Pandemic Small Business Navigator Available

Call Our Small Business Navigator!

In response to the extreme stress and economic disruption small businesses are experiencing, a new temporary service at Vital Communities to support small businesses is available. The Pandemic Small Business Navigator can answer questions and connect businesses with resources related to the impacts of the pandemic on their small business. Denise Anderson, an experienced business advisor with expertise in labor management, has joined Vital Communities until June 30 to provide free consultation and advising services.  Denise will work with business owners to assess the unique needs of your small business, provide assistance and connection to resources, and help you plan your next steps.

The Navigator can help you with:

● Navigating federal relief programs (Small Business Administration–PPP and EIDL)
● Crisis business planning
● Financial planning/ cash flow management
● Labor management/human resources
● Employee return to work offers and unemployment payments
● Seeking alternate market channels
● Shifting to online/retail sales
● Marketing & communications
● Connecting health & wellbeing resources in the work environment

All Upper Valley-based small businesses are eligible for this free service. Email Denise Anderson – with your questions or to set up a consultation.

Pandemic Small Business Navigator services are meant to help businesses navigate immediate
challenges, stabilize, and plan next steps to build a foundation for recovery.  Denise may make referrals
to other permanent programs or consultants for additional services depending on specific needs. Long-
term business advising is also available through the Grafton Regional Development Corporation,
Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation, and partners at the Small Business Development
Centers in both New Hampshire and Vermont.

Please visit our COVID-19 Resources page for links to guidance, tools, and additional resources.

 

 

Climate & Community Resilience Spring Series

Climate and Community Resilience: Lessons from the Soil

Spring Community Webinar Series to Unpack What Creating Our Future Looks Like

What is good for the soil is good for our communities. Deep healthy soil governs flood resilience, clean water, strong local economies, and a myriad of ecological functions. Lessons from the soil–such as interdependence, biodiversity, and resource cycling–can help us to understand the past and create the future for the Upper Valley. In these times of great ecological, social,  and economic transformation, this series of six programs will unpack the science of whole systems landscape function, explore how land and society change together, and offer practical ways to engage with the land around you for community resilience and social justice. This series aims to expand the base of active “doers” who work together to build a more livable, resilient region and planet. Find detailed information about content at Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition!

FREE and open to all. Registration encouraged.

REGISTER HERE

As a precaution to limit the spread of the Coronavirus and to safeguard the health and well-being of everyone, the series will be modified to a webinar format.

Strengthening community and providing space for people to connect and learn together has suddenly become a more urgent need. We need each other now more than ever. To increase accessibility and safety we will plan to host the entire series in webinar format using Zoom. When it becomes safe again to commune together publicly we will switch back to in-person gatherings. We will keep everyone informed to changes as the uncertain future unfolds. Please register to receive updates.

You will need to download Zoom in order to participate.

Earth’s Cycles: Foundations of Energy and Matter
Sunday, March 22, 3:30-6 pm

Framing the entire series, this event introduces cycles of energy and matter that create a livable planet. The soil health principles provide a lens to understand how systems work together and to identify points of intervention where changes have been – and can be – made to influence climate and ecology. 

Historical Landscape: Learning from the Past
Sunday, April 5, 3:30-6 pm

Take a deep dive into the history of the Upper Valley to understand its watersheds, landscapes, climates, and inhabitants – and how they affect each other. Use the lessons of the past to envision a just future. 

Here and Now: Human Impacts
Monday, April 13, 5:30-8 pm

The world today has been shaped by human decisions to rearrange Earth’s systems. Learn about how and why the world exists in its current unstable state and explore possibilities to make better decisions in the future.

Systems Collapse: Climate and Ecological Crisis
Sunday, April 26, 3:30-6 pm

The environment is destabilizing, along with societies, economies, and cultures. Understand the collapse through various lenses to explore adaptation and avoid false solutions. 

Revolutionary Resilience: Creating a Different Future
Monday, May 4, 5:30-8 pm

With the understanding of the impacts of human decisions for the planet, explore the intersections of justice, land, and life. Work together to envision and create “what could be” in terms of a just future in the Upper Valley and beyond.

Fertile Ground: Reclaiming Power and Possibility
Sunday, May 17, 3:30-6 pm

This culminating event will bring us together on a local farm to reflect on the power of natural systems and community collaboration. Through discussion, activities and sharing with a team of change-makers and organizations from the region, explore what already exists and help realize next steps for the Upper Valley.

What is good for the soil is good for our communities. Deep healthy soil governs flood resilience, clean water, strong local economies, and a myriad of ecological functions. Lessons from the soil–such as interdependence, biodiversity, and resource cycling–can help us to understand the past and create the future for the Upper Valley. In these times of great ecological, social,  and economic transformation, this series of six programs will unpack the science of whole systems landscape function, explore how land and society change together, and offer practical ways to engage with the land around you for community resilience and social justice. 

This series will introduce the functions of Earth’s energy, water, carbon, and nutrient cycles. It will center lived experiences, sometimes difficult truths, and social and economic justice. Attendees will collaborate with various presenters and facilitators to explore information about the land and inhabitants in the Upper Valley at different periods throughout time – the past, present, and future. 

The format encourages an approach of thinking in whole systems rather than parts, of listening over speaking, of curiosity over knowing, and of participatory learning. A desired outcome is that people will take new ideas, new understandings, new questions, and new energies forward into the community to create positive change. This series aims to expand the base of active “doers” who work together toward a more livable, resilient region and planet.

Learn more at Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition!

Flavors of the Valley Vendor Registration is Open!

Registration is open for the 19th annual Flavors of the Valley, the Upper Valley’s premier local food tasting expo. With 50+ vendors and more than 800 attendees, Flavors is a valuable marketing opportunity for farms and food businesses looking to expand their sales base.

Flavors attendees come to the event because they want to support local farms and food businesses. Be part of a fun marketing event and connect to new customers and the community.

Register today! Early-bird discount rates apply through February 17, 2020. Apply for a mini-grant to reduce your vending costs!

Learn more about being a vendor at Flavors of the Valley here.

Registration deadline is March 15. We cannot guarantee table choice or inclusion in promotional outreach materials after this date.

Flavors of the Valley 2014 (48) Flavors-2015-

Support TLC Campaigns Now!

Invest in your community and contribute to campaigns today!

Visit the TLC Upper Valley campaign page

The Local Crowd (TLC) Upper Valley is a community-based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations, and initiatives that build community and economy. Learn about and contribute to one or more of the  exciting project below! Campaigns will be running through December 20.

     

Whaleback Base Lodge Energy Efficiency Updates, Enfield

You might not know this, but Whaleback is run by The Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation (UVSSF), a nonprofit entity, with the mission to support and enhance an affordable, healthy, and sustainable snow sports experience in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont. UVSSF members first came together in the spring of 2013 on the heels of Whaleback Mountain LLC shuttering operations. Like our fellow residents, we recognize the importance of Whaleback as a community asset.

Whaleback needs to perform repairs on the base lodge and want to invest in energy conservation practices. Our energy efficiency goals will help us become more environmentally friendly, improve comfort within the lodge, and to save money!

Support Whaleback Here!

 

Closing the Food Waste Loop with Willow Tree Community Compost, White River Junction

Our mission is to build community while creating compost. Similar to how a willow branch, when stuck in the ground, will grow into a tree, I’m hoping that each Willow Tree Community Compost member will become more strongly rooted in the community and share in a more sustainable lifestyle. The positive environmental impact of diverting waste from the landfill, reducing CO2 emissions and creating a nutrient-rich soil amendment for gardens, will go hand in hand with creating connections in the community. I envision gatherings and events that will bring members together and building business partnerships that benefit all parties. As we grow, we will also be creating local, green jobs.

To expand our operation and be able to serve more of our community, we need to grow! We need buckets, infrastructure, and a trailer to deliver the food waste to Sunrise Farm!

Support Willow Tree Here!

Close the Loop with Compost at Sunrise Farm, White River Junction

Sunrise Farm in White River Junction is creating an on-farm compost system that will take in food waste from the community and transform it into compost that will be incorporated into the farm’s soil to grow more vegetables that further nourish the community. Sunrise is working to build the physical infrastructure needed to compost food scraps from the community to build healthy soil on the farm, divert food waste from the landfill, and strengthen the connections between the farm and community.

Support Sunrise Farm Here!

Food for Thought: The Growing Peace Project, Topsham

We are a peacemaking, social justice, and youth activism educational nonprofit in Topsham, Vermont. Our youth collaborate in cross school teams to develop and implement action plans that address community issues they care about including food insecurity. We have a free food teaching garden that has been serving our food insecure neighbors for the past nine years.

We’re raising funds to support our Food For Thought free food teaching garden and youth activism programs. Funds raised will allow us to purchase equipment, hire help, add more workshops, and partner with local farms.

Support The Growing Peace Project Here!

Mascoma Friends Feeding Friends Expansion, Canaan

The Friends of Mascoma Foundation is committed to combatting food insecurity in the Mascoma Valley Regional School District (MVRSD) through the Friends Feeding Friends program. The program operates two food pantries in Canaan and in Enfield, plus is the primary source of food and personal hygiene items for the pantry located inside Mascoma Valley Regional High School. Pantry shoppers can come once a week for a three-day supply of food. We have refrigeration, so we focus on fresh produce, meats and dairy products as well as non-perishables. We also supply food for snacks, backpacks, family food boxes as needed and other pantry items to the elementary and middle schools. 

For the past several years a generous private donor has allowed us to use their vehicles, including a van and trailer, for food distribution. Use of these vehicles is essential to our Friends Feeding Friends program and it’s time for us to get our own wheels!

Support Friends Feeding Foodie Here!

 

Puppy Junction, White River Junction


The Student Rescue Project, Inc. is a Vermont 501(c)(3) that focuses on providing hands-on experiences in dog rescue for students. We believe that, if we’re able to nurture the empathy that young people have for animals, we can to develop a life-long dedication to animal welfare. At this time, we’re in the process of creating an adoption, volunteer and education center in White River Junction called Puppy Junction. This will serve as a new home-base for our organization and be a community space for dog-lovers. 

This funding campaign will be launching soon—please check back!

 

Celebrate Our Independents!

July is a time to celebrate not only our independence as a nation but the entrepreneurial spirit and freedom that is embodied by our local and independent businesses. Independents Week is an annual opportunity to recognize the many valuable contributions our Upper Valley local businesses make to our communities including creating good jobs, supporting area nonprofits, and keeping our communities unique and interesting.

With the arrival of July, independence is top of mind – but are independents? The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) will celebrate Independents Weekduring July 1 through July 7, in order to make America’s independents known. Small and locally owned businesses, Main Street organizations and consumers can participate by declaring their independence and supporting their independents.

Think Local First this week and choose the many locally owned businesses (our friends & neighbors) that count on us to keep our economy and communities strong! Browse Local First businesses by category here or look for the logo when you are shopping for all your July 4 holiday supplies!

 

Cover photo: Molly Drummond

 

Think Local First and Save!

Local and independent businesses bring value to our communities in many ways: preserving community character, creating stable jobs, supporting area organizations and nonprofits, and strengthening our local economy by keeping our dollars in the Upper Valley. So, there are lots of reasons to think Local First this holiday season, and here’s another: deals! Below is a list of events and special offerings from Local First Alliance member to help you get a great deal while you keep your dollars where your heart is this season – in the Upper Valley!

LaValley Building Supply – Offering a 10% bonus LaValley gift card with any purchase of a LaValley Gift Card $50 or more (through Dec. 24).

West Lebanon Feed & Supply – Special Gift Card promotion begins 11/23.

Great Eastern Radio – Hot 97.5 hosting SANTA PAWS with our community business partner West Lebanon Feed and Supply. Pet Photos with Santa, and a portion of the proceeds to benefit area dog parks and humane society’s. December 8 and 9 at West Lebanon Feed & Supply.

Q106 and 923 GXL to host a day long Text “HAVEN” virtual Food Drive November 30 to support the Upper Valley Haven Food Shelf.  Hourly local business partners in the community will put challenges in as well to encourage participation.

KIXX will have an on air promotional schedule for the Annual David’s House on line Auction Friday December 8th

 

Farm-Way –  Many holiday specials including these brands: Pandora, Vera Bradley, Baggillini, LeCreuset, and Big Green Egg.

     

LISTEN Community Services – Holiday sale  Dec. 7- 25. All LISTEN Thrift Store purchases support our local community programs including the Holiday Basket Program.

 

Three Tomatoes Trattoria – Send a Three Tomatoes Gift Card for a wedding, anniversary, birthday, graduation, holiday, congratulations or just because.

To celebrate our 28th Anniversary, We’re offering you 28% more! Purchase $500 in gift cards between November 15 and December 24 and receive $140 in an additional gift card. Can be used towards today’s check!A portion of proceeds will be donated to local non-profits.

Free Pie Day: Friday, December 21 – Come in and celebrate our anniversary of becoming 100% Employee-Owned with a free slice of local pie!

Details at Gardner’s Supply.

 

Search for other Local First Alliance members by category.

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.

EPA Recognizes Hanover Co-op Food Stores with National Award

Congratulations to The Co-op Food Stores! 

EPA Recognizes Supermarkets Across America for Smart Refrigerant Management

WASHINGTON — Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized 13 organizations in the supermarket industry for their achievements in protecting human health and the environment under its GreenChill Partnership Program. The GreenChill Partnership works with food retailers to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer by supporting a transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants, lowering charge sizes and eliminating leaks, and adopting green refrigeration technologies and best environmental practices.

For the second straight year, the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society’s four food stores earn the environmental Protection Agency’s award for Most Improved Emissions Rate.

Ed Fox, general manager of the Hanover Co-op Food Stores put the award in context of the grocery industry. “For the Hanover Co-op, we may be the nation’s second largest food cooperative, but we’re tiny compared to the largest grocery chains in the world. So it is especially noteworthy to earn such an award along with mammoth retailers.”  Fox also commended City Market (Onion River Co-op), in Burlington, Vermont for its top honors for Best Corporate Emissions Rate, an award won by the Hanover Co-op last year. “It’s so great to see food cooperatives recognized for their long-standing work on issues of environmental responsibility.”

Read more here.

Market-Fresh Cooking Demos

Love to shop at the farmers’ market, and want to learn a new tip or recipe for cooking with all the great produce that is available this month?

Join local chef Holly Pierce for weekly cooking demos at the Hanover and Greater Falls Farmers’ Markets during the month of September!

Shop with Holly as she visits the market vendors to select ingredients from the bounty of local food available this time of year.  Then watch her create a dish that you get to sample. She’ll share the recipe as she goes and have other recipes to share that highlight enjoying the abundance of the Upper Valley late summer harvest!

Wednesdays at the Hanover Area Farmers’ Market from 3-6 pm
September 5, 12, 19, 26

Fridays in Bellows Falls at the Greater Falls Farmers’ Market from 3-7 pm
September 7, 14, 21, 28

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