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Council studies Vermont’s priorities

After two years spent interviewing Vermonters young and old, blue collar and white, the Council on the Future of Vermont shared its findings on the hopes, aspirations and visions for the state as voiced by nearly 4,000 people who know it best.

The group had just one qualification for its sources -- of living within the Green Mountain State. "We wanted to speak with people who don’t normally have a voice," said Sarah Waring, who presented the Council’s findings at an open forum held at Southern Vermont College Tuesday.

Futurists worry that Vermont farms have become too reliant on milk

By KEVIN O'CONNOR Staff Writer
The Council on the Future of Vermont knows the state treasures its farms and forests. So why is it asking if there's too much of a good thing?

Surveying almost 4,000 experts and everyday folk at more than 100 meetings, the nonprofit, nonpartisan study group heard more talk about the working landscape than any other topic. Nearly 98 percent of those surveyed, in fact, said they valued the fields, woods and pastures more than any other of the state's features.

Final Findings of the Council on the Future of Vermont: Imagining Vermont

Imagining Vermont coverImagining Vermont: Values and Vision for the Future is the final report of the Council on the Future of Vermont. With the publication of this report, the findings of the Council are no longer ours alone. The report is a contribution toward action. It is for the people of Vermont to use to move Vermont forward as they see fit. It is a reflection of the 18 months of listening to Vermonters.

The full report is available here for download (6.5MB).

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Part One and Part Two (2MB)
    Part One:
      Introduction
      Values Statement
      Concerns, Challenges and Opportunities
    Part Two:
      Conclusions of the Council on the Future of Vermont
      Vision Statement
      Reflections from the Council on the Future of Vermont
      Acknowledgements
  • Part Three (4.3MB)

You can also download any chapter on its own by clicking below:

Stevens Commentary: Future of Agriculture

WILL STEVENS
As Vermonters, do we want to live in a theme park - full of characters we've heard of but never met? Or would we rather engage, through agricultural activity, with our families, our neighbors, and our communities in meaningful ways? As chairman of Shoreham's Planning Commission in the 1990s, I signed off on a lot of letters of support for farmers who wanted to conserve their farms and sell their development rights. The "working landscape" was a prominent termused in those letters to evoke an image that conveyed the essence of Vermont.

A rich future? Public wants plan for Vermont economy

By KEVIN O'CONNOR, Times Argus Staff Writer
Long before last autumn's financial fall, the Council on the Future of Vermont found stunning agreement on residents' top concern: the economy.

The only thing more surprising: People's worry over a perceived lack of state fiscal planning. More than 80 percent of those surveyed in the winter, spring and summer of 2008 pointed to Vermont's cost of living - the ninth most expensive in the country - as its No. 1 challenge.

Funding may slow Internet expansion

With the help of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - otherwise known as the Obama stimulus package - all Vermonters might soon have access to highspeed broadband.

The state plans on applying for at least $50 million for broadband expansion, said Tom Evslin, the chief recovery officer for the state's Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery.

"If we had $50 million landing on our doorstep, we could make sure that every Vermont resident has good broadband," he said.

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