By Helen Labun Jordan, published in the Daily Yonder
For over a decade, the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) has rallied rural communities to identify and act on key local concerns. These concerns almost invariably include community communications, as even rural towns where “everybody knows everybody” find that, in fact, not everybody does.
Michael and Valerie Wood-Lewis first created Front Porch Forum (FPF) in 2006. This online forum connects people by neighborhood (or small town), requires use of real names, and has light moderation that both collects comments into manageable digests and discourages personal jabs. It’s designed for rural communities, with many participating towns attracting more individual subscribers than there are households.
Connecting an innovative, online tool with a longstanding local priority is part of a new approach to community development sparked by VCRD’s recently completed e-Vermont Community Broadband Project. You can see the full report here.