blood in this Town' screens on Capitol Hill Thursday
“The Blood in This Town,” the documentary about Rutland, Vermont’s grassroots efforts to revitalize itself, travels to Capitol Hill this week for a screening and revitalization forum, bringing the plight and promise of America’s ailing small towns... more
ANRSecretary, foresters meet to review policy following Irene
BRATTLEBORO - Secretary Deb Markowitz with the Agency of Natural Resources met with Vermont’s county foresters Wednesday afternoon to report on damage following Tropical Storm Irene and provide an update with the state’s infrastructure and working... more
Report Offers Clear Actions for Vermont’s Working Landscape
MONTPELIER, VT – The Vermont Working Landscape Partnership announces the release of Investing in our Farm and Forest Future. This nonpartisan Action Plan offers five recommendations to help reinvigorate the state’s rural economy. Click HERE to read... more
Audio ~ Helen Labun Jordan on national radio
Helen Labun Jordan, Project Director for the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project, was Craig Settles guest on his Gigabit Nation radio show that aired 9/12/11. Click here for more about the show. Listen to internet radio with cjspeaks on Blog... more
Digital Wish on WVTK Radio
Heather Chirtea and Eric Bird of Digital Wish talk about their work with Addison Central School and other Vermont schools and the e-Vermont program. Click here to listen to the audio.
Animation of Vermont dairy cows being rescued during tropical storm Irene
A former Vermonter now living in Brooklyn--Isaac Littlejohn Eddy-produced this animated short for TIME.com It captures how floods from Tropical Storm Irene threatened the dairy cows at Vermont's Liberty Hill Farm, their dramatic rescue, and the... more
Costello Commentary: Vermont’s Digital Heroes
By Paul Costello The power of broadband is not in the pipe—infrastructure is but a necessary precondition—it is in the creativity of those who use it. The broadband dialogue in Vermont has been all about deficit—and rightly so. But with our focus... more
Task forces get to work on Morristown’s future
By next summer, Morristown could boast bustling storefronts, a local-foods co-op, emerging small businesses, and a recreation trail system that attracts both tourists and locals. Nearly 80 citizens are working to make those goals happen. Earlier... more
New Projects Galvanize Morrisville Leadership
Morristown community and municipal leaders are working together on four projects identified this spring to energize the economy, improve the downtown, and advance Morrisville as a dynamic place to live and do business in the future. The Vermont... more
Back to the land in Vermont … again? Some see strong signs
Monty Fischer, the energetic director of the nonprofit Center for an Agricultural Economy, is responsible for helping to spur local food initiatives in Hardwick. The center is an educational organization for budding entrepreneurs, farmers, public... more
Vermont town's blood drive, film draw notice
RUTLAND, Vt. — When documentary filmmaker Art Jones and his five-man crew set out from New York to shoot footage of a blood drive in a small Vermont city, he did it to satisfy an old friend, one of the organizers. Jones figured it might make a nice... more
e-Vermont Brings Computer Training To Towns
Joanna Cummings of the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project talks with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb about the the project and how it is helping bring computer access and training to Vermont towns. Listen to the interview. In Vermont the uphill climb to... more
State leaders hope to build "digital culture"
RANDOLPH CENTER – From Brattleboro to Newport, Vermonters came to Randolph Center Saturday to talk about how — and why — they wired up their towns with broadband. At a daylong conference called “Citizen Leadership in a Connected Age,” townspeople,... more
Opening Presentations - Citizen Leadership in a Connected Age
Matt Dunne presented at the Citizen Leadership in a Connected Age Conference, held May 21 2011 at the Vermont Technical College. The conference focused on how Internet use is expanding at the community level across Vermont to improve economic and... more
The Winning Vermont's Broadband Access Strategy
Rural America Radio is a project of the Rural Mobile & Broadband Alliance (rumbausa.com). Listen in as Helen Labun Jordan, the eVermont Project Director, shares with radio listeners across the country about how communities across Vermont are... more
Morristown residents set priorities for town's future
MORRISTOWN ~ Morristown residents want to fill empty downtown storefronts, promote local foods, make the town much friendlier to pedestrians, and support new and growing small businesses. Next month, some of Vermont’s top economic-development... more
Grant gives local libraries electronic gear
POWNAL -- Two local libraries received thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment Tuesday from the e-Vermont grant program. The Solomon Wright Public Library in Pownal and the Martha Canfield Library in Arlington had the equipment... more
Rutland Takes a Bow
RUTLAND ~ May 16, 2011. VCRD's Paul Costello hosted a morning session at the Vermont Business for Social Responsibility's annual meeting. There he pointed to Rutland's successful efforts since VCRD's creative economy program there, including the... more
e-Vermont Public Service Announcement to Air on Local Channels
This 30 second e-Vermont Public Service Announcement was produced for us by a team at the South Burlington school system. Thanks to students Riya Patel and Neel Desai and Jay Hoffman, Technology teacher at the Tuttle Middle School for coming up... more
Morristown Selects Top Four Priorities
MORRISTOWN – About 150 people turned out for the second of a series of meetings hosted by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD), and as a result the top four priorities for action in Morristown have been chosen. The Morristown community... more
Dover School to get new computers
DOVER -- After being selected to participate in a statewide effort to increase the use of technology and online capabilities, students at Dover Elementary will be issued new computers. As part of the e-Vermont Grant, awarded to Dover by the Vermont... more
e-Vermont efforts work out well for four county towns
...Fourth and fifth graders at the Fisher Elementary School received 53 notebook computers, along with personnel to train both students and teachers in their usage. Woodrow said it was more than just giving a student a laptop and letting them have... more
Video ~ Vermont's Working Landscape: Keeping it Vital
VWLP’s video, Vermont’s Working Landscape: Keeping it Vital, looks at the difficulties facing our farm and forest economy as well as the opportunities the state can pursue to reverse alarming trends. Narrated by Chris Graff with original music... more
Across the Fence episode on Vermont's Working Landscape Partnership
Click the small green play button on the player below to watch this episode of "Across the Fence" which aired 4/8/11 with Paul Costello and Roger Allbee talking about the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership initiative. The Partnership is working... more
Community visit could spark change for Morristown
Would there be enough customers to support a natural-food co-op in Morristown? How could the town draw business from the thousands of tourists who visit Stowe and Smugglers' Notch every year? Those were just a couple of the issues on the table... more
Grant could get Vt. towns connected
Poultney Elementary School students recite the history of the town while scanning the internet. At Poultney projectors outshine chalkboards and netbooks may soon replace textbooks. Watch the WCAX news story on this e-Vermont town: http://www.wcax.... more
Vt Working Landscape Council to address farm and forest economy
MONTPELIER, VT – Surveys repeatedly show Vermonters want a strong working landscape for all its scenic, cultural, economic, environmental and recreational benefits. However if alarming trends that threaten its economic viability are not reversed, it... more
A Vital Farm and Forest Economy is the Key to Our Future ~ A Commentary by Roger Allbee
In the mid 1800s Vermont was considered the bread basket of New England. Farmers in the Champlain Valley area were producing wheat, barley and oats. In other regions of the state farmers were growing tobacco, potatoes, hemp, hops, apples and other... more
Round One Netbooks Are in the Classrooms
Digital Wish has completed the netbook classroom deployment for all of our Round One schools. Watch this Vodcast narrated by Eric Bird, lead trainer and peer coach with Digital Wish, with footage from selected classroom deployments. Congratulations... more
Downtown Morrisville has vacant look
This article points out the effects of the economic downturn on Morrisville and points to ways the community is addressing the problems there, including our upcoming Community Visit process to begin in March 2011 and the e-Vermont Community... more
Stimulus funds help wire homes for Internet
Up in rural northern Vermont, it took until the 1960s to run power lines to some towns — decades after the rest of America got turned on..."Rural areas all across the country are wrestling with this, somewhat desperately," said Paul Costello,... more
Calling all surfers: e-Vermont selects Dover as an e-town
DOVER—Dover continues its propulsion into the digital age with its participation in the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project. According to VCRD e-Vermont Community Director Philip Petty, e-Vermont is a two-year federally funded initiative to help... more
Moretown awarded e-Vermont grant
The town of Moretown was recently awarded an e-Vermont grant that will result in a new website for the town, among other technological upgrades. Moretown is among 12 rural communities to receive the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project grant.Town... more
Cracking the netbooks: Arlington, Pownal students newly equipped
The holidays are over, but you wouldn’t know it sitting in the Fisher Elementary fourth and fifth grade classrooms Monday. As part of the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project, the students received new netbook computers and printers to use for the... more
Vermont's new Internet initiatives hope to boost rural communities
Announced recently, the state of Vermont, located in the Northeast corner of the United States, is best known for its snowy mountains, delicious ice cream and Phish-loving hippies. The state is making notable headway to improve its economy by... more
Calais, Hardwick chosen for E-Vt. digital project
The towns of Calais and Hardwick are joining 10 other rural communities set to receive computers and develop new digital projects through a pilot project sponsored by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. The e-Vermont Community Broadband... more
e-Vermont Gets IT Umph to 12 More Small Towns
The E-Vermont Community Broadband Project was the only applicant East of the Mississippi to be awarded federal stimulus money for rural broadband. This week the project announced both advances of 2010 and the names of 12 rural communities chosen for... more
Dover to participate in broadband project
On Tuesday, the e-Vermont Community Broadband Project selected 12 communities to participate in a rural broadband initiative. The town of Dover was among them. E-Vermont is a national broadband adoption initiative focused on rural needs. The... more
Costello Commentary: Investing in Vermont's working landscape
In early December over 300 farmers and foresters, policy and nonprofit leaders, innovative entrepreneurs, business owners and advocates, packed the State House, attracted by the prospect of a new approach to saving Vermont’s Working Landscape.... more
e-Vermont Selects 2011 Communities
MONTPELIER, VT – The e-Vermont Community Broadband Project will bring digital tools and in-depth internet training to 12 additional rural communities in 2011. The twelve, announced today, will benefit from the expertise and resources of e-Vermont’s... more
A netbook for every student
BRISTOL — For the students in Hannah Estey and Rebecca Zavadil’s fifth-grade classes, Christmas came a bit early this year. On Thursday, the Bristol Elementary School fifth-graders all received new Dell netbooks to use at school and at home through... more
The Future of Vermont’s Working Landscape is New Farmers
Blogpost by Ben Waterman of UVM's New Farmer Project. New farmers will play a lead role in preserving the integrity of Vermont’s future working landscape. On Friday I joined about 300 other stakeholders at the Vermont State House for the Summit on... more
Summit on the Future of Vermont’s Working Landscape Draws 300
The Vermont Statehouse was packed on December 10 as over 300 people gathered to celebrate Vermont’s working landscape and to offer their help in preserving it in the future. The Vermont Council of Rural Development (VCRD) convened the summit to... more
Plan seeks to preserve Vt.'s open landscape
MONTPELIER — At a summit in Montpelier this past Friday, members of the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Working Landscape Partnership laid out a plan that they hope will preserve and bolster the state’s agricultural and forestry economy. The... more
Future of Vermont study finds second wind
By KEVIN O’CONNOR, STAFF WRITER Supporters believe the Council on the Future of Vermont’s 2009 report on concerns facing the state in coming decades was ahead of its time. But that wasn’t why Governor-elect Peter Shumlin and some 300 local and... more
Report recommends “action steps” for working landscape
By Anne Galloway, vtdigger.org ~ On the face of it, the 300 or so Vermonters who gathered at the Statehouse on Friday didn’t have much in common. They represented disparate interests — state and local land trusts, environmental groups, cheese... more
Video ~ Watch "The Future of Vermont's Working Landscape Summit" held at the State House on December 10, 2010
The Vermont Council for Rural Development sponsored the State House summit of more than 300 people from agriculture, forestry, business, and public policy. The day highlighted the continuing crisis that is fragmenting the working landscape in... more
Audio: Paul Costell talking about the Working Lands Summit
WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley talks with Paul Costello about the upcoming Summit on Vermont's Working Landscape being held Friday in Montpelier. Listen to the interview.
Mouseclicks 101 at Mark Skinner Library
...Across the state, as high speed Internet access becomes more widespread and is steadily integrated into daily life, classes for seniors or those the computer revolution passed by are becoming more prevalent and popular, said Helen Labun Jordan,... more
Our Working Landscape and Our Future - Donath Commentary
In the hearts of most Vermonters, our state is first among the great places in America. Vermont is also a great, unspoiled place in the imaginations of its visitors, and in the minds of many thoughtful people around the country and the world. This... more
e-VT reaches out to Vt. communities
Part of Vermont’s charm lies in a simple image of its landscape: quaint New England villages nestled in rolling hills dotted with red barns and cows. While this scene may dominate postcards, there is more behind these picturesque illustrations. Real... more
Fairfield brand? Town dreams "big"
FAIRFIELD: Community settles on three priorities — Development of a farmer’s market, a buy-local program and ultimately a Fairfield brand were among the projects proposed when about 50 residents met Thursday night to help shape their town’s future.... more
Commentary: Time to move Vermont forward
Sue Allen, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont (former) My thoughts were on election issues as I grained the Scottish Highlands last Tuesday morning. I was reminded that Vermont farms, particularly small dairy operations, are struggling... more
Jordan Commentary: Bridging the digital divide
Bringing high speed Internet access to all of Vermont is an oft-repeated and excellent goal for the state. There are countless ways that the Internet can, and does, improve the lives of Vermonters. Businesses have a tool for connecting with... more
e-Vermont’s own FPF featured in U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report focuses on giving back in its Nov. 2010 issue, including an article examining Front Porch Forum! Thousands of Vermonters have been doing great things through FPF since 2006… kudos to all! Read more...
Vermont Towns Vie for Next Round of EVermont Broadband Assistance
Earlier this year, the federal government announced that Vermont would receive the nation’s largest per-capita share of federal stimulus money — more than $170 million — to expand high-speed Internet access to every community in the state. It was... more
Netbooks expected in Pownal
POWNAL - Technology was the topic of much of the conversation at a recent Pownal school board meeting, at which an update on new student netbooks was given, as well as information about an afterschool computer club... ...Pownal is one of 12... more
Audio ~ e-Vermont on the Mark Johnson Show, Part 2
Helen Labun Jordan, e-Vermont Program Director and Heather Chirtea, Digital Wish Director continue their conversation with Mark Johnson about the e-Vermont program and the launch of the second round application process. Listen to the audio recording.
Audio ~ e-Vermont on the Mark Johnson Show, Part 1
Helen Labun Jordan, e-Vermont Program Director and Heather Chirtea, Digital Wish Director talk with Mark Johnson about the e-Vermont program and the launch of the second round application process. Listen to the audio recording.
Press Release: e-Vermont Offers Digital Tools for Rural Towns
MONTPELIER, VT – Vermont towns can get free help in learning how to take full advantage of the Internet to create jobs, drive school innovation, provide social services, and increase civic involvement. Twelve communities are already seeing benefits... more
If you build it, will they come?
ARLINGTON - Even if it weren't an election year, the chances are excellent that residents of Vermont would be hearing a lot about broadband. ...That part of the broadband equation - getting people online and tapping into the potential applications... more
Audio ~ Front Porch Forum on Equal Time Radio
Michael Wood Lewis, founder of Front Porch Forum, explains how the simple web- or email-based social networking tool brings neighbors together, helps them organize, and saves them money or even finds them jobs. It's available for free to the 12... more
Costello Commentary: Working lands futures
Paul, VCRD Executive Director, reflects on his cross-country bike trip and the working landscape effort we are embarking on. 2010 - Early this summer I rode my bike from the west coast home to Vermont. Covering over 3,000 miles of rural America,... more
Art of Action ends in auction
For more than two years the Art of Action exhibit has toured Vermont. It's a collection of more than 100 pieces by Vermont artists. The artwork was inspired by the social, cultural and political issues facing our state. The exhibit has traveled to... more
Marlboro's renewable resurgence: Town committee focused on energy use continues to grow
MARLBORO -- The Marlboro Energy Committee is growing and expanding the scope of its work. Energized by the town's recent participation in the Vermont Council on Rural Development's Community Visit Program, more residents have recently joined the... more
Pownal selected for e-Vermont project
POWNAL, Vt. -- Pownal is one of 12 communities statewide chosen to be a part of the e-Vermont Project, which is funded by money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act through the Vermont Council on Rural Development, James Boutin, chairman... more
Pownal, Sunderland selected in e-Project
One of the first things the community will see from participation in the e-Vermont Project will be 50 Dell Netbooks assigned to the third and fourth graders at Pownal Elementary School. Pownal and Sunderland are two of 12 communities statewide... more
Middlesex selected as e-Vermont community
Middlesex has been selected as one of a dozen communities to pilot the new e-Vermont Community Broadband Project. Read more...
Rural Businesses Grow Faster Together
Rural businesses grow bigger and faster when they are closer together. In Vermont, a cluster of food-related businesses is thriving. The state needs to make sure this group of businesses has access to skilled workers. Click HERE to read the article... more
e-Cambridge hoping for broadband
Despite its name, the pilot program will not be bringing broadband to those areas of Cambridge which do not have high speed internet access. Rather, the goal is to create sufficient interest in broadband to convince one of the area's providers to... more
Poultney, West Rutland in pilot computer program
Poultney and West Rutland will get new computers and other services as part of a pilot program run by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. The Council announced earlier this month that the towns were two of the 12 chosen to participate in the... more
Cambridge an e-Community
As a culmination of a process which started more than a year ago, last week, the town of Cambridge was notified they will be one of 12 communities around the state accepted into a program designed to improve their online presence and capabilities.... more
Area towns to get digital boost
ARLINGTON/SUNDERLAND - The towns of Arlington and Sunderland have received grants from e-Vermont - a part of the Vermont Council on Rural Development - that will provide greater technical resources to the communities. The grants will be responsible... more
Farmers' Market approved for Adams Park
MANCHESTER - The Select Board unanimously approved the relocation of the Farmer's Market from the parks and recreation department to Adam's Park - the triangular park along Route 7A - on Tuesday. "I was pleasantly surprised," said manager of the... more
Grand Isle awarded e-Vermont grant
NORTH HERO — Residents of the Champlain Is lands, traditionally isolated from the mainland, this month opted for e-connectivity upgrades. Grand Isle County is one of 12 relatively isolated areas that received grants to improve Internet... more
e-Vermont grant to expand Internet in Bristol
BRISTOL — Bristol is one of 12 towns in line to receive a slice of $3.8 million to strengthen Internet access in Vermont, and community leaders are hopeful the landfall “e-Vermont” grant could boost civic engagement and e-commerce while providing... more
12 communities selected to pilot e-Vermont project
A dozen rural communities across the state will receive digital tools and in-depth training as the initial participants in the new e-Vermont Community Broadband Project. The twelve will benefit from the expertise and resources of e-Vermont’s... more
Marlboro prioritizes its future
MARLBORO -- Building a community center and improving walkability in town were the topics of choice for Marlboro residents at the Vermont Council on Rural Development Community Visit meeting. Held at the Marlboro Elementary School and attended by... more
Strengthening food system in Vermont
Last year, the Legislature established the Farm to Plate (F2P) Initiative, which asked the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) to do a comprehensive inventory of the food-related assets and resources in the state including producers, processors,... more
Marlboro in second phase of discussions of future
MARLBORO -- Entering the second phase of its Community Visit Program in Marlboro, the Council on Rural Development’s community team will meet again with residents and begin to take some first steps toward action on April 29. The community visit is... more
Digital divide targeted in e-Vermont project
Unlike Google’s lottery-like “Fiber to the Communities” project, the e-Vermont initiative doesn’t promise super-high-speed Internet to every home. But e-Vermont will deliver: This summer, 12 rural communities will receive financial and technical... more
Change is a challenge
As the Legislature undertook its work this year, it faced the daunting challenge of filling a $154 million budget gap, and yet legislative leaders showed a curious lack of urgency or concern. One of the reasons was that many of the tough decisions... more
Residents brainstorm for a new economy
The public has spoken on the future of the city's creative economy. It will include a clearly-defined identity for Rutland and a railroad or children's museum, the result of a vote by about 100 locals Wednesday night after a three-hour public forum... more
Rutland To Discuss 'Creative Economy'
(Host) Rutland residents will get a chance to talk about what they'd like to see happen in the city Wednesday night at a public forum sponsored by Rutland's Creative Economy. As VPR's Nina Keck reports, organizers are hoping for a big turnout... more
$2.5 million Stimulus Grant Launches e-Vermont: the Community Broadband Project
MONTPELIER, VT – A $2.5 million federal Stimulus Grant from the federal Agency of Commerce, announced today, completes the funding to launch the $3.8 million e-Vermont Community Broadband Project. This major campaign to stimulate broadband use in 24... more
Secretary Locke announces recovery act investments to expand broadband internet access and spur economic growth
WASHINGTON – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced 10 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare across the... more
Community building time
Lest anyone think all is doom and gloom in Rutland – and between the economy and the state of affairs at the south end of Wales Street, there are plenty of those stories in the city these days – along come the good folks at the Creative Economy to... more
The importance of a working landscape
By ROGER ALLBEE There has been a lot of discussion recently about Vermont's working landscape. We know, for example, that 97 percent of Vermonter's say they want a working landscape for their state in the future, according to the survey... more
Internet Contest Announced
BARTON: A contest to encourage Northeast Kingdom entrepreneurs and business owners to use the Internet was launched here Thursday, November 5, about two years before the state expects to see broadband availability across Vermont. Paul Costello,... more
A taxing question: Futurists ask: Can Vermonters have it all
The state's $6 billion annual budget provides taxpayers with everything from snowplowing to subsidized health insurance. Seemingly the only thing that's missing is enough money to fund it. "The socially progressive policies that help support those... more
State turns to stimulus money for Internet upgrade
Vermont's efforts to attract and retain businesses reliant on instantaneous communication weren't helped by a recent report indicating that average Internet download speeds in the state are among the pokiest in the country. The latest edition of... more
Can you hear me now? Some worry that 'e-state' will disconnect communities
By KEVIN O'CONNOR They inspire poets and painters, campers and climbers, scientists and souls yearning to touch the sky. Who doesn't love the Green Mountains? Vermonters who view them as the state's biggest barrier to up-to-date... more
Education chief to talk with ANwSU schools
VERGENNES — When Vermont Commissioner of Education Armando Vilaseca visits Vergennes this week, he will discuss two issues the Vermont Board of Education has identified as critical — one in which local officials said Vergennes Union High School is... more
McClaughry Commentary: Imagining Vermont
Submitted by John McClaughry Four months ago the Council on the Future of Vermont released its report, Imagining Vermont: Values and Vision for the Future. The report culminated an 18‐month, $400,000 process, during which some four thousand... more
Higher ed: School costs are up — but so are student gains
By KEVIN O’CONNOR Is Vermont’s ongoing fight over how to fund schools overshadowing gains in its classrooms? When the Council on the Future of Vermont asked residents about their most pressing concerns, it heard fury about property taxes for... more
Balance point
A statewide discussion among Vermonters about the environment and the economy has shown that the quality of the environment — the rural landscape of woods, farms, lakes, rivers — is a value deeply embedded in the identity and hopes of Vermonters.... more
Paving paradise? Futurists question direction of Vt. development
By KEVIN O'CONNOR Staff Writer Is there an answer to the decades-long question of how to balance the state's environment and economy through land-use planning? "In testimony about land use and development, Vermonters focused on their desire for... more
Vermont Regional Food Centers Collaborative: Advancing Food Systems through Learning, Planning and Action
This 2009 platform paper outlines the challenges, vision, goals, and workplan in support Vermont farms and local agriculture economies with contact information of the collaborative members and their service areas. Read the report
Residents in charge of state's future
What Vermonters are most concerned about is universal -- preserving the working landscape, fortifying the unity of their communities, retaining the Vermont "brand," creating local energy sources, making sure their children get the best education,... more
Council studies Vermont’s priorities
After two years spent interviewing Vermonters young and old, blue collar and white, the Council on the Future of Vermont shared its findings on the hopes, aspirations and visions for the state as voiced by nearly 4,000 people who know it best. The... more
Futurists worry that Vermont farms have become too reliant on milk
By KEVIN O'CONNOR Staff Writer The Council on the Future of Vermont knows the state treasures its farms and forests. So why is it asking if there's too much of a good thing? Surveying almost 4,000 experts and everyday folk at more than 100... more
Stevens Commentary: Future of Agriculture
WILL STEVENS As Vermonters, do we want to live in a theme park - full of characters we've heard of but never met? Or would we rather engage, through agricultural activity, with our families, our neighbors, and our communities in meaningful ways? As... more
A rich future? Public wants plan for Vermont economy
By KEVIN O'CONNOR, Times Argus Staff Writer Long before last autumn's financial fall, the Council on the Future of Vermont found stunning agreement on residents' top concern: the economy. The only thing more surprising: People's worry over a... more
Howard Dean Commentary: Keep Vermont on track
By HOWARD DEAN Severe national recession has gripped our state and resulted in a major reduction to state budget revenues. Speaking from experience, I understand the difficult choices our leaders must make to balance the budget. The Legislature has... more
Funding may slow Internet expansion
With the help of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - otherwise known as the Obama stimulus package - all Vermonters might soon have access to highspeed broadband. The state plans on applying for at least $50 million for broadband expansion... more
Study: Bright future for Vermont
In 20 years, Vermont will be more affordable, more energy self-sufficient, have better public transportation and will offer more economic opportunity. At least that's the vision set out in a new report on the state's future. After 18 months of... more
Leaders develop priorities for Vermont’s future
(Host) More than 500 Vermont leaders met at the University of Vermont on Monday to develop priorities for the future of the state. The conference was the final part of a two-year study looking at whether Vermonters' values are reflected in state... more
Summit starts search for state's future
BURLINGTON – Vermont, said Paul Bruhn of the state's Preservation Trust, "is a great place for the most part — and for the moment. But will we increasingly become Anywhere, USA?" Gather 500 leaders for a Summit on the Future of Vermont and you might... more
The ‘Future of Vermont’ could be history
A Summit on the Future of Vermont is scheduled for May 11 at the University of Vermont. The summit is the final step in a nearly two year long effort by the Vermont Council on Rural Development to take the temperature of today’s Vermont and plan for... more
‘Imagining Vermont’ Can state’s future bring freedom and unity?
By KEVIN O’CONNOR Staff Writer Surveying residents from northernmost Alburgh to southernmost Vernon, the Council on the Future of Vermont found on-the-spot agreement: Everyone loves the state. They just differ on same-sex marriage. And issues of... more
Gold Commentary: Vermont's future starts today
STEVE GOLD COMMENTARY ~ Times are tough and news is bleak. One response is to bury our heads in today's details and sit on our hands in fear of tomorrow. While an appealing approach for some, inaction won't solve our current problems or bring us any... more
Grant to boost Middlebury waterfalls plan
A PLAN TO improve pedestrian access to, and enjoyment of, the Otter Creek Falls in downtown Middlebury received a major boost on Thursday with the receipt of a $240,000 federal grant. ...The project was one of the priorities identified in the... more
Ackland Commentary: Being part of Vermont's and The Valley's future
By Bob Ackland Is The Valley a picture of Vermont? If you want to know for sure take the time to hear or read the just released findings of the Council on the Future of Vermont (CFV). As a board member of the Vermont Council on Rural Development (... more
Hanna Commentary: Acting in leadership
(HOST) Commentator Cheryl Hanna is a professor at Vermont Law School and a member of the Council for the Future of Vermont. She's been thinking about Vermont's potential to be a leader in these turbulent times. (HANNA) I know that for many... more
The Vermont identity
Vermonters have reverence for the state's rural landscape, and they hope for economic development that will provide jobs and housing for the future. They cherish their small communities and value their ability to participate, and they cherish the... more
Group readies forum results
As Vermont evolves and the economic climate changes, it seems the need for a broad assessment of the state, along the values of the people living here, crops up periodically. The Council on the Future of Vermont was created by the Vermont Council... more
Artful Dodger
...It was a lot of words, but the message was simple: At a time when public funding for necessities such as roads and schools is imperiled, public arts funding could simply cease to exist. When the recession chopping block comes out, programs that... more
What do today's state trends say about tomorrow?
The nonpartisan Council on the Future of Vermont made news last week by releasing a report warning that the state's lack of diversity may endanger its growth. Noting that dairy totals nearly 80 percent of agricultural sales, for example, the study... more
Study notes Vt. trends over two decades
COLCHESTER -- Agriculture in Vermont depends more heavily on a single commodity -- dairy -- than in any other state. Yet despite efforts to diversify the farm sector, sales of most nondairy products have remained relatively flat since 1991. These... more
Challenges lie ahead for Vermont, new report warns
Vermont takes pride in its dairy farms and a population that rates high in national health rankings. And that could be a problem, the Council on the Future of Vermont warns. The nonpartisan study group has released a new report, "Vermont in... more
Report studies trends shaping Vermont’s future
(Host) The Council on the Future of Vermont was formed two years ago to help the state chart a course for the next two decades. And now two St. Michael's College professors have identified the most important trends that are shaping that future.... more
Study: Vt. Tourism Stagnant
Shelburne Museum is one of Vermont's top tourist attractions. Upwards of 110,000 people visit every year from states across the country. But only half of all visitors to the museum are out of staters. "And that has shifted in the last 20 years... more
Agriculture Takes Center Stage in Montpelier
Agriculture took center stage in Montpelier Wednesday. The Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council told lawmakers about its top issues for the session. They include promoting local food and generating energy on farms. The council is a partnership... more
State grant to fund Killington arts center study
Courtesy of a $25,000 Vermont Community Development Planning Grant awarded to the town, a bid will go out to contractors in February to do a preliminary feasibility study of a center, to determine if there's a demand for one in the town and if the... more
Business, Corporate Support Help Keep Arts Groups Afloat
...“In Vermont, the creative economy isn’t just about five percent of the economy engaged in culture or crafts such as bookbinding,” said Costello. “In Vermont, the story of the creative economy is really the story of Bellows Falls, Brandon and... more
Bellows Falls boosters honored
One is an artist and the other a planner and historian. Together they played pivotal roles in the current renaissance of Bellows Falls and both were honored recently for their work by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Artist Robert McBride... more
Meeting focusses on Vermont's future
What will Vermont look like in the next 20, 30 or 40 years? The Council on the Future of Vermont will be in Brattleboro Thursday night to ask that very question. The Council wants to know how Windham County feel about where the state is now and... more
Maintaining balance
For more than a year, the Council on the Future of Vermont (CFV) has been going around the state listening to Vermonters and striking up a dialogue on where we are, where we are going and the forces that will shape our future. The Windham County... more
Editorial: Working landscape for past and present
We Vermonters like our beautiful state, but think it is getting harder to afford to live here. The Council on the Future of Vermont asked hundreds of Vermonters about their values and concerns and that's what they said. Among values, "I value the... more
Poll says Vermonters value landscape, community
A new poll confirms some long-held assumptions about Vermonters. They cherish the state's working landscape ... its sense of community... and its independence. But the poll also shows that people worry that the state faces some challenges that... more
Shaping the future through art
Lyman Orton was putting together a 2006 art exhibition from his private collection, "Lost Vermont Images," when the work inspired him to look in another direction: Not back at the way Vermont was -- but forward to what it might be...The Vermont... more
Survey Tries to Pin Down Vermont Values
Politicians, business leaders, and the public often talk about "Vermont values." But what exactly are they? A new survey released Monday attempts to quantify those in a scientific way. "The question is what are Vermonters' common values?" asked... more
Rising Cost of Living a Major Concern
Researchers at the University of Vermont released a survey Monday showing many residents share a common vision of their state ... Virtually all of those responding - 97 percent - said they value Vermont's "working landscape and its heritage" - a... more
Burlington CFV Forums
For 45 seconds, no one in the small crowd seated in City Hall's Contois Auditorium clamored for a turn at the microphone Thursday evening. Paul Costello, director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, didn't look surprised. He repeated the... more
Chris Graff Commentary
Speaking in 1931 to the Vermont Commission on Country Life, Vermont Supreme Court Justice Wendell Stafford said, "Of Vermont have many books been written, many pictures painted, many songs sung. Yet who shall say that he has ever really seen Vermont... more
Steve Delany Commentary: Deciding Our Future
For the first time in a generation Vermonters are being asked to help define what the state's future should be. The Council on the Future of Vermont is nearing the end of a two-year process of inquiry, asking people in each county what challenges... more
Bixby upgrades tech
VERGENNES — The eVermont grant that helped bring free wifi to downtown Vergennes has also benefited the Bixby Free Memorial Library inside its walls, too. The eVermont grant paid for several upgrades at the Bixby, including the purchase of laptops,... more