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Paul Costello

Paul Costello's picture
Paul joined VCRD as Executive Director in 2000. Paul is a UVM alumni and holds a PhD in intellectual history from McGill University. In addition to his work at VCRD, Paul is a member of the Housing Vermont Board of Directors and President Emeritus of the national Partners for Rural America organization.


Member for
4 years 10 months
New Initiative to Advance Vermont’s “Climate Economy”
Can Vermont be a national leader in incubating small businesses that answer climate change? The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) thinks so. The organization is announcing a new initiative designed to rally business, policy and community... read more
Announcing the Summit, "Vermont Connected: Envisioning the Future of Vermont’s Digital Economy"
Find the Most Up To Date Information on the Summit by Clicking Here. As the Vermont Digital Economy Project winds to a close, we are happy to announce that its end will only be the beginning of an ongoing conversation around technology, digital... read more
Costello Commentary: Vergennes on the Move
Vergennes — With all its assets, Vergennes epitomizes so much that Vermont communities statewide strive for: a strong village center, surrounded by a beautiful working landscape, strong, committed community members, a dynamic and balanced downtown... read more
Costello Commentary: Leveraging Vermont’s Working Landscape Assets
By Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director Vermonters have always known that our working landscape is our greatest asset. It drives our economy, brings tourists from away, and sustains the wonderful environment where we live, work and play. Vermont... read more
Vergennes Community Visit Ends on a High Note
On Wednesday May 21, VCRD and a Community Visit Resource Team went back to Vergennes for our last session as facilitators of the Community Visit process. At this final visit, we kicked-off the Task Forces that address the three community priorities... read more
The Community Visit Process Begins in Vergennes
One of the seminal programs of VCRD is our Community Visit Process. This process is an opportunity for all of the members of a town or city in Vermont to discuss the future of their community, and to come out with a concrete plan for what steps to... read more
Costello Commentary: Investing in Working Lands
Last year Act 142 established the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) and Fund. Act 142 was both the jobs bill of 2012 and the agriculture and forest products policy bill of the decade. It established a unifying and nonpartisan platform to... read more
Working Lands in Governor's Budget
Last week, Governor Shumlin delivered his budget address to the Vermont legislature, and in that address, he showed a renewed commitment to the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. Importantly, he stated that the funding line is included in the base... read more
Costello Commentary: Advancing the Vermont Forest Economy
In August, VCRD was honored to serve as a partner with the Windham Foundation to facilitate their thirty-fifth Grafton Conference. On the 50th year anniversary of the foundation, they wisely chose to bring together key industry and policy leaders... read more
Pride in Vermont is Alive and Well!
Last week, VCRD hosted a “State Rural Policy Innovation Roundtable” reviewing key rural development action led by states and how this work can contribute to national rural policy. We had folks from California, Wyoming, Oregon, Vermont, Illinois,... read more
“Northeast Kingdom Today and Tomorrow:” What does Progress look like?
Over the last few months VCRD has been working with the Northeast Vermont Development Corporation to convene a dialogue in the Northeast Kingdom on “Managing Change for the Best Future of the NEK.”  We facilitated the “NEK Today and Tomorrow... read more
Front Porch Forum Will Be Expanded to Every Vermont Town that Wants It
Recent road construction in Huntington in July, 2013 - photo taken by John LoCicero All of this rain has reminded me how important it is that our Vermont Digital Economy Project will bring Front Porch Forum to every town in Vermont that wants one.... read more
Civility and Invitation
I was recently invited to participate in a panel on Civility for the National Endowment on the Humanities and the Vermont Bar Association, and it made me think of the challenges we see in rural towns in a different light. When the Vermont Council... read more
Video ~ Paul Costello talks about VCRD's work
Paul Costello, Executive Director, joins Comcast Newsmakers to discuss VCRD's work.
Civility & Political Discourse in Vermont: How do we compare the the nation?
Paul Costello served on the panel of this forum about Civility was hosted in Montpelier on June 1, 2013 by the Vermont Bar Association in partnership with the ABA Division for Public Education & The Vermont Humanities Council. We've posted... read more
Interview with Paul Costello
Reproduced here with permission, this interview appeared in the June-July 2013 issue of Vermont Property Owners Report, a bimonthly subscription newsletter about Vermont and Vermont real estate. For more information, call 802-229-2433, or visit www.... read more
Video ~ Paul Costello on Bill Doyle's TV show
In this 30 minute video, Paul talks about Vermont's investments in farm and forest enterprises and the history of the Working Lands Enterprise initiative.
Two Important Developments: Working Lands and Farm Bill
As a neutral policy and community development convener, VCRD is rarely directly connected to legislative matters but we are excited today about two important developments! ******* First, as the dust settles on the 2013 Vermont legislative session... read more
Keeping The Youth in Vermont
I’ve been struck by census data on rural communities that shows that some rural towns across the country are rapidly urbanizing and others are losing population, especially young people. Vermont is ranked as one of the two oldest states in the... read more
“Traditional” vs. “Future” Vermont: Is there really a divide?
I was interviewed by a local TV program recently on the work of VCRD. The host thought it was interesting that our organization was working this year to support farm and forest business development, which he saw as supporting “traditional Vermont... read more
What's New at VCRD: Community Visits
Vermonters across the state know that local action makes our communities vibrant. But local action often needs support from regional, state and even federal levels to achieve goals for prosperity. To respond to this need in Vermont, the Vermont... read more
Costello Commentary: Celebrating Rutland’s creativity, innovation
The city of Rutland has a proud history of economic innovation and cultural creativity — and has a tremendous leadership team of volunteers who are advancing that tradition today. The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) announced this week... read more
Costello Commentary: Vermont’s Digital Heroes
By Paul Costello The power of broadband is not in the pipe—infrastructure is but a necessary precondition—it is in the creativity of those who use it. The broadband dialogue in Vermont has been all about deficit—and rightly so. But with our focus... read more
Costello Commentary: Investing in Vermont's working landscape
In early December over 300 farmers and foresters, policy and nonprofit leaders, innovative entrepreneurs, business owners and advocates, packed the State House, attracted by the prospect of a new approach to saving Vermont’s Working Landscape.... read more
Costello Commentary: Working lands futures
Paul, VCRD Executive Director, reflects on his cross-country bike trip and the working landscape effort we are embarking on. 2010 - Early this summer I rode my bike from the west coast home to Vermont. Covering over 3,000 miles of rural America,... read more