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.
A study commissioned by Vital Communities finds that, for every dollar they earn, local retailers (like CourierWar of Randolph, above) and restaurants return a share to the local community that’s up to four times as ...more
Just in time for fall and back-to-school, there are some exciting transit updates from both sides of the river!
Tri-Valley Transit (formerly Stagecoach) has a new midday route on the 89er South route. This route connects ...more
A community conversation about increasing resilience through local food production and working lands
Join Vital Communities, Land for Good, and other partners to talk about the working lands that feed and sustain our community in a ...more
School reopening is the big topic right now: how to do it safely, effectively, and efficiently. New requirements for health checks, physical distancing, and reduced bus capacity are likely to create bottlenecks, congestion, and lost ...more
Even with the need for physical distancing and many people working from home, transit and carpooling are available for those who need them. Here is some information on how to use each safely these days.
We are launching Upper Valley Everyone Eats! Between September 8 and December 18, approximately 2,500 meals from local restaurants will be available weekly across the Upper Valley’s Vermont community meal programs and food pantries. These ...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
Yes...Local as Usual, Safer than Ever.
Pick Your Own strawberry farms opened this past weekend. Get out there and pick the delish! There is nothing like ripe berries. So good. Each berry that comes into season ...more
The Upper Valley berry season typically ranges from late June to early October. In our short, but fruitful season, we can enjoy raspberries and strawberries (although neither are technically real berries), then move into summer ...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
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
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
Erika Hoffman-Kiess joined Vital Communities in 2020 – first as a Workforce Development consultant, facilitating a workforce discussion for the Corporate Council, and subsequently joining staff to support Covid-19 economic response activities. Erika brings years of experience in program design, management, and consulting for United States Agency for International Development and other donor funded international workforce and economic development. Most recently she facilitated a statewide series of Workforce Summits for the Regional Development Corporations of Vermont, developing policy guidance for the legislature and the executive branch. Erika grew up in Thetford, graduating from Thetford Academy, and moved back to the area in 2011 after many years spent living and working across the US and abroad. She holds a BA in Political Science from Goucher College and an MPA (Master of Public Administration) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Erika lives in Thetford with her husband, Mike Kiess (also on VC staff) and enjoys spending time with extended family, exploring the natural environment and volunteering on two Boards serving international community development organizations, Tabitha USA (Cambodia) and Friends of Pakistan USA.
— 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.