Coming to a Town Near You!
- Wed Feb 22nd – Tunbridge Town Hall, 227 VT Route 110, TUNBRIDGE
- Tues March 14th – Next Stage Arts Project, 15 Kimball Hill, PUTNEY
- Mon March 20th – Rutland Free Library, 10 Court St., RUTLAND
- Tues Apr 4th – Shaftsbury Community Hall, 475 Old Depot Rd., SHAFTSBURY
- Wed April 19th– ArtsRiot, 400 Pine Street, BURLINGTON
- Wed Apr 26th – Sterling College, Simpson 3, 16 Sterling Dr., CRAFTSBURY COMMON
ALL EVENTS 5:30 – 8:30 PM
RSVP HERE: This will enter you to win prizes (!) and ensure you receive logistical details about the event you’re attending, along with last minute changes due to weather. Plus it’s how you apply for farmer and childcare stipends.
Rural Vermont’s Community Conversation Tour will engage communities around the state in dialogue about land use, livelihood, food, and the future of Vermont. At each of the Tour stops, Rural Vermont farmer-leaders and staff will present our vision for a future where the success of our agricultural economy is measured not merely in dollars, but also by the health and vitality of all its stakeholders: our farmers, our consumers, our businesses, our crops, our animals, and our soils. Attendees will be invited to share their priorities, identify structural barriers, and suggest pathways to systemic change at the individual, community, and statewide levels.
Following the tour, Rural Vermont will analyze and summarize qualitative findings and participant feedback, and create a plan to move Vermont towards this shared vision.
WHY WE NEED THE TOUR
As we look toward the future, we must acknowledge this truth: the time for incremental policy change has come and gone. Addressing singular issues without tackling the system responsible for creating them will no longer suffice. Globally, climate change presents us with an imperative to seek more immediate and effective changes in how we farm, and how our economy works. Here in Vermont, the slow and steady march toward industrialized commodity farming has left our watersheds in disrepair and pushed our ecological systems to the brink. Farm consolidation and the disappearance of small family farms have eroded the bedrock of our rural communities. The small, diversified farms that do remain face a regulatory stacked deck, while conventional dairy farmers sell to a market that is perennially depressed. This is not an anomaly, but a feature, engineered to keep food prices and farm incomes low, rural communities stressed, and farmers reliant on out-of-state agribusiness.
We must recognize the urgency of this moment, the economic and ecological imperatives that we face, and the very limited timeframe we have to dramatically address them. To meet these challenges, and to change the course of Vermont’s food system and revitalize our rural communities, Rural Vermont must also change. We must broaden our base of support, and present a vision for our state in which every Vermonter is a primary stakeholder. By inviting a broad range of stakeholders and partnering with an array of local organizations – farmer alliances, food cooperatives, environmental activists, business groups, worker centers, watershed conservationists – we will strengthen our alliances in this crucial work, while bringing these diverse constituencies on board for the long haul.
We will maintain a foothold in the legislature, but cannot wait for Montpelier to act. We must instead reorient our own efforts, and pursue a new strategy that builds a groundswell of support for a future we create together. In this future, Vermonters feed Vermonters, while farmers nourish their communities with nutrient-dense food grown from healthy animals and living soils, and receive a fair wage for their work. In this future, profits stay local and support small businesses, as farmers adopt regenerative practices not in spite of economic trends and incentives, but because of them. In this future, every farmer and consumer can fight climate change just by supporting farming practices that sequester carbon while increasing the drought tolerance and flood resistance of the landscape. In this future, every Vermonter can determine what food is best for their family to eat.
Simply put, our vision is an agricultural economy in Vermont that delivers vibrancy to farmer, eater, soil, environment, and community alike.
WHAT TO EXPECT
At each event, Rural Vermont will present this vision for an agricultural economy in Vermont that delivers vibrancy to farmer, eater, soil, environment, and community alike. Participants will engage in dialogue and small group discussion about land use, livelihood, food, and the future of Vermont. With the help of an artist, this info will then be transferred in-the-moment into a creative, visual representation of the community’s needs, barriers, opportunities, and solutions. The evening will be punctuated by a light dinner, music and cash bar/BYOB at select locations, and dedicated time for socializing with friends and neighbors.
FARMER AND CHILDCARE STIPENDS
To make it easier for farmers and families to participate, we are offering farmer and childcare stipends.
Farmer stipend requests are reviewed on a rolling basis and intended to help farmers participate by making it easier to get away from the farm. This stipend can be applied towards mileage, relief farm labor, and other relevant costs. Note: childcare is not covered under the farmer stipend, but farmers can apply for farmer AND childcare stipends.
Childcare stipends are available to all families on a first-come, first-served basis. Families are eligible for up to $25 to apply towards the cost of a sitter on the night of the event.
Limited funds available for both farmer and childcare stipends. Farmers can apply for BOTH a farmer and childcare stipend. Stipends will be provided, in the form of a check, at the event.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Make a contribution! Back in December, with the support of hundreds of people like you, we hit a crucial milestone and raised $50,000 towards the launch of Groundswell. While this is success worth celebrating, we still have another big chunk to raise before the Tour is fully funded. Donate or become a member today. (After RSVP’ing, you’ll have the option to make a donation.)
- Volunteer! We need plenty of help with getting the word out, making food, on-site support, and more. There’s a full list of options in the RSVP form; indicate your interest there or email Shelby
- RSVP! This will not only help us plan, but it will enter you to win prizes (!) and ensure you receive logistical details about the event you’re attending, along with last minute changes due to weather. Plus it’s how you apply for farmer and childcare stipends.
THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNER MEMBER SPONSORS
Bob White System, Farm to Ballet, the Farmhouse Group, Geobarns, Grow More Waste Less, Hunger Mountain Co-op, Miss Weinerz, NOFA-VT, RAFL, Skinny Pancake, Vermont Compost, Vote Hemp, and Weston A. Price Foundation