Crossroad Farm is the BOM!

Crossroad Farm is the Local First Alliance November Business of the Month and to celebrate they are raffling off all the fixing for a Thanksgiving feast – a Misty Knoll turkey and basket of local veggies!

Visit the stand on Route 5 in Norwich, congratulate them for being the BOM,
and enter for a chance to win your holiday meal!

For more than 35 years Crossroad Farm has been growing food for our community! The farm was started by Tim and Janet Taylor on 10 acres with just family labor. They now have grown to over 40 acres with 20+ employees. You can find their produce in our community at their two farm stands, Post Mills and Norwich, the Co-op Food Stores, and a variety of local restaurants.  At their Norwich farm stand, Crossroad also sources many fruits and veggies from other area farms – increasing the diversity of locally available produce while strengthening and expanding our food economy!

Commitment to Community
Crossroad Farm’s fruits and vegetables are sold within a 40 mile radius from the farm to establishments that include local restaurants, food markets, summer camps, and schools. Crossroad also offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, based on a pre-paid share system available at both of their farm stands! Sign ups could still be made for the month of November so you can fill your holiday table with locally grown produce from this Local First Alliance member. The 2019 CSA season will open mid-January.

For seven months of the year, they harvest and market seasonal produce, all to the local Upper Valley community. This includes donations to local food shelves, schools, Willing Hands, and The Upper Valley Haven with the commitment to give back to the community. Willing Hands visits the Norwich stand daily to pick up vegetable seconds, while gleaners visit the farm in Post Mills frequently to harvest thousands of pounds  of produce for donation.

Crossroad encourages everyone to “think local” through eating, purchasing, and hiring locally. Over the last 35 years the farm has hired over a hundred local high school students from Thetford, Rivendell and Sharon Academies, as well as Hanover, Chelsea, and Oxbow High Schools.

Show Your Love of Local this Season
The winter holidays are a time for giving gifts and eating meals with friends and family. In other words, a perfect time to add a little more local to your shopping! When planning your gift list or holiday meals this year, commit to buy just a few more things from local vendors. Ten more things? Ten dollars worth of food? Ten percent of your budget? Whatever you decide, rest assured those dollars are also a holiday gift to your neighbors, keeping our downtowns alive, businesses open, and farms thriving. Find more places to shop for your holiday table and gifts in the Local First Alliance Directory and the Valley Food & Farm Online Guide.

Bringing ‘Visions of a Better World’ to Your Community

Join Vital Communities for a community discussion on “Visions of a Better World: Social Movements for Transformation.” We will consider how millions of people across the U.S. and around the world, stirred by visions of a better world, are daring to rethink and reinvent institutions on local, regional, national and international levels. Often unnoticed by the mainstream media, they are establishing new possibilities in the shadow of dysfunctional and collapsing systems.


Historian/educator Ron Miller, coordinator of the Woodstock Learning Lab, provides an overview of these diverse new visions, including movements and concepts such as the “new economy,” agroecology, permaculture, transition towns, food sovereignty, relocalization, reclaiming the commons, Slow Food and Slow Money, and others. This presentation and conversation will discuss the key concepts, leading thinkers, and origins of these evolutionary trends.

Join us for a vital dialogue that digs into the contemporary shifting landscape of our time. Thursday November 8, 5:30–7:30 pm at Vital Communities, White River Junction.

Business Leaders Housing Breakfast

We had a packed house at the Fall Business Leaders Housing Breakfast, with more than 180 community members registered to attend.

We gained insights on the housing challenges facing the Upper Valley from Dartmouth College geographer Garrett Dash Nelson, plus got an update on the region’s real estate market from Buff McLaughry of Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty and Lynne LaBombard of Housing Solutions Real Estate. Find the morning’s presentations on our Workforce Housing page, and contact Mike Kiess (Michael@VitalCommunities.org) for more information.

Donuts & Hogwarts: A Transit Travel Training Case Study

One thing a group of Millennial cartoonists doesn’t need is help using a smartphone app – especially an intuitive one that shows the real-time location of buses in the rural transit system, Advance Transit. No, a lack of tech savvy is not the barrier keeping these students off the bus. It’s more like,

“Cool, there’s an app, but how do I know the name of the bus stop out front?”
“Does the bus go to the theater where Black Panther is playing?”
“I’m just nervous to try the bus—what if it doesn’t show up?” 

Over Vital Communities’ two-year partnership with Advance Transit to promote their real-time bus system, we’ve learned that it often takes a little extra to get people confidently riding transit. “Travel training,” which traditionally only serves people who need special assistance, can be valuable to almost anyone.

Car ownership is low among the several dozen students at the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in downtown White River Junction—a Master of Fine Arts program in sequential art. The school has consistently promoted Advance Transit as a way to explore the Upper Valley. But in talking to several alums, we discovered that many CCS students were hesitant to try the free bus, and tended to stay close to campus.

We decided to change this by partnering with a recent graduate now employed by the school –who had never been on Advance Transit either but was eager to help. He distributed a simple graphic flyer (right and below) to students that promised a Friday afternoon bus trip to neighboring Hanover to get donuts from famed Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery and visit Dartmouth’s “Hogwarts-esque” Baker Library.

On a sunny February day, I met a dozen students and alums in the school’s lobby. I prompted them to download Advance Transit’s real-time app and gave them a bus system overview—how to find the bus stops, which routes run where, etc. Then we walked around the block to the bus stop and took the 15 minute trip from White River Junction to Hanover, New Hampshire.

Once in Hanover, we picked up an overstuffed bakery box of assorted donuts from Lou’s and walked across the Green to Baker Library. The students had a great time

digging into the comics and graphic novel section of the library “stacks” and then tiptoeing through the ornate Tower Room.

Many had never been to Baker before—even though CCS maintains a library card there for its students. But now this vast resource is only a short bus ride away.

Aside from giving a few pointers, I didn’t have to do much after the students boarded the bus in White River. That’s just it. Simply getting them on the bus that first time undid the majority of their concerns about the bus. After all, they had watched the bus’s movement on the real-time app while they waited at the bus stop, and then a knowledgeable and friendly driver picked them up on time and took them to Hanover, as promised. Sure, they still had to learn their way around town and get on the right bus, but the bus was now a known and trusted entity. Perhaps Robyn, an alum, put it best: “I just needed someone who knew the system to go with me the first time.” And remembering the impact of a coworker first taking me on Advance Transit almost two decades ago, I think she’s right.

– Bethany Fleishman, Transportation Program Manager at Vital Communities/Upper Valley Transportation Management Association