Join Us: Open House December 6!

Our annual Open House is one of our favorite events of the year—a chance to catch up with old friends of Vital Communities, make welcome new connections, and celebrate positive change in the Upper Valley over the past year. It’s also part of the biggest First Friday in White River Junction, so there’s lots to see and do all evening! Join us:

Vital Communities Open House
Friday, December 6, 2019
5:30-7:30 pm
The Engine Room
188 South Main St., White River Junction

Followed by a dance party with livemixkings’ DjSean at 7:30
—FREE if you’ve attended Open House, or $5 at the door!

We’ll have remarks at 6 pm, our Volunteer of the Year and Super Quest Grand Prize awards, and wine and abundant refreshments from great local businesses.

Plus, come for the open house and stay for the music! livemixkings’ DjSean will spin dance tunes from 7:30–11 pm, so bring your dancing shoes! The show is free to Open House attendees or $5 at the door if you come at 7:30 or after.

PRE-REGISTER TODAY and we’ll have your nametag ready at the door!

We hope to see you there!

Nov. 19 Green Real Estate Crash Course

Vital Communities is offering its popular Green Real Estate Crash Course again on Tuesday, November 19, at Service Credit Union, just off I-89 in Lebanon, NH. Earn 3 elective credits in VT and NH.

Register online at vitalcommunities.org/greenrealestate

This is NOT your average CE course.
Designed with input from Upper Valley Realtors®, Vital Communities, and Efficiency Vermont, this course is fun, practical, and hands-on. The Green Real Estate Crash Course and its accompanying resources expertly boil down the topic of energy efficiency to give you exactly what you NEED to know to help your clients, and no more!

What’s Covered:

 Why “Green” matters in real estate |  Home energy efficiency 101
 Working with green buyers |  Listing green homes |  MLS green fields
 Appraisal Institute Green Addendum |  Hands-on examples

Instructors: 

Lynne LaBombard, Green Designated Realtor® and licensed instructor

Sarah Brock, Energy Program Manager at Vital Communities

Learn more and explore free online resources at vitalcommunities.org/greenrealestate

November Course Details

WHEN: Tuesday, November 19, 9 am-12:15 pm

  • 8:30-8:55 am | Registration and Light Continental Breakfast
  • 9:00 am-12:15 pm | Green Real Estate Crash Course (with one 15min break at ~10:30)
    **You MUST be in your seat at 9:00 am to receive credit**

WHERE: Service Credit Union, 225 Mechanic Street, Lebanon, NH

FEE: Pre-registration: $50 (register online by Friday, November 15). Otherwise $60 at the door.

Thanks to our generous host and sponsor, Service Credit Union, your entire course fee goes toward Vital Communities’ Green Real Estate Program, which provides free resources and direct support for you and your clients year-round.

Questions? Contact Sarah Brock at sarah@vitalcommunities.org or 802-291-9100 x109

Oct. 26 Guided Valley Quest: Trees of Dartmouth

 

Join Vital Communities’ Valley Quest Coordinator Beth Roy on a guided treasure hunt of the trees of Dartmouth. Celebrate fall as we discover many exotic trees around the Dartmouth College Campus and learn about their natural history along with some of the College’s history. This is a great opportunity to complete one of the Quests for the 2019 Super Quest and finish the Questing season with an adventure! This guided Quest is appropriate for families and adults, all are welcome.

Date: Saturday, October 26

Time: 10 am – 12 pm

Location: Meet at the information booth in Hanover on the Dartmouth College Green on College Street

Please register. The event is free but space is limited.

http://bit.ly/2ourQKI

Chime In: 9/18 Hartford Hearing on Affordable Housing in Vermont

Concerned about the need for more affordable housing in both Windsor County and Vermont?

Join a discussion with local business leaders, affordable housing advocates, and community members on the challenges facing Vermont and the possible local and statewide solutions.

Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee Hearing on Affordable Housing
September 18, 10:30-12:30 Room 2, Hartford Town Hall

For more information contact Peter Sterling at psterling@leg.state.vt.us or 802-279-6840

Peter Sterling, Chief of Staff
Office of Senate President Tim Ashe

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

 

Heroes & Leaders: Creating a Vital Upper Valley

Every spring, Leadership Upper Valley, a program of Vital Communities, hosts the annual Heroes & Leaders Celebration to recognize individuals who make significant contributions to the Upper Valley. In 2019, we are pleased to honor 12 Leaders who add immeasurably to the vitality of our region. Read about these honorees below.

Liza Bernard and Penny McConnel met at a book discussion group and years later opened the Norwich Bookstore in 1994. Liza Bernard moved to the Upper Valley in 1977. She managed the Vermont State Craft Center in Windsor before starting her own business creating handwoven and hand-knit clothing. She worked at art galleries and consulted for art exhibitions across Vermont and did a short stint at King Arthur Flour, where she helped compile their 200th Anniversary Cookbook. A founding member of Local First Vermont, Liza was also a founder and enthusiastic promoter of Local First Alliance. Liza has served on the board of League of NH Craftsmen, the Child Care Center in Norwich, and the Abbott Memorial Library in Pomfret, where she lives. Penny McConnel and her husband Jim Gold have lived in Norwich for 41 years. Penny has always worked in retail and became a bookseller in 1981 at the Dartmouth Bookstore. She was a buyer there and later at a bookstore at the Powerhouse Mall. Penny has served on the boards of the Vermont Public Radio Advisory, Vermont Humanities Council, New England Independent Booksellers Association, and is presently on the boards of the Norwich Public Library and Norwich Senior Housing.

Len Cadwallader started his professional career running an after-school tutoring program in Johnson’s War on Poverty program in Lackawanna, New York. He worked at the Farm & Wilderness Camps in Plymouth, Vermont, for 21 years, first as Business Manager and then as Executive Director for 13 years. After a brief stint as the Executive Director of Kendal at Hanover, Len was hired in 2000 to become Vital Communities’ first full-time Executive Director, a position he held for 11 years. Throughout his professional career, Len always took time to get involved with social justice issues. For example, Len accompanied the Guatemalan couple who had lived in Sanctuary for 10 years at the Benedictine monastery in Weston, Vermont, when they decided to repatriate to their homeland. For the past two years he has commuted to the Massachusetts prisons where he co-facilitates anger management workshops in the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) program.

Delia Clark was Founding Director of Vital Communities, serving from 1993-1999. She is currently Principal at Confluence, where her work focuses on building sustainable communities through facilitating civic engagement, place-based learning, heritage interpretation, strategic planning, and community dialogue. She is a frequent trainer and facilitator in these areas throughout the United States and internationally, for organizations that include National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, Shelburne Farms, and International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Delia is the co-author of Questing: A Guide to Creating Community Treasure Hunts published by University Press of New England; Learning to Make Choices for the Future: Connecting Public Lands, Schools and Communities Through Place-based Learning and Civic Engagement; Building Skills for Effective Facilitation; and other manuals and chapters that have collectively been translated into six languages. Mother of three grown children, Delia lives in Taftsville with her husband, Tim Traver.

Ivy CondonIvy Condon is deeply involved in her community as a native of Claremont. There she helps to coordinate programs and events as the Center Coordinator at the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center. Ivy is also in her fifth year as the Stevens High School girls’ varsity basketball coach. She works with volunteers from the girls’ teams each week at the Community Center to teach young children the game of basketball. In her spare time, Ivy and her husband run a basketball club, the Claremont Lady Hornets, which includes girls from 3rd through 12th grade in the Claremont area. Ivy enjoys being a positive role model for the many youth athletes and young adults she has contact with in Claremont. Ivy has a strong passion for her community and is on the Healthy Vibrant Claremont Committee, which works to bring positivity and needed changes to Claremont.

Edgewater Farm is a family farm located along the alluvial plains of the Connecticut River in Plainfield. Originally a five-generation family farm owned by the Colby Family, Pooh and Anne Sprague have owned and operated Edgewater Farm since 1974. Although initially the Spragues maintained outside employment, they were encouraged by their county agents to try growing strawberries on the farm. The first strawberry crop was harvested in 1976, and from that point other crops were added to accommodate market demand. By 1983, both of the Spragues were working full time on the farm and, along with a few greenhouses, they opened their Route 12A Plainfield farmstand. Today they grow vegetable and ornamental bedding plants, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and vegetables. They sell products through their greenhouses, farmstand, and CSA, as well as at select locations in the Upper Valley. Edgewater Farm donates to area food shelves through the local nonprofit organization Willing Hands. Pooh and Anne—along with their children, Sarah and Ray, daughter in-law Jenny, and 36-year veteran Mike Harrington—are involved with managing the many different aspects of the farm. With their third generation growing up on the farm now, they continue to take a long view of land stewardship.

Jarvis Green is a director, performing artist, and cultural worker from Anderson, South Carolina. He moved to Vermont in 2011 from New York City and founded BarnArts Center for the Arts in Barnard in 2012. He is the Founding Producing Artistic Director of JAG Productions and the former Director of Theatre Arts at ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret. Jarvis received his training at the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City, as well as South Carolina’s Anderson University and Governor’s School for the Arts. Jarvis has developed work with The Public Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Village Theatre, 5th Avenue Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Capital Playhouse, BarnArts Center for the Arts, ArtisTree, Northern Stage, and North Country Community Theater. In 2017, Jarvis accepted the New England Theatre Conference’s Regional Award for Outstanding Achievement in the American Theatre on behalf of JAG Productions, in recognition of sustaining theatrical excellence.

A strong work ethic, a passion for helping others, and a sincere love of animals have been at the core of Curt and Sharon Jacques’ life and their business. Curt’s background as a top-performing territory sales manager and nutrition specialist for a national feed company and Sharon’s professional training as a nurse combine to form a unique mix of technical knowledge, drive, and heartfelt compassion that conceived a remarkable destination retail location and valued home to some 35 employees. Curt and Sharon purchased West Lebanon Feed & Supply in 1995. In 2007, they opened an 11,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility that celebrates the human-animal bond. The business has since developed into a nationally and internationally top-awarded store in its industry. Now, Curt and Sharon’s vision of “Your Life, Your Style, Your Store” takes new shape through their venture GooberPick, as they continue to find innovative ways to serve the people and animals in their lives.

Tunbridge resident Prudence Pease created a career dedicated to advancing the lives of others in her local community and across Vermont and New Hampshire. She has been involved with many organizations in the Upper Valley including The Family Place, Orange County Parent Child Center, Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council, and Community Partnership of Orange-Windsor. Since 2014, Pru has worked for Granite United Way designing and implementing the Work United initiative in the Upper Valley. A journey that began with one full-time employee and five business has now grown to a team of three full-time resource coordinators serving 11 companies in the Upper Valley. Prudence is a certified Bridges Out of Poverty facilitator and has trained more than 16,000 individuals nationwide, drawing on her compelling personal story of growth and change. A graduate of the Vermont Leadership Institute, she is a highly sought-after speaker on the topic of economic diversity.

Monique Priestley is a designer, gamer, geek, and connector. She founded The Space On Main in Bradford, Vermont, as a nonprofit in 2017 in hopes that it could promote a greater sense of community and connection for people living and working in the Upper Valley. Monique believes strongly that everyone has a responsibility to give back to their communities. In Bradford, Monique holds several elected positions and serves on a number of town commissions. She is a director for Vermont Council on Rural Development, Global Campuses Foundation, Cohase Chamber of Commerce, Cohase Rotary Club, and Little Rivers Health Care. Monique volunteers as a mentor and was a member of the 2018-2019 cohorts of Leadership Upper Valley and Changemakers’ Table. She was named Cohase Chamber’s 2018 Citizen of the Year and Vermont Attorney General’s March 2019 Vermonter of the Month. Monique also telecommutes full-time for CampusCE Corporation in Seattle.

Stan Williams is Chairman and CFO of ValleyNet, the nonprofit operating partner of ECFiber. ECFiber is a Vermont Telecommunications District formed by 24 towns seeking to provide high speed Internet to every location in its member towns using no taxpayer funds. ECFiber has raised $32M of institutional financing to date and is more than halfway to its initial goal of covering 1,400 “underserved” miles of the 1,700 miles in its towns. Stan’s prior career was spent financing and developing networks in the US, Italy, and the UK with Cellular Communications, Cellular Communications of Puerto Rico, Cellular Communications International, and NTL (now Virgin Media.) Stan and his wife Jenny live in Norwich. He is a member of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation and Upper Valley Land Trust boards (and a former Vital Communities board member) and has been an Upper Valley devotee since his family bought a summer camp on Crystal Lake in Enfield in 1973.

Doug WiseDoug Wise has a lifelong passion for using his talents to make a positive difference in the community. Doug graduated from Dartmouth College in 1959 and then earned his MBA in Marketing from Columbia University. He spent his career working in international marketing for major multinational corporations, has been a visiting professor in Pace University’s MBA program, and has been cited as one of America’s top business leaders and thinkers. Throughout his career, Doug has also been an active community member in the Upper Valley. He has served on a variety of boards and councils, including for Leadership Upper Valley, Ledyard National Bank, the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, Upper Valley Land Trust, AVA Gallery & Art Center, and numerous others. He continues to be deeply involved with Dartmouth College. Doug lives in Grantham with his lifelong partner Joanne, where together they have hosted more than 10 international Dartmouth undergraduate students.

Chuck Wooster and his wife Sue purchased Sunrise Farm in White River Junction in 1999, and Chuck brought the old farm back into production the following year as a seven-member vegetable CSA. Fast forward to 2019, and Sunrise Farm CSA has 300 members, has expanded to a second farmstead on Route 5, and, in addition to year-‘round organic vegetables, produces pasture-raised lamb, chicken, and eggs, and maple syrup, honey, and firewood. Chuck has been an active volunteer in Hartford, serving on the Selectboard, Conservation Commission, and as Town Moderator. He has also volunteered as a board member for the Upper Valley Land Trust and for Vital Communities’ Food & Farm program. Chuck writes on agricultural issues for the Valley News and other publications as time allows.

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.

LaValley Building Supply is the BOM

Celebrate as we recognize LaValley Building Supply as the May
Local First Alliance
Business of the Month

For more than 50 years, LaValley Building Supply has been serving our region with professional building supplies and services, creating stable jobs, and giving back to their community.

Visit the West Lebanon LaValley Building Supply May 14-28, congratulate them for being the BOM, and enter for a chance to win a Makita 18V LXT Litium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Kit.

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LaValley Building Supply—Economic Engine

Contributing to a thriving local economy by creating good jobs and providing value for customers is the hallmark of a Local First Alliance business. When Harold LaValley, a life-long Claremont resident, opened his first store in Newport in 1962, he knew he wanted to create a business that was neighbor helping neighbor, offering affordable and efficient goods and services while supporting a thriving local economy.

Today LaValley Building Supply is the largest independently owned building materials supplier in Vermont and New Hampshire, with 10 LaValley and Middleton Building Supply stores and three manufacturing facilities.

LaValley’s is an important employer for the Newport-Claremont region: It employs more than 180 people in Sullivan County at its manufacturing business Preferred Building Systems, which builds energy efficient modular homes, and a facility manufacturing trusses, doors, and panels. The family-owned business has created more than 400 stable jobs; most employees have been with the business for more than 10 years, and many are second-generation employees.

Capture- LaValley logo

LaValley Building Supply, 5 Airport Road, West Lebanon, NH 03784
Hours: Monday-Friday 6:30 am-6 pm, Saturday 7 am-6 pm, Sunday 9 am-2 pm
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