Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Council on Rural Development, joined by partners Efficiency Vermont and Green Mountain Power, announced Friday that Middlebury will be the second community to participate in the Climate Economy Model Communities Program. The program, named by a local planning team the Greater Middlebury Community Climate Economy Initiative, will hold a kick-off event and community dinner on Monday, September 18. This event will launch a process for residents to identify and advance priorities that strengthen the community in the face of climate change, including measures to improve economic opportunity and affordability.
“We are excited to bring this program to Middlebury,” noted VCRD’s Program Director, Jon Copans. “This community already has a strong track record of action around climate issues and a thriving local economy. This program provides a great chance to come together to brainstorm and select new initiatives that strengthen the community and model state-of-the-art rural development in an age of climate change.”
“It is so great to see this momentum build, creating action that will empower and strengthen communities to address climate change,” said Mary Powell, Green Mountain President and CEO. “Working together there is so much we can accomplish, as we transform our energy system to one that is home, business, and community based, and show how Vermont can lead the way.”
“We are excited to continue the efforts of this important program in Middlebury,” said Karen Glitman, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “There are great opportunities to increase the sustainability and resiliency of this community through energy efficiency improvements. By engaging with residents, businesses, and our partners we can have an even greater positive impact.”
Based on an application from local citizens along with support from the Select Board, the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD), with partners Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont, selected Middlebury to be the second community to participate in the new Climate Economy Model Communities Program.
“This program represents a great opportunity for our town and surrounding communities to rally behind an economic vision for the future,” noted Select Board Chair Brian Carpenter. “I am looking forward to seeing what ideas our community comes up with through this process.”
“The combination of a great town with active and engaged citizens, VCRD as a proven facilitator, and the great resources available from Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, and other possible partners represent great potential as we kick off this effort,” noted the local Chair of this effort, Former State Representative Steve Maier. “This will allow for a focus not only on new community initiatives, but also on ways to make efficiency and renewable generation projects more easily attainable for homes and businesses in the community.”
“Those communities that develop the innovative models for addressing climate change and increasing economic vitality will thrive as our state, nation, and world all unite to tackle this global challenge,” noted Robin Scheu, State Representative and
Executive Director of the Addison County Economic Development Corporation. “This program provides an inclusive process for Middlebury to come together to brainstorm, prioritize, and implement innovative solutions.”
The kick-off event will feature eight forums on different topics that were developed by a planning committee made up of local residents. There will also be a free community dinner (see the full schedule below). Joining community members at the Kick-Off and dinner will be an invited Visiting Team of Federal, State, business, and non-profit leaders from around Vermont who come to listen and learn about what is happening in Middlebury and to provide some reflection about what they have heard. In subsequent months, the community will gather again to choose from a list of possible action ideas brainstormed by local residents, and then will form task forces to implement the chosen initiatives.
The Greater Middlebury Climate Economy Initiative is a community-driven process with local leaders, the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD), Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont to cultivate economic development, innovation, and affordability in the face of climate change. The Climate Economy Model Communities Program is made possible thanks to financial support from VLITE, the High Meadows Fund, and VCRD’s donors.
ALL members of the greater Middlebury community are invited to participate.
Source: VCRD 9.1.2017. VCRD is a non-profit organization supporting the locally-defined progress of Vermont’s rural communities. http://vtrural.org.