Keeping Agriculture a Vital Part of Upper Valley Life
Teach students about healthy eating, local food, and natural history with standards-based, hands-on lessons around seasonal foods for grades K-4. Lessons can be used by teachers, or volunteers (parents, community members, teachers, and high school students). The program has been very successful in Barnard, Pomfret, Hartland, Windsor, Fairlee and West Fairlee, receiving praise from teachers and the volunteers, and inspiring excitement and learning in students.
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
Calling All Locally Owned and Independent UV Retail Stores and Restaurants!
Vital Communities has commissioned an Independent Economic Impact Study that will give us data on the impact of locally owned retail and restaurant businesses on ...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
Do you own an Upper Valley business that is impacted by Covid-19 and could use a little help from your friends? TLC/4WARD is here to help.
Vital Communities launched The Local Crowd (TLC) Upper Valley in ...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
Beth leads Vital Communities' Food & Farm team, including its Upper Valley Farm to School programming, and also oversees Valley Quest. Before joining Vital Communities, Beth worked in the environmental and place-based education fields for 17 years in various positions around New England including at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and as the Director of Education at the Nature Museum in Grafton, Vt. She previously served on the boards of the Vermont Science Teacher Association and the Vermont State-Wide Environmental Education Programs, a coalition of dozens of individuals and organizations promoting sustainability and environmental education in Vermont. Beth is a New Hampshire native and lives in Hartland, Vt., with her husband and two children, and serves on the Hartland School Board. When Beth is not working you will find her exploring the woods around her home with her family or cooking up a new taste test (made of local foods, of course!) for her children.
Part of Vital Communities' Food & Farm team since 2012, Becka fosters relationships that keep agriculture a daily part of community life in the Upper Valley. She works with current and future farmers, businesses, schools, and partners across Vermont and New Hampshire to build connections that support farm viability and keep our landscapes working. Becka lived in Seattle for many years, where she worked for the Washington State University Small Farms Program, Cascade Harvest Coalition, Seattle Tilth, and area vegetable farms. Becka is also a writer, founding and writing Ask Umbra at gristmagazine.com until 2009. She holds a BA from Brown University and lives in Hartland, Vermont, with her family.
Assistant to the Executive Director, Flavors Coordinator
— Doreen Guillette, Assistant to the Executive Director, Flavors Coordinator
Doreen Guillette joined Vital Communities in January 2020 as the Flavors of the Valley Coordinator and Assistant to the Executive Director, with many years of administrative and management experience at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, self-employment, and volunteering. An Upper Valley native, Doreen spends most of her time and energy caring for her mini-farm and a large family in Norwich. She is a strong advocate for local community and is president of the Beaver Meadow Chapel, Trustee of the Beaver Meadow Schoolhouse, and Co-Chair of the West Norwich Community Resilience Organization. Doreen enjoys hiking, kayaking, writing poetry, nature photography, and cooking meals that come from her own land.
— 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.