About the Working Landscape Partnership Program
The Vermont Council on Rural Development, which founded and led the Council on the Future of Vermont, is following up on key findings from that comprehensive study by building the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership made up of individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing the farm, forest and value-added natural resource economy as a vital foundation for the future of Vermont. Since its inception in December of 2010, the Partnership has grown to over 570 individuals and 200 organizations/businesses and is still growing. They built the Action Plan: Investing in our Farm and Forest Future which serves as the guiding platform for the work ahead and asserts that the working landscape be a defining principal for Vermont state policy.
In 2012, the Partnership successfully promoted the development of the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Fund with the passage of the Working Lands Enterprise Bill that will spur start-ups, support growing businesses, and build infrastructure to support jobs, communities and the landscape of Vermont. Today, we are working to promote the growth of this fund and to support and celebrate a new generation of businesses on the land.
Add your name to the growing list of farmers, foresters, businesses, non-profit organizations, state, federal, and local leaders, and others who support the Action Plan and are interested in the vitality of Vermont's farm and forest future. We need your help --> Join the Partnership Today!
Reports and Inputs
- State House Summit ~ As a step in supporting the progress of farm, forest and value-adding businesses in Vermont, VCRD held a Working Landscape Summit at the Vermont State House on December 10, 2010 which brought together over 300 Vermonters – state, federal, nonprofit, and community leaders – to review the draft Working Landscape Platform. The Working Landscape Partnership launched with nearly half of the Participants joining by the end of the day.
- In 2011, VCRD built the Vermont Working Landscape Council to serve as the leadership team of the Partnership and refine and promote the Action Plan.
- The Vermont Working Landscape Action Plan: "Investing in our Farm and Forest Future", built by the Partnership and adopted by the Working Landscape Council in September 2011, outlines steps to make Vermont a national leader and to inspire, attract, and nurture a creative new generation of food, farm, and forest entrepreneurs as a foundation for the future prosperity of Vermont communities.
The Action Plan was developed based on months of deliberation and a comprehensive look at:
- Statistical Indices on Vermont’s Working Landscape
- Historical Digest of Recommendations for Vermont Working Landscape Policy ~ a digest of the last three decades of policy findings related to diversification, value added development, conservation and land use planning
- Strategies for Promoting Working Landscapes in North America and Europe, August 2010, Cheryl Morse of the University of Vermont ~ international models of working landscape policy and investment
- The Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bill turned the Action Plan recommendations into legislative language for consideration by Vermont lawmakers. The bill (H.496) passed the House and the Senate, and was signed by Gov. Shumlin in May 2012 as Act 142.
- We’ve printed handout cards (they are 5.5” x 8.5”—see sample here) and would be happy to send you some to distribute at meetings, conferences, or other events.
Working Landscape Council Members
VCRD welcomed the collaboration of individual and organizational stakeholders that served on the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership Council (VWLPC) in 2011 and 2012. Council members served as the leadership team to rally members of the Partnership, stakeholders, and the people of Vermont to promote the ideas and investments of this final Action Plan. Here's the list of Council members:
Bob Ackland, VCRD Board, Recreation Development Consultant
Cliff Allard, Allard Lumber Company
Roger Allbee, Retired Secretary of Agriculture, Chair
Marie Audet, Blue Spruce Farm
Deb Brighton, Natural Resource Economist
Greg Brown, VCRD Board, Retired Regional and State Planning Leader
India Burnett Farmer, Northeast Vine Supply & Rutland Area Farm and Food Link
Peter Condaxis, Ryegate Power Station
Jacques Couture, Couture’s Farm, Sugarhouse and B&B
Allison Hooper, Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery
Andrew Kehler, Jasper Hill Farm
Gil Livingston, Vermont Land Trust
John Meyer, Bardill Land and Lumber Company
Robin Scheu, Addison County Economic Development Corp.
Michael Snyder, Commissioner of VT Forest Parks and Recreation
Will Stevens, Golden Russet Farm
VCRD staff facilitated the work of the Council:
Paul Costello, Executive Director
Margaret Gibson McCoy, Office and Communications Manager