MONTPELIER, VT – A Summit on the Future of Vermont’s Working Landscape will be held at the Vermont State House on Friday, December 10. The event, hosted by the Vermont Council on Rural Development, will highlight the continuing crisis that is fragmenting the working landscape in Vermont and unveil bold new steps to reverse this trend. The Summit will also launch a new nonpartisan and broad-based partnership to support local agriculture and forestry, grow and attract farm and forest entrepreneurs, and conserve Vermont’s Working Landscape far into the future.
“The decline of working lands has been gradual but cumulative and threatens to undermine Vermont’s distinctiveness, its core brand for tourism and attracting business, and many of the key values that unify the state,” explains VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello. “We need to ensure that Vermont remains the milk-bowl and breadbasket of New England, the source of high value forest products, and a model for the nation in entrepreneurial best practices on the land.”
Last year’s study on the Future of Vermont revealed that the overwhelming majority of residents believe the working landscape is an essential part of our culture. Vermonters want a strong working landscape for all its scenic, cultural, economic, environmental and recreational attributes, However mounting evidence, alarming trends, and a lack of cohesive policy threaten the economic viability of the state’s working landscape.
Despite the challenges, there are tremendous opportunities to reverse the trends. The Summit will bring together state, federal, nonprofit and private sector leaders to join this major campaign.
Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture Roger Albee is a member of the Summit steering committee. “The working landscape is core to Vermont’s history and to its character and culture, today and for the future,” he points out. “I look forward to working with this new partnership to make sure we pass on a healthy and sustainable farm and forest economy to the next generation of Vermonters.”