Buy less. We can’t foster sustainability in the long term without reducing consumption of goods and resources. That means buying less (or buying used), but buying better (higher quality, longer lasting, more community impact) when we do buy. Make fewer purchases, but make each one count.
Given two, choose locally owned. Not everything we want or need has a local solution. But when it does, we can make our purchases count by going to the business that’s locally owned. Learn about the ways that local ownership positively benefits our economy and communities.
Reward stewardship. Local owners run their businesses with community in mind, for the obvious but important reason that they live here too. Get to know the people behind businesses. Find out what they are doing to steward community, and then reward that commitment with your daily purchases.
Michael Shuman describes a purchasing hierarchy that can guide our thinking: run every choice through a chain of questions along a local impact scale.
Is it made or grown locally, where the production is a source of jobs and wealth for the community?
Is it bought from a locally owned business, where the owner’s stake in the community is a source of benefit and long-term wealth generation?
Does it use local ingredients or raw materials, thereby supporting strong local markets between businesses and suppliers?
And finally, is it a large purchase or investment? – since those are the most important to try and keep local.
We won’t answer yes to every question with every purchase, and there will be times when the local choice is not most attractive for other reasons. But we can ask the questions. We can make the connection between the communities we want, the change we need, and the businesses we already have.
Three times as much money stays locally when spent locally. This reverberation of economic power, the local multiplier, results in an interdependent network of known and trusted businesses and service providers buying from one another over and over again. This is the fabric of a strong local economy.
Thinking local first means remembering the multiplier and voting with your dollars for the kind of community you want to have.
For “Get Out & Bike” Week we asked the Vital Communities network to submit their favorite hometown bike rides, ideally 10 miles and under. Here are some of the submissions!
ENFIELD: Around Mascoma Lake (7 miles)
Start in downtown ...more
A quick update on Upper Valley housing from our Workforce Housing Coordinator, Mike Kiess:
Support for people experiencing homeless and housing insecurity has been expanded on both sides of the river. In Vermont, the state has ...more
Ever wanted to cook a meal from a local restaurant in your own kitchen? Now you can! Released last Friday, the “Isolate and Create” digital cookbook features delicious recipes from 15 Vermont restaurants. All profits ...more
Getting outdoors is good for your mental, physical, and spiritual health, especially during this time of added stress due to COVID-19. We are closely following our state government recommendations in Vermont and New Hampshire regarding ...more
Work from home and help raise $500 for Vermont Foodbank. Simply record your telecommute trips in your Go! Vermont account every day that you work from home and when 500 telecommutes have been recorded, we'll ...more
I hope this note finds you all healthy and adjusting to the routines of remote learning and teaching. I know my family and I are starting to feel a rhythm in our days and finding ourselves to be ...more
On March 18, Vital Communities held a webinar featuring five inspiring stories from energy committees across the Upper Valley. Stories included:
Electric charging stations in Bethel
An Upper Valley eBike lending library
Energy saving window ...more
The 13th Annual Upper Valley Energy Committee Roundtable will be held Tuesday, September 15, 5-8 pm in West Lebanon! This annual gathering of local energy volunteers is open to all, whether you serve on an ...more
We will be rescheduling the forum
to the late spring or next fall
Upper Valley Farm to School Forum: Trauma & Nutrition
March 19 4:30-7pm
Sharon Elementary School
75 VT Route 132, Sharon, VT 05065
Join the Upper Valley ...more
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, ...more
Check out this newly produced, six-minute YouTube video on Efficient Heating in Vermont, created by Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission.
The video describes the types and benefits of home heating options and describes the current rebates ...more
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 ...more
Ed. Note: On May 30, Vital Communities honored 12 community leaders who’ve added immeasurably to the vitality of the Upper Valley at its annual Heroes & Leaders Celebration. The following are the event’s keynote remarks ...more
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 ...more
We love pairing style with nighttime visibility, so we've ordered REFLECTIVE SLAP BRACELETS to reward people who bike or walk to Flavors of the Valley on Sunday, April 7!
If you bike and walk to the ...more
On the bright, sunny morning of June 13, Cobb Hill was waking up, and the soon-to-be graduating 2018 Leadership Upper Valley class was just arriving for their final meeting. Before the ceremony at Harpoon Brewery, ...more
— Nancy LaRowe, Food & Farm and Local First Coordinator
Nancy joined Vital Communities as the Food & Farm Coordinator in 2014. She works to support and grow our local food system and economy. Nancy has lived, worked, and farmed in the Upper Valley for more than 25 years and believes our community is healthier and stronger when our connections to food and the farms that produce it stay vital.
Nancy's informal job title is Farmer-in-Residence: she also runs a pasture-based cattle farm in Norwich. Nancy is on the Board of the Norwich Farmers' Market and a retired Norwich volunteer firefighter and EMT. She loves puttering in the garden, hiking with her dog, and visiting farmers' markets.