The Vermont Council on Rural Development has presented its 2013 Vermont Community Leadership Award to Orly Munzing, founder and executive director of Strolling of the Heifers.

The award was announced on Tuesday, Dec. 17 during the Council’s 2013 Summit on the Future of Vermont’s Working Landscape held at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, Vt.

Presenting the award was Bob Ackland, VCRD Board Chair, together with Chuck Ross, VCRD Board member and Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, and Roger Allbee, former Secretary of Agriculture.

In presenting the award, Allbee said, “She’s committed, she has energy, she has compassion, she has unlimited leadership skills, she has a sense of community, she’s an educator, and she gets things done.”

The VT Community Leadership Award is presented each year to celebrate Vermonters who exemplify “dedication, integrity and honorable service to community and to rural Vermont,” and who have had a “transformational” effect on their communities.

Previous recipients include Al Stevens from Wells River (2005), Edgar May of Springfield (2006), and Monica Greene of Alburgh (2007), Robert McBride and Richard Ewald of Bellows Falls (2008), The Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick (2009), and Al and Marcia Perry of Richford Vermont (2011) and the Rutland Creative Economy team in 2012.

VCRD is a non-profit organization dedicated to the support of the locally-defined progress of Vermont’s rural communities. VCRD is a dynamic partnership of federal, state, local, non-profit and private partners. Actively non-partisan with an established reputation for community-based facilitation, VCRD is uniquely positioned to sponsor and coordinate collaborative efforts across governmental and organizational categories concerned with policy questions of rural import. Since its inception in 1992, VCRD has built a profile of rural policy leadership that is grounded by work in local communities and extends to collaborative partnerships with the highest levels of state and federal programs. On the Web:

Strolling of the Heifers is a non-profit organization, founded in 2001, with the mission of connecting people with healthy local food and adding to their understanding of the value of local food systems and sustainable, resilient communities. Its signature event is the annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and festival, which draws over 50,000 people to Brattleboro, Vermont in June each year. Its year-round cycle of events also includes the Slow Living Summit, an annual conference about healthy, resilient, sharing communities; the Vermont Farm/Food Business Plan Competition with $90,000 in funding for innovative, entrepreneurial business plans; the annual Locavore Index ranking the 50 states in terms of their commitment to local food; a new Farm/Food Education Center under development in downtown Brattleboro, and other projects and events. On the Web: