On Tuesday, March 21, all members of the Northfield Community are invited to come together for a free community dinner and the opportunity to be an active participant in developing new ideas for Northfield’s future.

This event is the first step of the Northfield: Our Common Future process – a three-part series of facilitated discussions coordinated by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) to brainstorm ideas for the future, identify top priorities for Northfield, and connect to key resources. All community members are invited including residents from all Villages and Norwich University.

Community members in attendance will participate in a series of forums to discuss assets, challenges, and opportunities for action. The forum topics have been chosen by a steering committee that represents the full Northfield community. All community members are encouraged to attend on March 21 to kick-off the forums and join the process in shaping the future of Northfield.

“We hope you can join us for the first step in the Northfield: Our Common Future process. It will be a great opportunity to see friends and neighbors and connect around shared priorities. There will be food and a celebratory atmosphere to entice you,” says Northfield Selectboard member Lydia Petty. “The more of you that attend, the more our discussions will truly reflect the community, so please consider taking the time to participate. We really want to hear your voice.”

Community members will be joined by a Visiting Team of State, Regional, Federal, and Non-Profit leaders who are there to listen in, share reflections, and sign on as a resource to support the community as they begin this work. The Visiting Team includes Nicole Miller, Executive Director of Vermont Afterschool, Ted Brady, Executive Director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, Misty Sinsigalli Area Director for USDA Rural Development, Julie Moore Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, and other State, Federal, and non-profit experts and leaders.

Participants are encouraged to attend a forum during each timeframe that they are most interested in. Forum topic includes:

  • 4:30-6:00 pm – Youth and Families
  • 4:30-6:00 pm – Housing
  • 4:30-6:00 pm – Public & Community Safety
  • 6:00-7:00 pm – Free community dinner with live music
  • 7:00-8:30 pm – Building Norwich and Northfield Connections
  • 7:00-8:30 pm – Recreation
  • 7:00-8:30 pm – Infrastructure: Broadband, Transportation, Walkability, & Sewer

The Vermont Council on Rural Development was invited to the community by the Northfield Selectboard. VCRD is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the advancement of Vermont communities. In the past 20 years, VCRD has worked with over 85 communities throughout Vermont to bring residents together through their facilitated and structured process to share ideas and move toward common solutions.

Jenna Koloski, VCRD’s Community Engagement and Policy Director says, “We are looking forward to kicking off this process with Northfield. While we have been invited by the Town, we now work on behalf of the full community and are excited to hear what Northfield residents think is most important as they come together to take action for the future of their town.”

Masks will be optional. For anyone unable to attend in-person, a separate virtual forum option will be available. More details on the event and the virtual option can be found at bit.ly/FutureNorthfield. Childcare will be provided by Kathleen Burroughs of Natural Wonders Childcare during the forums. Anyone with transportation needs is encouraged to call Tom Davis at 802-485-9822.

Parts two and three of the three-part discussion on the future of Northfield will take place on April 18 and May 16 when all residents will be invited to champion action ideas, set priorities, and sign up for task forces to take on each priority of initiative. A team of technical and financial resource providers will join the community in the final step to help support the work of the new task forces as they create action plans to move their priorities forward.

Northfield: Our Common Future is funded with support from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the National Life Foundation, Northern Borders Regional Commission, the Vermont Community Foundation, and VCRD supporters and donors.

For more information, visit bit.ly/FutureNorthfield, contact VCRD at 802-223-6091, or email Jenna Koloski at [email protected].