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Category Archives: Front Porch Forum


VT Farmers: Apply by Oct. 1 for State COVID-19 Relief Grants

It’s not too late! The Dairy Assistance Application and Agriculture and Working Lands Applications are now live. The deadline to apply for these funds, part of Vermont’s COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP), is Oct. 1, 2020. These grants are intended to stabilize agricultural businesses and organizations based on their lost revenues and expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Learn more here.

If you have neighbors in your community who could benefit from this information, or other helpful info to share, post it on your neighborhood FPF!


Keep up daily using FPF’s mobile app

Did you know FPF has a mobile app? Compose a posting, search the archive, and more… all in one place!

“Wow! Hyped about the app—keep up the incredible work, team. Love Front Porch Forum, always find what I’m looking for using it ”  • Zach in St. Albans, Vt.

“Downloaded the app instantly! I’m so happy there is an app now. Its aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, and elegant in it’s simplicity – great work to all of you who developed it and my sincere gratitude!”  • Melissa in Rutland

“Get the App…best thing since sliced bread. I will now be able to keep up with it daily. Thank you FPF  • Tammy in Morrisville, Vt.

“FPF has come of age!  Love the ease of mobility when I want to check out other forums.” • Paul and Rosie in Burlington, Vt.

“Thank you!  What a delight to use!”  • Mary in Starksboro, Vt.

“Great idea about the FPF app! Just downloaded!” • Rebecca in Berlin, Vt.

“Took me about 30 seconds to upload and sign on.  Looks like a great way to get this daily information.” • Marie in Shelburne, Vt.

Ready to get the mobile app?  Find it in the Apple® and Google Play® app stores.


Front Porch Forum Expands Engineering Team

Front Porch Forum’s tech team is growing! Two more software engineers, Noah Harrison and Aaron Lipman, have joined FPF to continue upgrading and expanding our custom-built mobile, web and email platforms to better serve our social mission.

Since 2006, FPF has been helping neighbors connect and build community by hosting a statewide network of online local forums. Out of Vermont’s 260,000 households, FPF has more than 190,000 members.  As part of FPF’s 20 staff members, our software developers play a crucial role in providing high-quality service and developing relevant new features for members across all of Vermont and parts of surrounding states.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Hires:  Aaron Lipman and Noah Harrison

Noah and Aaron each work closely with Lead Engineer and Tech Team Manager, Matt Barry, and tech advisor, Jan Schultz. Together they maintain and improve FPF’s unique web and mobile applications, which are used by more than half of the households in Vermont on a daily basis. Stay posted for new features and updates!

Noah, who is working with email integration and web browser technologies, says “I really enjoy the direct appeal that FPF forums have to many of my friends and neighbors.”

Noah comes to Front Porch Forum after ten years as a software developer and project manager consultant for various companies, including projects for NBCUniversal and on a 3D globe projector.  He earned a degree from Dartmouth College, having studied Classics, Religion, and Computer Science.

On his new role, Aaron remarks “I consider myself privileged to work on a platform that helps Vermonters work together in weathering events from Hurricane Irene to the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

Aaron has a background in electoral data modeling and a passion for writing software that strengthens communities. Outside of Front Porch Forum, Aaron contributes to several open source projects. When not writing code, Aaron enjoys road biking.

Front Porch Forum is an award-winning Vermont Public Benefit Corporation.  Our mission is to help neighbors connect and build community, leading to more resilient communities.  FPF hosts regional networks of online local forums where neighbors, small businesses, nonprofits and municipal officials post about a wide variety of topics.  This daily neighborly exchange leads to people feeling more invested in their communities and getting more involved.


FPF Opens in Williamstown, MA

Two months ago a number of Williamstown community members and organizations began a grassroots effort to generate enough interest to bring Front Porch Forum to their community. Volunteers from South Williamstown Community Association, Williams College, Williamstown Chamber of Commerce,  Williamstown Elementary School PTO and area businesses all participated.

“We’re really excited to be the first community in Massachusetts to be part of Front Porch Forum. Now that our usual gathering spots are not available to us, we need to be in touch with each other virtually more than ever.  We’ve only been active a week and already there has been some good mutual aid” said Bette Craig, president of the South Williamstown Community Association.

People use their local FPF to find lost dogs, give away extra tomato plants, report break-ins, recommend roofers, announce school events, debate town budgets, organize community relief efforts… and much more.

“FPF has served Vermont towns since 2006,” said co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis. “And people use FPF for all sorts of things… this brief daily connection helps neighbors become better informed and more involved in the life of their town.”

If you know anyone who works for or attends Williams college or lives in this area please let them know and encourage them to sign up.


Scat Whisperers

Front Porch Forum is a way to connect with neighbors on community efforts, local issues, and…scat identification? One curious neighbor asked for help discovering what kind of animal had been in their backyard, and got a huge and helpful response on their neighborhood forum! Check out the story below.

“Well, if you want to gather a crowd, just show up with a little scat.

I received 17 unique offers of help analyzing the scat photo. Each was serious and wonderfully curious in their pursuit of an answer.

The identifications offered included: skunk, raccoon, feral cat, weasel, coyote, red fox, grey fox and bobcat, after our neighbor reminded me that we had a beautiful bobcat sitting in a maple across from our barn a year ago.. Catamount was ruled out.

Several folks forwarded the picture to several other more expert folks who responded with a more focused belief that it was either a skunk or a raccoon but most likely a raccoon.

My thanks to everyone who replied to my ask. It was great to touch base with so many old friends that, due to circumstances, have been out of touch.

FPF is a force for good and re-tightening community. Thank you.” • Phil in Craftsbury, Vt.

Have a question you could use some input on? Try asking neighbors on your local FPF.


Job Opening: FPF Online Community Manager

Front Porch Forum is hiring! We are seeking an Online Community Manager to join our team. The position is 32-40 hours/week, including weekend shifts, working from home. Help us fulfill our community-building mission.

Click for details and to apply


“Can’t Find It at the Store? Try Bartering For It.”

In an Aug. 3 New York Times article by A.C. Shilton, Front Porch Forum got a shout out as a platform that people successfully use to barter. When folks have too much zucchini but really need to borrow a hedge trimmer, FPF shines as a way for neighbors to help each other access what they need. Check out the excerpt from the article below:

Bartering hasn’t been this widespread since its days at the elementary-school lunch table. Front Porch Forum, a hyperlocal social network in Vermont and parts of New York that has long been a hub of bartering, has seen an 83 percent increase in new-member sign-ups this year over the same period last year, said Michael Wood-Lewis, who co-founded the site with his wife, Valerie, as a neighborhood listserv back in 2000. While Front Porch Forum is a way for neighbors to connect on a range of things, recently, appeals for swapping eggs for rhubarb or chicken wire for day lily bulbs have increased, Mr. Wood-Lewis said.”

Read the full article on the modern barter economy here.


“What Vermont and Its History Might Teach the Nation About Handling the Coronavirus”

Vermont has the lowest number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States and it begs the question “why?” In Bill McKibben’s July 28 article in The New Yorker, he explains the state of Vermont’s unique history and social structures that likely pay a big part in preventing the virus’s spread throughout the Green Mountains.

In addition to Phil Scott acting quickly when the first few cases appeared, McKibben credits much of the spread slow-down to neighborliness and social trust:

“Vermonters entered the pandemic with remarkably high levels of social trust. Only thirty-eight per cent of Americans say they mostly or completely trust their neighbors, but a 2018 Vermont survey found that seventy-eight per cent of residents think that “people in my neighborhood trust each other to be good neighbors”; sixty-nine per cent of Vermonters said that they knew most of their neighbors, compared with twenty-six per cent of Americans in general…

…All that is a reminder of how social trust has been squandered across so much of our nation as we’ve divided into red and blue teams, concentrated on individual advancement, and had our worst instincts yanked at by social media. In this case, Vermont is extremely lucky to be living a little in the past. The governor didn’t immediately mandate mask-wearing because almost everyone mandated it for themselves…”

Read Bill McKibben’s full article in the New Yorker here.


FPF Got a Makeover! Access your Forum three different ways

Since Front Porch Forum released the email forum redesign in June, we’ve heard lots of great feedback from members! See what some of your neighbors have to say about the new formatting:

“Way to go FPF! You are a star in our communities. As a generator of two posts a week, I find FPF an ideal forum to keep our communities informed. You Rock!!!!” • John H. from Charlotte/Shelburne, Vt.

“The great thing about FPF is anyone is welcome to post on subjects that are important to them; for some people it’s Doggy Play Dates or Free Plants, and for others it’s Community Health Issues. The new format and bold subject field enable you to peruse the page, read the posts that interest you, and skip the ones that don’t (or maybe be exposed to a different point of view.) Thanks, FPF, for the opportunity to connect and share.” • Joseph C. from Waterbury Center, Vt.

In addition to the email forum redesign, FPF has taken more steps to make the forum cleaner and easier to use. Last year, we released a mobile app, which can be download from the Apple® and Google Play® app stores. It’s changing the way many FPF members read their forums!

“Get the App…best thing since sliced bread. I will now be able to keep up with it daily. Thank you FPF”
• Tammy W. from Morrisville, Vt.

Lastly, FPF members can access their forum by logging in from our website https://frontporchforum.com. Submit a posting, search the archives, access the business directory, and more!