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Working Lands In the News

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
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
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
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
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
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 ~ 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
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
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
‘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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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: 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 ~ 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.
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
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.
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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