(FPF) is a free community-building platform that now serves every town in Vermont.* This service helps residents communicate with their neighbors, connecting people to their community and each other.

In addition to building connections, the hyper-local social media platform is also a catalyst of Vermont’s climate economy. FPF helps Vermonters reduce their carbon footprints through thousands of small actions every day. Vermonters use FPF to reduce waste, opting to exchange, recycle and reuse local goods rather than buy new ones. They also use the platform to recommend and advertise “buy local” options, and neighbors connect to carpool too. After Tropical Storm Irene devastated homes and communities across Vermont in 2011, people used FPF to offer places to sleep as well as services and tools like sump pumps and chainsaws. The forum is also a great place to educate communities about energy and efficiency options and to recommend energy retrofits and alternative sources.

Investing in local social capital is a winning strategy for healthy communities as the real impacts of climate change come to Vermont,” says FPF co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis, “more socially vital communities are more resilient when hurricanes, floods, ice storms, and blizzards strike. At our core, FPF builds social capital among Vermont neighbors.

*A federal Economic Development Administration grant, secured in 2013 by the Vermont Council on Rural Development as part of its Digital Economy Project, provided funding to bring the service to all Vermont residents. Find out more about the project here; and Vermonters can sign up for free at frontporchforum.com.