Party Time! Annual Open House & a Concert!

Join us at The Engine Room to celebrate 25 years of Vital Communities making a positive difference in the Upper Valley! Get to know our staff, board, and other supporters while you enjoy wine and abundant refreshments from great local businesses. We’ll also honor our Volunteer of the Year and Super Quest Grand Prize winners. Plus door prizes!

Vital Communities Open House & 25th Anniversary Celebration Kick-Off
PLUS Concert by The Conniption Fits

Friday, December 7
5:30 pm—11 pm (Remarks at 6 pm)
The Engine Room, White River Junction

After the socializing, stay for a FREE concert by local favorite The Conniption Fits starting at 8 pm (21+, cash bar). Donations welcome to support Vital Communities.

RSVP here!

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.

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.

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.

Vital Communities on NHPR’s “The Exchange”

GoingLocal_1Did you catch us recently on New Hampshire Public Radio’s weekday call-in show “The Exchange“? Their ‘Going Local‘ series explores the different regions of the state, and in early August they focused on the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee region (the New Hampshire side of the Upper Valley!).

Vital Communities was honored to have Energy Program Manager Sarah Brock join as a panelist, along with Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin, Lebanon Planning and Zoning Director David Brooks, and Valley News Reporter Tim Camerato. They talked about everything from traffic congestion on Route 120 to a bi-state parade from Orford to Fairlee—give it a listen!

“Friend of the Market” Deals

The food is fresh, the market is fun, and the deal is sweet! 

Support Your Farmers’ Market with the
NEW Friend of the Market Card! 

Buy a Friend of the Market card ($20) at your participating farmers’ market and take advantage of weekly vendor specials just for Friends.
Lebanon FOM
Visit the market manager booth at your farmers’ market to buy your card. Each week select vendors will offer Friend of the Market specials. Show your card and get a special deal. Participating markets are listed below, and click here for a full calendar of area markets and summer activities!

Use your Friend of the Market card at any of these markets:

Hanover Area Farmers’ Market
Hartland Farmers’ Market
Greater (Bellows) Falls Farmers’ Market
Lebanon Farmers’ Market
Newport Farmers’ Market
Norwich Farmers’ Market
Royalton Farmers’ Market
Woodstock Market on the Green
 Card valid May-October 2018 

 

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Photo credit Molly Drummond

Longevity & Commitment: Keynote Remarks from Heroes & Leaders 2018

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to Kevin Peterson, Director of Economic Development for the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, who offered the keynote speech at our May 3 Heroes & Leaders celebration. Read his complete remarks below. You can watch the entire event courtesy of CATV8. PHOTOS BY MOLLY DRUMMOND.

I am humbled to share the stage tonight with this year’s Heroes & Leaders, and given their longevity and commitment to the Upper Valley, it’s no surprise that I have a direct connection with nearly all of them, as I’m sure many of you do, too.

Bill Boyle was part of the pediatric oncology team that treated my 12-year old daughter for leukemia, and I helped manage the Boyle Fund for Community Pediatrics.

In the fall of 1978, before starting my freshman year at Dartmouth, my father and I drove across the river to Dan & Whit’s so he could buy a couple of gallons of Vermont maple syrup to take back home to Michigan. I’ve been a customer ever since.

That same fall, inspired by my mother’s membership in a small cooperative food-buying club, I ventured to the far southern end of campus—WAY down Lebanon Street—to shop at the Hanover Coop and the old Food Bin, and I’ve been a member since the mid-1980s.

Laurie Harding and I have talked many times over the years about management issues facing Headrest and other nonprofit organizations.

Earlier this week, I received an email from Jill Lord asking for input on the 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment, and grants from New Hampshire Charitable Foundation helped to fund previous needs assessments.

My favorite breakfast is fried eggs and Fruitwood Smoked Uncured Bacon from North Country Smokehouse, and I worked with Mike Satzow on the Fund for Greater Claremont.

I chair the advisory committee for my Dartmouth class project, which placed a Dartmouth student at The Family Place to serve as a year-long social-entrepreneurship fellow who helped develop a marketing plan for their Jewelry-O’s program.

Rob Howe and I sang together for several years with Zephyrus, a community choral group.

While I have never been inside the Canaan Hardware, based on what I heard tonight, I need to pay a visit!

I first met Steve Taylor in 1986 when he was leading a presentation on the New Hampshire Land Conservation Investment Program. After I joined the staff of New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, he helped me develop a list of the “100 Things to See, Do or Experience to Get to Know the Upper Valley,” and, since 2007, we have co-presented a seminar to the opening session of the Leadership Upper Valley program called on “What is the Upper Valley?”

The Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, which I administered at the Charitable Foundation, provided a grant for a permanent conservation easement on a portion of the Taylor’s Crossroads Farm property along the Ompompanoosuc River in Thetford.

Across a 15-year partnership with Tuck, I’ve engaged MBA interns, advised student leaders of the Tuck Social Venture Fund, and worked with John Vogel and the team at the Center for Business, Government and Society to co-host the Upper Valley Nonprofit Exchange, a series of professional-development seminars for area nonprofit leaders.

Each of these individuals and institutions represents a strand in an intricate web that is woven together to form a healthy, vibrant, strong and resilient Upper Valley community and economy. Let me share with you what I think are some other characteristics they all share.

The first is a sense of Place—as Dartmouth alum and author Norman MacLean wrote, “If you don’t know the ground, you’re probably wrong about nearly everything else.” Each person or institution honored here tonight knows the ground. They are deeply rooted in a geographic niche of the Upper Valley—a town, a facility, a subset of our region. They get to know their key audience or their core clients. They understand and have a deep and abiding sense of place and their role in it.

The second characteristic is Longevity—every day, we see the time scale of our world getting shorter and shorter. We live in a culture of ever-decreasing attention spans. News and information comes to us in sound bites, 240-character Twitter rants and Snap Chat posts. We have come to expect immediate response and reward in so many aspects of our lives. Even our politics are short term—New Hampshire and Vermont are the only two states with a Governor who is elected for a two-year term. By contrast, tonight’s honorees take the long view. Each has an extended history in our community. One of my favorite books is Staying Put by Scott Russell Sanders. In it, he describes the joys and benefits of staying close to home—wherever that is. These honorees have chosen to stay in their place, serving as anchors in the collective life of the Upper Valley. They embody the idea of durability and consistency that extends beyond the span of an individual lifetime.

The third characteristic is Stewardship—the people we honor tonight are deeply committed to the health and vitality of our region. As the anchoring strands in the intricate web of our vital communities, they are people who think not primarily of themselves, but of the greater good, of broader societal and community benefit, of the commonweal—not a term we hear so often in our current national dialogue. What they do has larger meaning than simply running a store, serving an individual client or providing a service. While they may not even realize it, they are important stewards of this place we all call home.

I think we can all agree that the web of economy and community in the Upper Valley is pretty strong and resilient. The Heroes & Leaders honored tonight are emblematic of that strength and resiliency, and they are some of the strongest strands holding that web together and thus maintaining our sense of place. But that strong web will only remain so if we all remain connected to it, as well. If one or two strands are removed or broken, the web may remain, but it’s not nearly as strong and durable. Thus, we all need to engage with, build, and maintain that web in regular and meaningful ways.

That engagement can manifest in several actions.

#1. Buying stuff on Main Street. According to author and researcher Michael Shuman, every dollar we spend locally results in two to three dollars of additional economic activity in our area. That includes jobs for our neighbors, local tax revenue, vibrant downtowns, more shopping choices, and on and on. I know we all love our Amazon Prime account—and, true confession, we’ve got one too. But I think we—and our entire Upper Valley web—are much better off if we buy local first—at Canaan Hardware, the Co-op, Dan & Whit’s, or at LaValley’s or Farmway. The few pennies or dollars we might have saved buying online are just not worth the cost of weakening our local economic and community web.

#2. Banking with a community bank or credit union based here in the Upper Valley. That ‘bank on the corner’ is likely the one lending to our neighbor who is expanding a local business, or to Twin Pines Housing to develop affordable apartments near an Advance Transit bus line, or to a young family purchasing their first home. Our money, deposited in a local financial institution, provides the capital that makes this kind of community investing possible.

#3. Getting involved in community. The institutions honored tonight, all of our towns, and the many, many nonprofit and community organizations working in our region are always in need of people: to serve on a board, to participate on a committee, to help with a project, to provide financial support. Their health and vitality depends on strong and enduring civic and community engagement, which begins with all of us. Tonight’s honorees offer plenty of these types of opportunities, and the Valley News publishes a monthly listing of volunteer jobs, so there is no shortage of good choices for getting involved.

All of these relatively small and seemingly inconsequential actions, taken together, help to strengthen our web of community and economy, and our sense of place.

In 1999, Tom Slayton, who at the time was editor of Vermont Life magazine, gave the keynote address to the annual meeting of the Upper Valley Community Foundation—in this very room. I’ll close with a quote from that presentation:

“A sense of place is created by a thousand-and-one specific things—an accretion that, over time, creates human interconnections, myths and stories, folklore and—a place. But just as place is created by specifics, it can be lost by specifics. Hayfields and historic buildings, downtowns and mountain tops, swimming holes and the cool, ferny depths of the forests that line the hillsides—all these specific things are important, as are the lives of all the people who live here, their memories of the place, and the stories they tell. If one important museum has to close, if one vital village center becomes run-down and deserted, if one old man or woman with a good story never gets to tell that story to a listening younger ear—then in every case, a region’s sense of place is weakened. By the same token, every single local artist who can afford to keep working, every stretch of the Connecticut River that is cleaned up and re-opened to fishing, every traditional bridge that is maintained and kept open, every town that stays vital—all of those things strengthen a region’s sense of place. Ultimately, a strong sense of community results in a strong sense of place.”

Thank you to Vital Communities for hosting this wonderful event, and congratulations again to this year’s Heroes & Leaders.

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.

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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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