Category Archives: Community Building

FPF to Speak on Panel: Reimagine the Internet

Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 by No comments yet

Detail of Civic Logic, by Fiammetta Ghedini, RIVA Illustrations

Front Porch Forum‘s co-founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, will speak on a panel for the virtual conference, Reimagine the Internet, on Thu., May 13 at 12:00 p.m. The event is co-hosted by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the soon-to-be-launched Initiative on Digital Public Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

FPF will be joined by many notable panelists, including Cory Doctorow of Electronic Frontier Foundation, Evelyn Douek of Harvard Law School and Katherine Maher of Wikimedia Foundation.

Front Porch Forum will be part of Thursday’s discussion:

Lessons from Experiments in Local Community-Building

Thursday, May 13, 2021

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

This panel will focus on lessons learned from local communities and the implications of these lessons for online spaces. Sara Lomax-Reese is the CEO of WURD, a family-owned talk radio station in Philadelphia that serves that city’s Black community. Michael Wood-Lewis is co-founder of Front Porch Forum, an online community of mailing lists that serves every town in Vermont. Individually and in dialog, both will address lessons learned in building hyperlocal media and the ways in which online communities build trusted relationships.

Panelists

Moderator

  • Ethan Zuckerman, Initiative on Digital Public Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University

Learn more about the virtual conference or RSVP here.

“Why Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Posted on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 by No comments yet

Front Porch Forum was recently featured in an episode of the podcast “Home. Made.” It tells the FPF origin story, and also gets into the behavioral science of what happens when we feel like we finally belong somewhere. Give it a listen! 

Learn more about the episode or read the transcription here.

 

Lost Home, Found Community

Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2021 by No comments yet

When a tornado struck an Addison County family’s home, so much was lost. In the wake of the disaster, the community came together to help offer support. See this beautiful message of gratitude shared on their FPF, after having shared their initial story:

“My son and I want to thank all the people who read our original FPF posting and responded with such sincerity and caring. Whether offering us a place to stay, coming over to help clean up, letting us know you’re willing to lend a hand down the road or sending messages that continue to lift our spirits, your presence is being felt, and it is comforting and reassuring.

Our deepest thanks to Randy and his wife (of Randy’s Service Center.) One of the first calls I received was from Randy, offering us the loaner car in his shop. He’s given us the gift of ease in the midst of much that is challenging.

I wish I had the capacity to respond to each and every one of you. Your poems, stories and heartfelt words have encouraged us as we get our bearings along a new and different road. We want you to know that your reaching out in these creative and caring ways is quite literally brightening our days.

The further we get from the “event,” the more we’re appreciating that we’ve not been forgotten by the people around us. My son and I are grateful for your continuing companionship.”

As they start to envision their next steps forward, the family reflected on “the new normal” and the transitional state that most in the world are facing. They bring to their community an imagination circle to bring new hope, ideas, and possibilities for the future.

Strength and hope can be found in difficult times when a community comes together. FPF is happy to be a resource where neighbors can connect in times of need as well as in times of hope.

Welcome to Vermont

Posted on Friday, February 26, 2021 by No comments yet

From maple creemee tours to swimming holes, farmers markets to local writers, there’s plenty of hidden gems that any new Vermont resident simply must check out. One perfect example is the locally grown VPR podcast, Brave Little State; it will tell you all you need to know about making your home in the Green Mountain State! We think their tip about joining FPF is especially good 🙂

“I love my town!”

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 by No comments yet

From bread fairies and neighborhood scavenger hunts, to Little Free Pantries and mutual aid networks, Front Porch Forum members have been reaching outto offer their love and support to each other.  This Valentine’s Day we share the love neighbors have for their communities.

While there were too many heart-warming postings and stories to choose from this especially difficult year, here are a few that made us feel warm and fuzzy:

“I heartily praise Northfield’s “gem of a library” and know that there are many additional people, organizations and businesses that have also done a lot to help our community through these recent months. I’d like to suggest taking some time to send a card or email, or perhaps make a phone call, to thank those who have made a real difference in your life. And, in that spirit, thanks FPF for helping me stay connected to the community while I isolate at home!”  • Sue in Northfield

“Today, I want to reach out to everyone I have had the opportunity to meet, within the Starksboro community, and to those I hope to meet in the future. I want to say how thankful I am for this community. We are a little shelter of giving and caring and reaching out. Welcome to the newer residents. I have the fortune of knowing there are folks who help, and give, and tire themselves for other needier people around them. I have the fortune that I can disagree with someone’s politics and still be grateful they are my neighbor. Take care everyone this winter season. Reach out. Extend your love and care. Ask for help. We all need to know we are not alone.”  • Carin in Starksboro

“I am so grateful for the business owners, healthcare workers, teachers, school nurses, sanitation staff, grocery store staff, and so many others who are obligated to risk their health for the sake of the community, or the sake of themselves and their family as they hold an in-person job while so many of us are struggling at home.  Sending thanks and love to the children and teens in this community, whose resilience astounds me and inspires me to keep going, keep making safe decisions to keep their schools open and their lives as close to normal as possible.” • Lauren in Waitsfield

“This is my first time in a small community and the love and support of total strangers has overwhelmed me. I don’t remember everyone’s names, but you have provided me with rides to work, tires, ironing board and iron, and the list goes on. When I post a need, I receive multiple emails. I am grateful to each and every one of you.”  • Gloria in Morrisville

Wood for Good

Posted on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by No comments yet

Front Porch Forum gives members across Vermont and parts of upstate New York and Massachusetts, a space to connect with their neighbors and communities. We see all kinds of postings, but some of our favorites are postings were people come together to help meet a need in the community.

Eric Axlerod, and FPF member from Jericho, uses his neighborhood forum to help provide firewood to neighbors in need. It started with a simple surplus of wood and has evolved into an effort to source, cut, stack, and donate cords of firewood.

Check out this excerpt from Seven Days:

“Thus far, they’ve given away 12 cords of wood. The crew is hoping to collect 20 cords to have on hand ahead of this fall. While they started collecting at their own house, they’ve also cut wood on neighbors’ properties.

The trio has dubbed the undertaking “Wood for Good,” and its mission is similar to that of organizations such as the Monkton Wood Bank in Addison County. Axelrod said he eventually wants to form a nonprofit and hopes to sign up more volunteers to help the cause. He’d consider expanding beyond Chittenden County if it takes off.”

Burlington Free Press also covered the story, sharing that many community business have pitched in to provide trees, wood-splitting and stacking equipment, and volunteers to help get firewood ready for this winter:

“Last month North Star Leasing Company in Burlington announced it was donating a portable wood conveyor to Wood for Good…

…Employees of North Star Leasing are arriving earlier to help split wood. People from the Rotary Club of Burlington and Axelrod’s men’s group have also come to help. Barrett’s Tree Services in South Burlington dropped off seven loads of trees that gave Axelrod a huge boost for 2021. Teachers Tree Service in Shelburne also donated trees.”

When people come together and give back to their community, amazing things can happen. This is a wonderful testament to how challenging times have inspired many amazing neighbors and small businesses to help support those in need of food, warmth, and support.

Read and post on FPF to brainstorm ideas for community outreach, connect with resources that may help you and your family, or organize an effort in your town!

We all have a part in local businesses success

Posted on Monday, November 23, 2020 by No comments yet

Neighbors show their support of Vermont small businesses on FPF.

“I was on a call this week in which the somber fact of our local businesses on the brink of failure was very apparent. Many of our local sandwich shops, bars and restaurants are in dire need of support and are looking at the possibility of having to close down for good bc of the financial situation they are in. I was going to suggest we all try and support a “Take out Tuesday” (because A. Takeout sounded best with Tuesday and B. this would include all our eateries whether they were serving in their location or just doing take out), but realize many of our local spots aren’t open on Tuesdays. Therefore, I suggest we all try and go out to eat or get food to go from our local eateries that aren’t serving in house at least once a weekday when they need our support the most. Without our help, many of the local establishments that you love are not going to make it through this winter. Help out your neighbor, friend, or local business owner now, so that we may have the chance to enjoy them after this mess is over with. We all have a part in our local businesses success.

This also applies to our local independent shops as well. Please think of them with the upcoming holiday season and shop local this year!”  • Bob in Stowe

Share local dining/take-out options and gift ideas on Front Porch Forum.

An attitude of gratitude

Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 by No comments yet

“I am thankful to Front Porch Forum for adding GRATITUDE as a category. Perhaps we need it more now than ever. Tis’ true: “An attitude of gratitude brings amplitude.” • Lisa in East Wallingford

I Am Grateful
I am grateful to live in a neighborhood that I feel safe in for me and my children
I am grateful for all the tall trees in the neighborhood. They are beautiful and feel like protection
I’m grateful for my little property that produces veggies
I’m grateful for all the neighbors that talk kindly to my kids 🙂    • by Casey in Essex Junction, Vt.

“I am grateful for the treasure we have here…  the Bristol Trail Network. From the beginning this project has been led with integrity grit and grace. It has at times not been easy, but the results are a gift to all of us. There have been many volunteer hours from a host of volunteers that have made this possible. We live in a community where service is a part of what we do. So many organizations and individuals contribute to the vibrancy of our community.  As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, I look forward to our community coming together in unity to support each other in so many ways that we can’t even yet predict. If we care for each other, smile, give gratitude we will be stronger for it.” • Phoebe in Bristol

“Grateful to the responses of our bicycles that were collecting cobwebs in our cellar. Gone for better use now. And for the drum set collecting dust in a neighbor’s home is now going to be loved and played on by our grandson! Love FPF and our neighbors!” • Josy in Jericho

“A couple of weeks ago I’d requested the phone # for Corner of India, &, oh, did I hear from you! Not only did people respond to FPF, but I received 284 responses to my e-mail. I’ve gotten back to thank all but 68, so if you haven’t heard from me yet, I’m trying. Consider yourselves thanked here! Go, FPF, & all the helpful members!” • Debby in Shaftsbury

Share something you’re grateful for with your neighbors on FPF.