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Shaping the future through art

Lyman Orton was putting together a 2006 art exhibition from his private collection, "Lost Vermont Images," when the work inspired him to look in another direction: Not back at the way Vermont was -- but forward to what it might be...The Vermont Council on Rural Development, through its program called Council on the Future of Vermont, will share with the selected artists the information it is gathering from Vermonters about issues that concern them.


Rising Cost of Living a Major Concern

Researchers at the University of Vermont released a survey Monday showing many residents share a common vision of their state ... Virtually all of those responding - 97 percent - said they value Vermont's "working landscape and its heritage" - a term researchers said refers to a strong agriculture and forestry economy. Ninety-four percent expressed pride in being from or living in Vermont. And 93 percent said they value the state's "spirit of independence."


Survey Tries to Pin Down Vermont Values

Politicians, business leaders, and the public often talk about "Vermont values." But what exactly are they? A new survey released Monday attempts to quantify those in a scientific way.

"The question is what are Vermonters' common values?" asked Sarah Waring of the Council on the Future of Vermont. "Do we still have values in common?"

The UVM Center for Rural Studies released a survey that showed there is more that unites Vermonters than divides them. The results were based on listening sessions in every Vermont county and a phone survey of 699 adults.

Burlington CFV Forums

For 45 seconds, no one in the small crowd seated in City Hall's Contois Auditorium clamored for a turn at the microphone Thursday evening. Paul Costello, director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, didn't look surprised. He repeated the questions: "What does Vermont mean to you? What common values do we share?" In advance of the forum, titled Conversations on the Future of Vermont, Costello said the council's statewide effort to gather and sort opinions never stalled for long.

Chris Graff Commentary

Speaking in 1931 to the Vermont Commission on Country Life, Vermont Supreme Court Justice Wendell Stafford said, "Of Vermont have many books been written, many pictures painted, many songs sung. Yet who shall say that he has ever really seen Vermont? She cannot be seen or described. She can only be suggested."

Steve Delany Commentary: Deciding Our Future

For the first time in a generation Vermonters are being asked to help define what the state's future should be.

The Council on the Future of Vermont is nearing the end of a two-year process of inquiry, asking people in each county what challenges lie ahead, and what we should do first. Now it's Chittenden County's turn. There's a free forum on the future next Thursday, June 19 at Burlington's Contois Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy Conference - 2007

Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy Conference Final ReportVCRD chose the subject of the 2007 Conference based on the growing momentum in Vermont (and globally) to identify our unique local assets and use them as essential building blocks to strengthen our rural economies. VCRD’s 2004 report Advancing the Creative Economy, and the “Creative Communities Program” (CCP) VCRD led over the past two years, laid the groundwork for this high-energy State House event. This day-long event succeeded in identifying the next essential steps in keeping Vermont communities vital and competitive. Vermont is well situated, through its brand identification, cultural heritage, and artistic depth, as well as its human and intellectual capital, to be a leader in innovation and creativity. The Conference discussions reflect and celebrate the progress we are making today and the dedication Vermonters share in realizing the opportunities ahead. Read the Report (pdf).

Moving Vermont Agriculture Forward - 2007

At the beginning of 2008, the VT Agency of Agriculture and John Merck Fund asked VCRD to manage a strategic planning process designed to advance farm businesses and agricultural enterprises in the state. “Moving Vermont Agriculture Forward,” began with two working task forces: Branding and Marketing and Business Development. The task forces were designed to look for key opportunities to support long-term business profitability in agriculture and value-added ventures, dairy and non-dairy, and to identify signature projects that could advance agricultural development to the next level.

The Branding and Marketing Task Force developed a platform with three key ideas:

  • Expanding cross agency support for agritourism;
  • Building a “Vermont Farm and Food Festival,” to showcase VT agriculture; and
  • Establishing an on-line center for agritourism and Vermont product sales.

The Business Development Task Force evaluated the potential for the creation of a Vermont Agriculture Development Corporation to rally technical advice, site and regulatory assistance, business planning and financing help, and equity capital to eligible agricultural entrepreneurs.


VCRD deeply appreciates all the task force members and the assistance of Helen Labun Jordan of the Agency of Agriculture in this effort.


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