Lost dog found in Waitsfield, plow service recommended in Pownal, school board minutes shared in Newport, car break-in reported in Colchester, baby stroller given away in Tinmouth... and the list goes on.
Everyday Vermonters use FrontPorchForum.com to connect with their neighbors and build community by sharing postings like those above with the people who live nearby. FPF is a Vermont-based online service with nearly 60,000 households participating across half of the state.
Now, thanks to the Vermont Council on Rural Development, FPF has expanded and is available statewide to every Vermont town and neighborhood. After significant investment by the Vermont Digital Economy Project and software development by FPF, there is now a forum available for every Vermont town!
To check it out, any Vermonter can go to FrontPorchForum.com and sign up. The service is free to the users, and very popular in dozens of Vermont towns that have been using it since 2006. New FPFs start in “registration” mode, and once 100 residents sign up, the new forum becomes fully functional. Register for your Front Porch Forum here.
Front Porch Forum is a free community-building service that allows neighbors to connect with one another. It is moderated and members are clearly identified as they share postings about all sorts of topics. Each FPF helps neighbors share recommendations, find lost pets, welcome newcomers, inform about local events, and engage in healthy and civil debate about important local issues.
In times of need, such as around natural disasters, Front Porch Forum becomes even more powerful. This is key to why VCRD and the Vermont Digital Project invested in Front Porch Forum.
“The Vermont Council on Rural Development was an early fan of Front Porch Forum, because we could see all the community benefits that the service was providing in Burlington neighborhoods and then throughout Chittenden County,” said Paul Costello.
Through e-Vermont, VCRD was able to leverage the expansion of Front Porch Forum to 30 new towns, bringing additional benefits to local businesses. Then, after Tropical Storm Irene, it was clear that Front Porch Forum enabled communities by providing an easy volunteer organizing tool that was already at everyone’s fingertips.
“It was amazing how people shared tools and lent each other aide through this vehicle,” said Costello. “We’ve been talking to FPF co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis for three years about how we could help bring Front Porch Services to every town in the state…and today, with the support of EDA we are doing it.”
“It’s humbling to see how Vermonters support each other when given an easy way to communicate with neighbors,” said Michael Wood-Lewis. “Every day across the state we witness people rallying to help neighbors cope with all sorts of challenges... house fires, new babies, losing a job, finding an affordable after-school-care option... you name it.”
Over the last six months, Wood-Lewis and the team at Front Porch Forum have been focused on enabling expansion of the service. This February, FPF had 47,000 active members across 90 Vermont towns covering about half of the state. Now FPF is available statewide in all 251 towns, and 57,000 members partake with 100s more signing up every week.
Please join today at FrontPorchForum.com and help spread the word to your friends, colleagues and neighbors across Vermont. Here are some tools to help you do it: