e-Vermont partner Front Porch Forum provides towns and neighborhoods with a virtual town green and bulletin board. Residents who opt to sign in can easily post notes which get delivered to e-mailboxes throughout the community. Notices about upcoming events, stuff for sale or trade, lost pets, and wildlife sightings mix with discussions about town budgets, local elections, and favorite movies. FPF is also a platform for readers to connect with area businesses and service providers.
Duane Sorrell started his auto repair business in Middlesex last year and reached out on FPF to let people know he was opened. More than 500 of the town’s 700 households are FPF members. Within a couple of days Duane had a dozen new customers. Now people know about a local option for car service and the town has one more successful small business. Meet Duane in this brief interview:
And from Moretown…
The village center of Moretown sits along the usually friendly Mad River. But Tropical Storm Irene swelled it to a torrent, taking houses and bridges in its wake.
Just prior to Irene, this e-Vermont community was slowly building interest in its new town wideFront Porch Forum. Suddenly, it exploded with activity. In a few long days, Moretown residents and public officials shared 300 disaster-related postings among neighbors on FPF. Typically it would take five months to generate that many postings there. Also, even without consistent power or Internet availability in many places, the FPF member count increased by 50%. Indeed, FPF proved so valuable to residents that it was printed each day and posted at Town Hall for those who did not have online access.
In addition to 5-10 daily updates from public officials on FPF, neighbors rallied to help each other directly. Here’s one result shared by a Moretown FPF member…
“We’ve lost half a house but we’ve gained a community. I’ve never experienced being carried through a devastating event by large numbers of friends, neighbors, and complete strangers before. Thank you Moretown and out-of-town volunteers for your heart-breaking generosity.”