Marshfield and Plainfield successfully submitted a joint application to participate in the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s (VCRD) Climate Economy Model Communities Program in 2019. This program – a partnership of VCRD, Efficiency Vermont and local leaders – is designed to help communities identify and implement priority actions that increase economic vitality and affordability in a time of climate change. Examples of locally defined projects include energy efficiency, transportation system transformation, renewable energy generation, working lands development, and entrepreneurship and business incubation to spur economic progress. Key aspects of the program include:
- While this process is focused on the climate economy, transportation, and energy transformation, it is up to the citizens of Marshfield and Plainfield to set specific directions.
- A key component of program success is the active leadership of local citizens who work with VCRD and other partners to move priorities forward.
- This program is focused on actions that fall within the power of participating communities rather than advocating for policy changes in Montpelier or Washington.
- A key aim of this program is to include a great mix of people from all parts of the community to be sure any focus of the program has benefits for all.
In March 2019 a planning committee of local leaders, stakeholders, and representatives from throughout the two communities will convene to guide the local Climate Economy effort and plan for the kick-off in April. Here’s an overview of the process:
Step 1 - Community Forums and Dinner (April 2019)
In April, the project will kick-off with afternoon and evening brainstorming sessions for the full community with an expert Climate Economy Visiting Team. The kick-off includes a free community dinner.
Step 2 - Priority Setting (May 2019)
The full community will gather a month later to hear specific concepts for community climate economy initiatives built from ideas gathered at the kick-off forums. Community members will select 3 to 4 action ideas in areas including transportation efficiency and home and business energy opportunities. Interested community members will be asked to join task forces focused on planning and implementing projects.
Step 3 - Planning and Implementation (June and onward)
A final community gathering unites the task forces with Resource Team experts including the utilities to set work plans. Work will then begin to implement the chosen initiatives. Ongoing support, for up to one year, will be provided by VCRD staff.
The Climate Economy Model Communities Program is a community-driven process with local leaders, VCRD, Efficiency Vermont, and other partners to cultivate economic development, innovation, and affordability in the face of climate change. This event is produced by VCRD, a non-profit organization supporting the locally-defined progress of Vermont’s rural communities.