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.
Do you wish biking was part of your life? E-bikes can greatly increase that possibility. E-bikes (electric bikes) are like regular bikes but with an electric motor in addition to human-powered pedals, a battery to ...more
More Free "Local Investment" Events starting April 8!
"Market forces" got you down? Does it seem like Big Finance keeps putting resources toward things that create more environmental damage and human inequality?
Maybe it's time you took ...more
Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 1: It's a big one for Valley Quests!
Not only is May 1 Opening Day for Quests—"treasure hunts" that share the natural and cultural history of 160+ special areas in ...more
Flavors of the Valley, the Upper Valley's favorite local food tasting expo, will not be stopped this year! We're moving it to May, with a month-long digital celebration of spring, our local farms, local food, ...more
Ten Upper Valley schools and day care facilities have been awarded $500 mini-grants to support farm-to-school projects this year! These grants are designed to help schools, afterschool programs, or school-related wellness programs with projects related ...more
Braised Pork & Cabbage: A One-Pot Late Winter Farmers Market Meal
Magazines and radio shows are already gushing about springy greens recipes, but if you’re eating seasonally in the Upper Valley, winter food is still on the table. And ...more
Valley Quests are treasure hunts set in special locations around the Upper Valley. Each Quest follows a unique set of clues that teach you about a place’s ecology, wildlife, and history while leading to a ...more
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) has recently begun a project to study multi-modal improvements to NH Route 120 from Hanover Street to Etna Road in Lebanon, NH. This project (NHDOT reference #29612) seeks ...more
This week marks the close of Vital Communities and volunteers’ 2020 Vermont Energy Savings project in seven towns in the Vermont side of the Upper Valley. Vital Communities partnered with Sustainable Woodstock (serving Woodstock, Hartland, ...more
Weatherize Webinar with NHSaves
Monday, August 17 at Noon
Did Covid-19 stop your 2020 weatherization plans in their tracks? NOW is the right time to jump back on the weatherize band wagon. Lower energy bills and cozy ...more
Vital Communities celebrated the graduation of the Leadership Upper Valley Class of 2020 on Wednesday, June 10. This event marked the program’s 14th graduating class, as 31 local leaders completed the 10-month program with a ...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
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
— 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.