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Category Archives: Vermont

“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.


Apply now for economic recovery grants!

As a result of the federal CARES act, the State of Vermont has recently made available new Economic Recovery Grants for minority and women-owned businesses with 0-5 employees.  There’s also special funding for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations as part of a special allocation of funding through the Vermont Arts Council.

Learn more and apply for the economic recovery grants for Vermont small businesses owned by minorities and women.  $2.5 million has been set aside for women-owned businesses and $2.5 million for minority-owned businesses with 0-5 employees.

Vermont nonprofit arts and cultural organizations should use the same portal to apply for these grants. To learn more about what it means for Vermont’s creative sector check here.


It is a lovely day in Vermont

We couldn’t agree more with one of our state representatives who shared words of hope on FPF:

Looking east over Missisquoi Bay, I see a panorama that includes Jay Peak, Camel’s Hump and Mt. Mansfield, big gray bumps in a blue horizon. To my left is Chapman Bay and a green strip of Canada. A northeasterly breeze creates a chop with occasional whitecaps on the water. In the distance a white-hulled fishing boat creates its own whitecaps with its spreading wake.

The thermometer reads 72º, but the breeze coming off the water feels cooler.

This morning I threw a line in the water and caught a fish on the second cast. Lucky.

The crabapple tree in the yard has flowered. All over the area flowering trees and bushes provide bright splashes of white, purple and pink against the spring-fresh green of new leaves.

Four pairs of Canada geese swim past, each couple with babies, 11 goslings in all.

It is a lovely day in Vermont.

It’s nice to be reminded that natural rhythms go on with little regard for the turmoil we create among ourselves. It’s also a reminder of a major reason why we choose to live here.

We need to take care of this state and its people.”  • Tommy, State Representative, Washington-3, Barre


Front Porch Forum on WCAX’s Across the Fence

As the world adjusts and adapts to social distancing and self isolation, communities in Vermont are looking to connect with and help their neighbors safely. They’re doing so on FPF.

Listen to Front Porch Forum’s co-founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, share how the service is being used across the state (and in parts of Upstate NY) during the COVID-19 crisis.  He joins Fran Stoddard for an interview, below, on Across the Fence, the country’s longest-running locally produced program.

 

Learn more about how Front Porch Forum is being used during this time here.


Signs of Spring Arrival

The days are getting longer, crocuses and bluets are springing up from the ground, and birds are returning to the Northeast from their winter vacations: signs of spring! Neighbors are sharing their observations. Have you seen any signs of spring? These FPF members have:

I’m so grateful to be a part of this community in this time. Thanks to you all. Also! I really love spring, and I miss the spring arrivals board at Sterling College. So…I have a poster board at the Genny up for us all to document our observations of spring (bring your own pen). I also created a google doc that I think should be accessible to all to add observations.

Let’s not let the craziness of this spring allow us to miss this gorgeous and amazing time of year!”  • Hannah in Craftsbury, Vt.

Sunrise.

Late-spring snowfall, inspired ways to keep the kids busy, crocuses, and random acts of beauty and neighborly kindness.

Home schooling, long walks.

A creative home desk made from–wait, is that an ironing board?

That’s what Middlesex looks like this spring as we all hunker down to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Check out these creative shots of our community taken by your Middlesex neighbors, at:

https://www.whatsnextmiddlesex.org/calendar–pictures.html

Enjoy!”   • Susan in Middlesex, Vt.

Share your spring sightings and observations on your Front Porch Forum today!


FPF celebrates two decades of service

Sunday, March 29, 2020, marked the 20th year of Front Porch Forum providing a means for helping neighbors connect.  It’s been our mission ever since and it’s never felt more meaningful than now.  Here’s how one of those first FPF members from Burlington’s Five Sisters neighborhood reacted:

“Look what I got in the mail today.

You opened this Front Porch Forum account 20 years ago TODAY. Happy anniversary! Thank you for being an important part of connecting neighbors and building community.

Impossible to have lived life without FPF!  I have found help with my biz… I have an annual Caroling with Carolyn on Caroline St. and people from all over the neighborhood join us each December. New wonderful friendships have developed because of FPF. We are all so lucky to have this incredible resource.”
• Carolyn in Burlington



Nourishing Our Communities

Despite competitive grocery shopping and items running out, countless establishments and community members have stepped up to ensure their communities are nourished during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some posts from FPF members that may fill your hearts and your bellies:

“When the second Gulf War began in Iraq in the Spring of 2003 and Baghdad was under siege, one of the newspapers (I think that it was the New York Times, but I might be mistaken) published an article about the very last small businesses to stay open to serve the simple Iraqis in the midst of all the chaos, pain and hardship. It was Baghdad’s small local bakeries.

I was so impressed by that, and I clipped the article and stashed it away (I’m sure I still have it somewhere) and this being long before I became a baker myself. The selflessness of the invisible men and women (bakers are mostly night workers) manning those hot ovens in the middle of all that chaos to provide nourishment to the community was more awesome to me than the violence of any airstrikes or advancing coalition armies.

Today, during these uncertain days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain determined to serve you, the common men and women who make up the townships of Central Vermont. With our obligation to provide nourishment and with your support of Rise Up Bakery and the other local small businesses, we are together guiding the community through this uninvited wilderness that surrounds us. This in turn will help us to be there to help other local businesses when they can again open their doors.

Our oven remains fired tonight. And we are ever grateful to you, our friends and neighbors of the local community.” • Jim H. in Calais, Vt.

“Hello Waterbury. Nicole and I hope to provide 400 16” Pizzas to the HUUSD and Williston schools. They’ll be passed out to families in need through the school lunch pickup sites. These are Take & Bake style pizzas, like in local grocery stores.

We are hoping to raise $2000 to cover the cost of cheese, etc. If you’re in a position to donate, please consider doing so.

We hope to make the pizzas available as early as 3/27. If your need is more urgent, call or email us and we’ll get you pizza sooner. #NoHungryKids #VermontStrong” • Dan R. in Waterbury, Vt.

 

“Need help with food? Here are some sources of help:

Resources complied by Hunger Free Vermont about WIC, 3SquaresVT (known nationally as SNAP), senior meals and more: https://www.hungerfreevt.org/coronavirus

Hinesburg Community Resource Center Food Shelf information: www.hinesburgresource.org/food-shelf.html

Champlain Valley School District free/reduced school meals (families can apply at any time): https://www.cvsdvt.org/cms/lib/VA02000902/Centricity/Domain/35/LettertoParents_FY20_F_R.pdf” • Rachel K. in Hinesburg, Vt.

 

Countless more businesses, organizations and individuals are using Front Porch Forum to unite with their neighbors and fulfill the needs of their communities. Get involved and find the latest information on your area’s take-out, delivery, grocery, and prepped meal options by joining today.


Creative School Projects at Home

Every day we are hearing more and more serious news about COVID-19. Front Porch Forum members are busy networking to help each other with child care and grocery shopping, sharing news and ideas, and creative learning projects kids can do while school is closed. Below, read about two kids who are preparing to put their academic skills to use in a creative home project.

“Hey Stowe neighbors,

We are in 4th and 2nd grade at Stowe Elementary. We can’t go to school now so we would like to work on a fun and creative outdoor project. The project we chose is to build an Adirondack lean-to like the ones the Civilian Conservation Corps built in the 1930’s. We researched online and found plans. We want to build our lean-to so we can camp out in it. In this project we will use math skills, reading skills, measuring and how to use tools.

The reason we are reaching out to you is because we would like to know is anyone has any left over building materials that we could come pick up to use for our project. We will modify the plans for the lean-to to be built with the materials we can find.

We are seeking:
roofing materials
plywood for decking
wood that could be used for walls

During this time of social separation, it is nice to have Front Porch Forum.” • 4th & 2nd Graders in Stowe, Vt.

Share your creative ideas or network with neighbors in your community on FPF today. We are all in this together!


FPF Members Prepare for COVID-19

Vermonters and Upstate New Yorkers are turning to their local FPF to share information and mobilize efforts to help their neighbors prepare for COVID-19. Keep an eye out for new information from your local public officials, updates on area events and business practices, and keep in touch with your neighbors to see how you can help each other to be resilient during this time.

Here are how some neighbors are reaching out in light of COVID-19:

 

“Hi Neighbors,

We don’t know how much coronavirus is already in our community, but its time to be prepared.

Two of the most important things you can do are:

  • -WASH YOUR HANDS frequently and well
  • -If you feel at all unwell- STAY HOME.

The 2nd point, self-isolation, can be a really big sacrifice.

I think I speak for our community when I say “thank you” in advance for doing this, and that we want to support you in doing the right thing.

So please, if you need to self-isolate, reach out to your neighbors, through tools like FPF. Some things we might be able to provide for each other might include:

  • -Grocery Delivery
  • -Netflix Passwords
  • -FaceTime Check-ins / playing online games.

If you need to stay isolated @ home and there’s anything at all that might make it easier for you to do that, please don’t hesitate to ask your neighbors.” • Ben in Burlington, Vt.

 

Hi, Richmond! Still very much hoping that this does not affect our town. However, if you or someone you know is self-quarantining due to concerns about coronavirus, your community is available to help—several people have expressed interest in assisting with deliveries of groceries and other essentials.

In that case, please feel free to get in touch. If you know someone who needs assistance and doesn’t use email, they can reach me by phone.” • Jen in Richmond, Vt.

 

Hey neighbors, let’s start using this group as a way to support each other during the coronavirus pandemic. Those of us who are able to provide assistance can let that be known (I can!). And, as voluntary and mandatory social distancing increases, folks who should stay home (anyone over 65, anyone with a compromised immune system, anyone showing signs of illness) can post here with questions or requests for assistance. Why not run a few errands for our neighbors, right? Let’s all take good care of each other.” Kristen in Burlington, Vt.

 

Looking for information and resources to help prepare for COVID-19? See this informational video approved by the Vermont Department of Health:

Coronavirus PSA – open captions

Other resources on COVID-19:

Front Porch Forum is a free, local resource that can help neighbors to stay informed and band together. Don’t forget to check in to see how your community is working together to get ahead of COVID-19.