What if nearly every household in a small rural town were in daily communication with each other? What would change?
e-Vermont partner Front Porch Forum provides towns and neighborhoods with a virtual town green and bulletin board. Once FPF is set up in a town, it opens unlimited possibilities to connect
Calais is a great example.
Out of the 680 households in town, 570 people are members of the Calais Front Porch Forum, and they've shared 2,300 postings with neighbors since it began fifteen months ago.
Dozens of lost pets have been reunited with owners, cars sold, used strollers given away, mechanics recommended, break-ins reported and much more. Adoption has reached the point where most local institutions have come to count on it as well, as seen by this posting:
"I do not know if this will work, but my pastor referred me to this FrontPorchForum.com. My car died on me. I am trying to find a ride to work for 10am. If anyone could help it would be greatly appreciated." -Danielle Duprey
In addition to transactions and news sharing, Calais citizens use their FPF to debate local issues, including exchanges about road conditions, WiFi in the school, and more.
"You know, Front Porch Forum at times may sound more like a lively Town Meeting than neighbors talking while they rock on their front porches, but in the end we seem to have arrived at a pretty good place." - Elizabeth Davis
Each posting, almost regardless of the topic, weaves an additional strand in the web of community.
"I woke up this morning thinking about FPF... our collective community diary that records where we have been and help us work together where we are going. Thank you everyone for broadening our community, giving us a way to better understand each other." -Peter Harvey