The Herald: Rural Vermont’s Community Conversation a Hit

March 2, 2017
Scott Beavers

Rural Vermont kicked off its Groundswell Community Conversation tour at the Tunbridge Town Hall last Wednesday, Feb. 15 and the room was full, energized, and as far as one could tell, the event was a resounding success.

About 90 people filled the room, along with several of the Rural Vermont staff and volunteers, and as soon as people arrived, there were nonstop, vibrant conversations taking place between people who were old friends and many who had never met before. This was the first of six tour events taking place in different locations in Vermont through April. Details can be found at

The purpose of this event tour is to engage communities around the state in dialogue about land use, farming, livelihood, food, the health of and future of Vermont.

Rural Vermont staff members Ben Hewitt and Graham Unangst-Rufenacht welcomed attendees, gave an overview of the evening’s agenda, and discussed Rural Vermont’s focus, current projects, and what they hope to accomplish during this tour.

While there was a diverse mix of people in attendance, a show of hands indicated that about two-thirds of the attendees were farmers or involved in working in food production. Attendees included people who have been working and farming in the area for most of their lives to folks who very recently moved to the area and are just starting out in their agriculturally-based lives.

There was discussion about the Rural Vermont work with the legislature, its views of the current ecological and political crisis, local and global issues, as well as its vision for land use, farmers’ livelihood, and food production.

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