I tell you what….I’ve visited hundreds of cities, and been blown away by many, but Burlington, VT is so way up on the list….and the reasons are legion. There’s a super bad Campus Kitchen at UVM (that partners with our friends at FeelGood). The Vermont Food Bank has a superior community kitchen that trains folks and feeds the soul of their city. BOTH Magic Hat and Switchback breweries continue to demonstrate the social enterprise ethos by paying good wages, promoting green practices and re-investing profit back into the community. City government and particularly Bruce Seifer, the Dir. of the Office of Economic Development provide one of the most advanced examples of how cities can THRIVE when they embrace the “small is smart, local business first” manta that too many mock, when they should be emulating.
But one of the things I dig the most is the amazing Intervale Center, right in the center of town. Bold, Smart, Growing, Green and Loved by all, the Intervale is a take your breath away example of a communities vision come true. Led by Glenn McRae and a solid gold staff, they are always up for getting down. Check it OUT.
Post Script–While in Burlington, I did a presentation with Michael Shuman, the Co-Founder of Balle, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. He is an amazing thinker, and the work they are doing to help communites and elected officials GET the power of local business is right in sync with the goals of the V3 Campaign—help/elect people who are not burdened by the false, boring divide between .com and .org. The future is coming, and it lies in the middle.