Buying local is a powerful economic driver: for every $1 spent at a local business, 45 cents is reinvested locally. For every $1 spent at a corporate chain, only 15 cents is reinvested locally. Local First Vermont has been spreading the gospel of localism with its annual coupon book, which has over $3,000 in savings. This year, Vermont localvores can turn to a new mobile app to find deals at their favorite business. We talk about the impact of the Buy Local movement in Vt, and where to find local bargains, and the mobile app.
Wendy Wilson, manager, Local First Vermont
James JT Thompson, CEO, Daft Labs
Chris Morrow, owner, Northshire Books, Manchester, VT
Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, the daily grassroots global news hour, and Bill McKibben, author and founder of the international environmental group 350.org, participated in a public conversation at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph, Vermont on January 14, 2017. They discuss climate change, the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Goodman’s ensuing legal battle when North Dakota authorities unsuccessfully charged her with rioting, McKibben’s experience being spied upon by Exxon, the critical role of independent media, and the importance of movements in making change–especially now. This audio is their unabridged 70 minute conversation (thanks to Chandler Music Hall for the recording). (January 18, 2017 broadcast)
Paul Burns is executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, a position he’s held since 2001. In just the past few years, VPIRG has played a major role in the nation’s first ban on fracking, new regulations on toxics, and the movement to have GMO foods labeled. Previously, Paul worked for 15 years as an attorney, advocate and organizer for PIRGs in New York and Massachusetts. Burns talks about Ralph Nader and the PIRG movement that he launched, why he pursued public interest law, and how he was inspired by Lois Gibbs and her fight for environmental justice in Love Canal. He also discusses the backlash against renewable power in Vermont, toxics, government ethics, clean power, Gov. Phil Scott and Donald Trump. (January 11, 2017 broadcast)
What’s next for single payer health care in Vermont? Dr. Deb Richter, a family medicine physician in Montpelier, Vermont, is a former President of Physicians for a National Health Program. For two decades, Richter has been a leading national and local advocate for single payer health care. When Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the health care bill in 2011, he praised Richter as a leading mover behind the reform effort. Richter discusses her new initiative: enacting publicly-funded universal primary care in Vermont. She also talks about her work with people with addictions, and her reflections on dealing with loss after the death of her son. (January 4, 2017 broadcast)
Dr. Deb Richter, physician and single payer health care advocate
For 48 years, Vt Sen. Bill Doyle has participated in the ebb and flow of Vermont politics from inside the Legislature and from his classroom at Johnson State College. He notes proudly that about 50 of his former students have run for elective office. Doyle, who is now 90, is one of the longest serving state legislators in the US. He has served under seven different governors. Sen. Doyle narrowly lost his re-election in Nov. 2016.
In this Vermont Conversation, Sen. Doyle talks about the high points of his career, his advice to others considering running, and says he is considering running again in 2018. (December 28, 2016 broadcast)
Sen. Bill Doyle, Vermont State Senator, Washington County
Some facts about Vermont’s child care crisis:
- Nearly 80% of infants and toddlers likely to need child care in Vermont do not have access to high-quality programs
- Middle-income families with two children are paying up to 40% of their income on child care.
- Child care workers earn on average less than $25,000, which is less than a livable wage.
What are some solutions to this challenge? Earlier this month the Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality Affordable Childcare released its final report to the governor and legislature. We discuss the findings with Commission members and child care provider. (Dec. 21, 2016 broadcast)
Sarah Squirrell, executive director of Building Bright Futures, member of the Blue Ribbon Commission
Charlotte Ancel, chair of Blue Ribbon Commission, vice president, Green Mountain Power
Paula Nadeau, parent and owner-director of an infant-toddler center for 20 children
Christopher Curtis has dedicated his life to eradicating poverty. Though he has never held elected office, Curtis, staff attorney at Vermont Legal Aid and co-chair of the Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty, has been the force behind many key policy changes made on behalf of low-income Vermonters.He discusses the final report of the Governor’s Council, growing up as the adopted son of parents who later divorced and both came out as gay, and why he keeps fighting for the poor. Whitney Nichols joins the conversation to talk about his experience being homeless in Vermont and his work with Curtis on the Governor’s Poverty Council. (Dec. 14, 2016 broadcast)
Christopher Curtis, staff attorney, Vermont Legal Aid, co-chair, Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty
Whitney Nichols, consumer advocate, member of Governor’s Council
Duncan McDougall quit his job as a globetrotting management consultant in order to help those in need. In 1998, he founded the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF). Today, CLiF has provided free and inspiring literacy programs and brand-new books to low-income, at-risk, and rural children up to age 12 in almost 85% of the communities in New Hampshire and Vermont. McDougall discusses how CLiF is fighting poverty in rural towns and prisons one book at a time. He is joined by several beneficiaries of CLiF’s work. (Dec. 7, 2016 broadcast)
Duncan McDougall, founder and executive director, Children’s Literacy Foundation
Jess Kell, Kids-A-Part program for incarcerated mothers, Lund Family Center
Jamie Kinnarney, principal, Williamstown Elementary School
Journalist and broadcaster Lowell Thomas is best known for dramatizing the story of Lawrence of Arabia. But Thomas had a storied career as a radio broadcaster for CBS, which often originated from Stowe, Vermont, where Thomas loved to ski. Thomas traveled the world in search of his stories, combining his lust for adventure and journalism. This summer, filmmaker Rick Moulton retraced one of Thomas’s trips to Tibet, where he was one of the few westerners to visit. Moulton recounts his odyssey, and the story of Lowell Thomas. (Nov. 23, 2016 broadcast)
Rick Moulton, filmmaker
Eben Bayer discovered something on his family’s Vermont farm that could save the planet: mycelium, the fine white filaments that are part of fungi such as mushrooms, form a bond as dense and strong as commercial adhesives used in plywood. His company, Ecovative, is now literally growing building materials that can replace plywood, Styrofoam, and packing materials. Fortune 500 companies are lining up to use it. Bayer talks about this “disruptive technology” and how it can transform manufacturing and help the environment. (Nov. 23, 2016 broadcast)
Eben Bayer, founder, Ecovative Design
Two senior advisers to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign are out with a new book that they intend as a playbook for progressive activists. Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything (Chelsea Green, 2016) challenges conventional wisdom about how to wage a political campaign. It tells the story of the organizing behind the Sanders campaign: a technology-driven team that empowered volunteers to build and manage the infrastructure to make 75 million calls, launch 8 million text messages, and hold more than 100,000 public meetings—in an effort to put Bernie’s insurgent campaign over the top. The authors reflect on Donald Trump’s victory and suggest a way forward for progressive activists and those who want to advance Bernie’s “political revolution.” (Nov. 16, 2016 broadcast)
Becky Bond and Zack Exley, co-authors, Rules for Revolutionaries
Pres.-elect Donald Trump has declared that climate change is a “hoax.” What are Vermont climate change activists to do? An organizer of a Climate Solutions Summit sponsored by Energy Independent Vermont discusses plans to press ahead on climate issues, and how she will maintain her activism under a Pres. Trump. (Nov. 16, 2016 broadcast)
Shaina Kasper, Vermont state director, Toxics Action Center
Chuck Collins is the great grandson of meatpacker Oscar Mayer. At age 26, He gave away his inheritance and has spent the last three decades mobilizing against inequality.
Collins is now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits Inequality.org. His newest book is Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green, 2016). He is also cofounder of Wealth for the Common Good which has merged with the Patriotic Millionaires, two efforts to organize members of the 1 percent to advocate for fair tax policy, higher wages, and campaign finance reform. (November 2, 2016 broadcast)
Chuck Collins, author, Born on Third Base
On October 8, 2016, a wrong-way driver on I-89 killed five teenagers, four of whom were juniors at Harwood Union High School in Moretown, Vermont, and the fifth was a Waitsfield teenager who had been a student at Harwood through 8th grade. Several of the teenagers who were killed were close friends of my family; my son was their friend and classmate. I reflected on this tragedy in a recent op-ed.
How do you deal with a tragedy of this magnitude? How does trauma affect people? What is the new normal? That is the topic of our Vermont Conversation. My guest in the first half hour is Margaret Joyal, and Brigid Nease is the guest in the second half hour. (October 26, 2016 broadcast),
Margaret Joyal, Director, Counseling and Psychological Services, Washington County Mental Health; on temporary assignment to coordinate recovery process at Harwood Union High School
Brigid Nease, Superintendent of Schools, Washington West Supervisory Union
During the Iraq and Afghan Wars, veterans from the United States crossed the border to Canada seeking relief and refuge from serving in what they viewed as an unjust and immoral war. Peace Has No Borders is a new documentary by Vermont filmmakers Deb Ellis and Dennis Mueller. The film follows a group of these war resisters caught between two countries as they struggle to remain in Canada. Today, little is heard from the veterans who made a stand when the wars were raging. Peace Has No Borders is the story of their efforts to seek refuge and of the people who supported them when they arrived in Canada. (October 19, 2016 broadcast)
Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller, directors, Peace Has No Borders
George Lakey is a long time activist, strategist and trainer for nonviolent movements. He is a co-founder of Movement for New Society, Training for Change, and Earth Quaker Action Team, and the author of nine books. His newest book, Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got it Right, and How We Can Too, explores how the Nordic nations have instituted innovative policies and social movements to gain long-lasting economic justice. (October 5, 2016 broadcast)
George Lakey, author, Viking Economics
There are more options for palliative and end of life care in Central Vermont. Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice is a full-service, not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Association serving 23 communities in Washington and Orange Counties. They are also involved in the community with maternal-child health, long term care, and health promotion services. In 2015, CVHHH served over 2,600 central Vermonters, or about 750 patients per day. We talk about palliative and hospice care in Vermont with a range of providers from CVHHH. (September 28, 2016)
- Jewelene Griffin, RN, Hospice & Palliative Care Program Manager
- Virginia Fry, MA, Bereavement Coordinator
- Jonna Goulding, MD, Director, Palliative and Spiritual Care at Central Vermont Medical Center and Medical Director, CVHHH
- David Zahn, David’s wife, Anci Slovak, was served by CVHHH
Individuals and businesses do not just want to give charity. They want to support social change in creative ways. Businesses are paying employees to volunteer for local nonprofits, offering products for sale that support local organizations, building cutting edge net-zero manufacturing facilities, and individuals are giving money and their expertise to causes they care about. We talk with local entrepreneurs and a philanthropic adviser about creative 21st century philanthropy for change. (Sept. 21, 2016 broadcast – no audio)
Esbert Cardenas, Image Outfitters
Christine Zachai, Forward Philanthropy
Allison Weinhagan, City Market
Harry Khan, Magic Hat Brewery
For more than a half-century, Capstone Community Action (formerly Central Vermont Community Action Council) has been helping Vermonters in need. Today, they serve thousands of people with services including emergency food and fuel, weatherization, business advice, family support and child care. We take a virtual tour of the work of Capstone with their program leaders and several program participants. (Sept. 14, 2016 broadcast)
Dan Hoxworth, executive direct, Capstone Community Action
Eileen Nooney, director, Family & Community Support
Maryanne Miller, director, Head Start & Early Head Start
Michael Deering, Head Start Parent & VP of policy council of
Paul Zabriskie, director, Weatherization program
Kelly Richardson, owner, Sunflower Salon, Waterbury
Arlie Russell Hochschild is professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of nine books, including The Managed Heart: the Commercialization of Human Feeling, and The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. In all her work, she focuses on the impact of large social trends on the individual’s emotional experience.
Her latest book, Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (The New Press, 2016), is based on intensive interviews of Tea Party supporters in Louisiana, conducted over the last five years in the author’s effort to learn why they see, think and feel as they do. The book also delves into the politics of Donald Trump’s supporters. She discusses her most recent book, and also her lifetime body of work. (September 7, 2016 broadcast)
Award-winning filmmaker Bess O’Brien is the director All of Me, a new feature length documentary film focused on the lives of women, girls and some boys who struggle with eating disorders. Bulimia, anorexia, binge eating and other eating disorders are among the most difficult addictions to treat and to cure. The percentage of young girls who start dieting as young as 10-12 years of age has risen dramatically over the last fifteen years. The film will premier in September and tour throughout Vermont this fall (tour dates here).
Bess O’Brien is also the director/producer of the documentary film The Hungry Heart, about prescription drug crisis in Vermont and the compassionate work of Dr. Fred Holmes. The film became as a catalyst for opiate addiction awareness in the state of Vermont. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said, “Every state in the Union should be so lucky to have Bess O’Brien working for them in support of children and families!” (August 24, 2016 broadcast)
Bess O’Brien, filmmaker
Wheel Pad, a new Vermont-based company, is creating eco-friendly temporary accessible housing for people newly using a wheelchair, allowing friends and/or family to provide support until permanent accessible housing can be arranged. Utilizing technology from the design of RV, Wheel Pad is a 200 square foot accessible bedroom and bathroom module
that can be temporarily attached to an existing home. The units can be leased or purchased. Wheel Pad president Julie Lineberger discusses the living challenges confronting people who have just begun using a wheelchair, and this innovative solution that she is taking from Vermont to the rest of the country. (August 24, 2016 broadcast)
Julie Lineberger, president, Wheel Pad
Arnie Gundersen is a nuclear engineer who defended the nuclear industry for 20 years, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants in the US. In 1991, after complaining about lax nuclear safety to his superiors, he was fired, and the industry turned on him. That’s when he and his wife Maggie Gundersen, who worked as a sponsesperson for the nuclear industry, became leading critics of nuclear power, forming FaireWinds Energy Education. Arnie Gundersen now consults on nuclear power issues for the Sierra Club, the State of Vermont, the New England Coalition. This spring Arnie visited Fukushima, Japan, the site of a 2011 nuclear meltdorn. The Gundersens discuss their lives in the nuclear industry, the high personal cost of whistleblowing, the future of nuclear power, and their advice to young people interested in working on energy issues. (August 17, 2016 broadcast)
Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer and nuclear industry whistleblower
Maggie Gundersen, former nuclear industry spokesperson, founder, FaireWinds Energy Education
Vermont has produced many Olympians, including some of the world’s top senior athletes. We talk with two of the world’s top senior athletes about the joys and challenges of competing into their ninth decade, and how it has prepared one of them to confront a life threatening cancer. These athletes compete in the Vermont Senior Games and the National Senior Games and encourage others to join them. (August 3, 2016 broadcast)
Flo Meiler, 82, Shelburne, Vt., participated in 13 National Senior Games (formerly the Senior Olympics), winner of over 702 medals, holds 26 world records in track & field
Barbara Jordan, 80, So. Burlington, Vt., holds several world records in track & field
Elliot Burg, photographer who documented senior athletes, gallery here
The last few weeks have seen police killings of African American men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, and the killings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. These incidents have shined a harsh new spotlight on the issue of race, policing and reform. Mark Hughes, founder of Justice for All, discusses race and racism in Vermont, and how “to ensure justice for ALL through community organizing, research, education, community policing, legislative reform, and judicial monitoring.” (July 20, 2016 broadcast)
Mark Hughes, founder and director, Justice for All
Mountain biking has taken off in Vermont, with estimates that there are as many as 50,000 riders in the state. We discuss the explosion in popularity in mountain biking, its implications for recreation and the economy, and what the future holds for riders with two leaders of the sport in Vermont. (July 20, 2016 broadcast)
Tom Stuessy, executive director, Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA)
Sabra Davison, founder and director, Little Bellas, a mentoring and mountain bike group for girls
Wynona Ward grew up in poverty on a rural back road in Vermont where family violence was common. She and her husband drove long-haul trucks. She began to realize she could combine her vocation as a trucker with the desperate need for victims of domestic violence in rural communities to have access to legal and other services. In 1998, Ward founded Have Justice-Will Travel (HJWT) with a grant from the Vermont Women’s Fund and a fellowship from Equal Justice Works. The idea was simple: HJWT would provide free legal services, with Ward traveling rural backroads in her 15 year old Dodge pickup truck. HJWT is now an innovative, mobile, multi-service program that assists victims of domestic abuse through the legal process, from the initial interview and relief from abuse order through self-sufficiency and independence. Ward speaks about her personal journey growing up with domestic violence and the work that does today throughout Vermont to end generational cycles of abuse. (July 13, 2016 broadcast)
Wynona I. Ward, founder & director, Have Justice-Will Travel
Between 1994 – 2014, half of all Vermont homicides were a result of domestic violence. Steps Against Domestic Violence — formerly known as Women Helping Battered Women — provides services to those affected by domestic violence in Burlington and Chittenden County, Vermont. Established in 1974 as Women’s House of Refuge, StepsVT fielded 4,800 hotline calls in 2015 and provided services including housing, counseling, and education to many more. StepsVT executive director Kelly Dougherty discusses the warning signs of an abuse relationship, the changing face of domestic violence in Vermont, and the four decades of work of her organization. (July 13, 2016 broadcast)
Kelly Dougherty, executive director, Steps Against Domestic Violence
On July 1, 2016, new bias-free policing policies were enacted for all police in Vermont. This followed charges of racial profiling leveled against multiple Vermont police agencies. Capt. Ingrid Jonas of the Vermont State Police is the highest ranking female police officer in the state. She is the Director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs at the VSP, a new position. Jonas is blazing a new path in state’s largest police agency. Until 1977, VSP was an all-male institution, and early efforts at integrating the ranks with women and minorities went badly. Jonas speaks about her own journey from domestic violence activist to police officer, the challenge of diversifying the police and confronting bias, her desire to see more LGBT officers, and how to change the traditionally macho culture of the police. (June 22, 2016 broadcast)
Capt. Ingrid Jonas, Director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs, Vermont State Police
In the wake of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, 1,000 people marched in Burlington, Vermont — and in numerous other cities — in solidarity with LGBTQ people. Achieving marriage equality was a milestone, but the struggle for LGBTQ rights continues. As the New York Times reports, “Since the marriage ruling, several Republican-led state legislatures and Republican governors and federal lawmakers have redoubled their fight against legal protections for people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. So far this year, more than 200 anti-L.G.B.T. bills have been introduced in 34 states.” Kim Fountain, executive director of the Pride Center of Vermont, a “comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and the health and safety of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Vermonters,” speaks about larger effort to achieve safety, dignity and acceptance of LGBTQ people. (June 15, 2016 broadcast)
Kim Fountain, executive director, Pride Center of Vermont
There are approximately 1,500 migrant workers on Vermont’s farms, especially in the dairy industry. Often working up to 80 hours per week, many migrant workers live in isolation on rural farms and earn less than minimum wage. Migrant Justice is an advocacy organization with a mission “to build the voice, capacity, and power of the farmworker community and engage community partners to organize for economic justice and human rights.” On June 13, 2016, Migrant Justice scored a major victory when the Grand Isle Sheriff’s Department agreed to pay nearly $30,000 to settle a case regarding discriminatory treatment against an immigrant dairy worker, Lorenzo Alcudia, who was turned over to Border Patrol after a traffic stop in which he was a passenger. We talk with farmworkers and activists from Migrant Justice. We also speak with a representative from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a nationally known farmworker’s organization that has won landmark agreements with Taco Bell and other major restaurants. (June 15, 2016 broadcast)
Will Lambek, Enrique Balcazar, Gilberto Lopez Morales, Migrant Justice
Gerardo Reyes, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
There is a Vermont connection behind national brands of skin care products such as Estee Lauder, Burt’s Bees, Neutrogena, and Whole Foods. Twincraft Skincare makes soaps. lotions, sunscreen and other products from its manufacturing facilities in Essex and Winooski, Vermont. Twincraft has become a booming business with a special story: the numerous New Americans, many of them refugees who have been relocated to Vermont, who are part of the 200-person workforce. We go on location to company headquarters in Winooski to learn how Twincraft’s commitment to employ a diverse workforce — including senior citizens, non-English speakers, ex-convicts, and others — has translated into success in business, and changed lives.(June 7, 2016 broadcast)
Pete Asch, CEO and owner, Twincraft Skincare
Joel Marquardt, VP Operations
Angela Ibragamova, employee from Azerbaijan
Kaji Rai, employee, refugee from Bhutan
[Part 1 features Asch & Marquardt; Part 2 includes all 4 interviewees]
Paul Bruhn went from becoming a UVM dropout, to managing Sen. Patrick Leahy’s first campaign, to the job he holds now as the executive director of Preservation Trust of Vermont, an organization known nationwide. He has served as director since the nonprofit’s inception in 1980. Under his leadership the Preservation Trust has worked with Vermont communities to preserve nearly 2,000 structures and properties, from churches, barns, and general stores to hotels, town theaters and county courthouses. These formidable efforts have saved and solidified the essential character of Vermont and are revitalizing Vermont villages and downtowns, a critical aspect of the smart-growth framework for the state’s future.
This year Bruhn finally received his degree from UVM — an honorary degree, which notes: “Bruhn has used his talents as an advocate and adviser to preserve the most unique and defining aspects of Vermont and to advocate for a future based on smart land-use development and vibrant community centers. It would be difficult to find a nook or cranny, village or gore in Vermont that has not felt the influence of Bruhn’s vision.”
Bruhn discusses how he engineered Sen. Leahy’s victorious first statewide campaign, to preservation, sprawl, and what he is proudest of. (June 1, 2016 broadcast)
Paul Bruhn, executive director, Preservation Trust of Vermont
Andrew Solomon, Ph.D., is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology, a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center, and President of PEN American Center.
Solomon’s 2012 book, the best-selling Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (Scribner, 2012), tells the stories of families raising exceptional children who not only learn to deal with their challenges, but also find profound meaning in doing so. Far from the Tree has received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction; the J. Anthony Lukas Award and numerous other awards.
Solomon’s latest book is Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change – 7 Continents, 25 Years, which collects his writings about places undergoing seismic shifts — political, cultural, and spiritual. From the barricades in Moscow in 1991 to the rubble of Afghanistan in 2002 to the cautious optimism of Myanmar in 2014, Andrew Solomon provides a unique view into some of the most crucial social transformations of the past quarter-century. (May 25, 2016 broadcast)
Andrew Solomon, author
VBSR Spring Conference 2016
Sonia Kowal is the president of Zevin Asset Management, where she incorporates sustainability issues into investment decision making. Kowal spoke about about impact investing in her keynote talk .
Strategies to Improve Workplace Culture & Include ALL Employees — Dawn Ellis, President of Dawn M. Ellis and Associates, and Vermont Human Rights Commission
Taming the Monster in the Machine: Engaging Employees Around Cyber Security — Kerin Stackpole, Paul Frank + Collins
How to Train Anybody to Do Anything — Andy Robinson, Trainer, Consultant, Author
[May 11, 2016 broadcast — No audio]
A new report, “Where Women Work and Why It Matters,” developed by Change the Story VT paints a disturbing picture of the plight of working women in Vermont. 43% of VT women who work full-time do not make enough to cover basic living expenses. Women who work full-time are disproportionately employed in low-wage jobs – across every age group, at every level of education. And Vermont women are especially vulnerable in their senior years, when their median annual income from Social Security ($10,000) is half that of men ($20,000). The report was backed by the Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Commission on Women and Vermont Works for Women. We discuss the state of working women in Vermont and potential solutions. (May 4, 2016 broadcast)
Tiffany Bluemle, director, Change the Story VT
Marybeth Redmond, director of development & communications, Vermont Works for Women
David Bronner is Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America and producer of other organic body care and food products. The iconic soap brand is noted for its famous label that espouses a philosophy of world peace it calls ALL ONE.
David Bronner is a grandson of company founder, Emanuel Bronner, and a fifth-generation soap maker. Under David and his brother Michael’s leadership, the brand has grown from $4 million in 1998 to just under $100 million in annual revenue in 2015.
David has been a high profile activist on hemp legalization, organics, drug policy reform, GMO labeling, and livable wage. Dr. Bronner’s soap currently features a label advocating “Fair Pay for All People.” Bronner has been arrested in front of the White House for protesting about restrictive hemp laws.
David Bronner talks about his grandfather’s legacy, his company, and his activism. (April 27, 2016 broadcast)
David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s
On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets across the country to demonstrate for a sustainable environment. “By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.” [earthday.org]
On Earth Day 2016, activists and sustainable businesses came to the Vermont State House for a People’s Lobby Day. We speak with participants from two leading Vermont businesses about the role of businesses in advancing environmental goals and the challenges that their own companies face in trying to meet them. [April 20, 2016 broadcast)
Ashley Orgain, Manager of Mission Advocacy, Seventh Generation
Chris Miller, Manager of Social Mission & Activism, Ben & Jerry’s
Shay DiCocco, brand manager, Seventh Generation
In the second half of the show, we discuss the carbon tax and other initiatives to address environmental and climate change goals:
Daniel Barlow, Public Policy Manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
Johanna Miller, Energy Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council
Should communities have more say in where renewable power is located? A group of farmers wrote to the Vermont Legislature this week to defend their ability to locate renewable power on their farms. We talk with a farmer and a solar power provider about some of the challenges in siting renewable power. (April 6, 2016 broadcast)
James Moore, co-founder, Suncommon
Meg Armstrong, sixth generation Essex Junction farm family
When fast food workers walked off their jobs and launched the Fight for $15 in late 2012 in New York City, few people would have predicted that a few years later, the $15 minimum wage would become law. We discuss how the fight for $15 caught fire to become law in California and New York, and beyond. (April 6, 2016 broadcast)
Yannet Lathrop, Researcher and Policy Analyst, National Employment Law Project
In honor of Sunshine Week, a national campaign to promote transparency and freedom of information, we speak with Jenifer McKim, a senior investigative reporter the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.
Since starting in the fall of 2013, her stories on child welfare and homeowner debt have been the recipient of both a 2014 and 2015 “Publick Occurrences” award issued by the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Before joining NECIR, McKim, worked as a social issues and business reporter at the Boston Globe.
Jenifer McKim is the recipient of the New England First Amendment Coalition 2016 Freedom of Information Award, for her series “Out of the Shadows,” which investigated the failings of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Her investigation found that children were dying because of a lack of oversight by this government agency. Her reporting required months of negotiating with public officials, dozens of public records requests and thousands of dollars in fees for those records. McKim also discusses her investigation of Darrell Jones, who has served 30 years following a murder conviction, but has now won a new hearing based on evidence that he did not receive a fair trial. (March 16, 2016 broadcast)
Jenifer McKim, senior investigative reporter, New England Center for Investigative Reporting.
“What would greet President-elect Bernie Sanders after the victory parties die down and residents of Burlington, VT awaken to their first cup of coffee? …The economics of ‘capital strike’ would threaten to trump the verdict of democracy.”
That’s the dark warning from William F. Grover, professor of political science at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. He is the co-author (with Joseph G. Peschek) of the book, The Unsustainable Presidency: Clinton, Bush, Obama and Beyond (December 2014).
Grover discusses the forces that will rise up if a progressive leader such as Bernie Sanders is elected president — and what it will take to counter them. (March 16, 2016 broadcast)
William Grover, professor of political science at Saint Michael’s College, co-author, The Unsustainable Presidency: Clinton, Bush, Obama and Beyond
The Slow Money movement aims to “bring money down to earth” by linking local food initiatives with local investors. Nationally, over $45 million has been invested into 450 small food enterprises around the United States. Twenty-four local networks and 13 investment clubs have formed. We speak with representatives of several different groups in Vermont that are dedicated to investing locally and making money slowly. (March 9, 2016 broadcast)
Will Belongia, Vermont Community Loan Fund
Jeannine Kilbride, Cobb Hill Frozen Yogurt
Janice Shade, Milk Money Vermont
In his book Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority, author Steve Phillips argues that “many progressives and Democrats continue to waste millions dollars chasing white swing voters. In fact, explosive population growth of people of color in American over the past 50 years has laid the foundation for a New American Majority consisting of progressive people of color (23 percent of all eligible voters) and progressive whites (28 percent of all eligible voters) — comprising 51 percent of all eligible voters in America right now.”
Steve Phillips was the youngest person ever elected to public office in San Francisco and went on to serve as president of the Board of Education. He is a co-founder of PowerPAC.org, a social justice organization that conducted the largest independent voter mobilization efforts backing Barack Obama. He discusses the new American majority, and the forces behind Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and prospects for the 2016 election. (March 23, 2016 broadcast)
Steve Phillips, author, Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority (The New Press, 2016)
Tom Stearns launched High Mowing Organic Seeds in 1996, and in its first year sales were $2,000 and he was the sole employee. Twenty years later his company has grown to be one of the top organic seed companies in the U.S., and today has more than 60 employees.
Stearns was named Vermont’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration. He was recognized for growing his company, increasing sales, employee growth and contributing to the local community.
High Mowing Organic Seeds is a farm-based company that produces and distributes vegetable, flower and herb seeds throughout the U.S. and Canada. High Mowing Organic Seeds is the first organic company guaranteeing all of its seeds are non-genetically modified organism verified.
Stearns talks about his journey from being a teenager fascinated with seeds to being part of a burgeoning national local and organic food movement. (March 23, 2016 broadcast)
Tom Stearns, owner and founder, High Mowing Organic Seeds
What is the state of education and reform in Vermont? We review results of Town Meeting Day 2016. Eleven Vermont school budgets failed to pass (compared to over 30 budgets that were rejected two years ago) this year. We look at how education reform is faring, talking about new initiatives around universal pre-K, flexible pathways, Act 46 and school mergers, and how marijuana legalization might affect schools. (March 2, 2016 broadcast)
Nicole Mace, executive director, Vermont School Boards Association
Jeff Francis, executive director, Vermont Superintendents Association
In the midst of one of the warmest winters in memory, how can Vermont adapt to the new realities of climate change? Paul Costello of the Vermont Council on Rural Development has been exploring this issue with community leaders all around Vermont. He has helped lead the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council, which recently issued a five-year report, Progress for Vermont. He argues that Vermont can be a national model for how states and communities thrive in a climate-changed world. (Feb. 24, 2016 broadcast)
Paul Costello, executive director, Vermont Council on Rural Development
Hamilton Davis has been a journalist and policy analyst for more than 50 years. He covered the 1968 and 1972 presidential campaigns for the Providence Journal, and served as an editor at the Burlington Free Press in the 1970s. He lives in Vermont with his wife Candace Page, a retired veteran reporter at the Burlington Free Press. Davis regularly writes about health care reform for vtdigger.org. He reflects on some of his biggest stories: covering the presidential campaigns, Pres. Richard Nixon, his book about corrupt Burlington “super cop” Paul Lawrence, and his advice to young journalists today. Davis also blogs on topics ranging from health, politics, to the Red Sox. (Feb. 17, 2016 broadcast)
Hamilton Davis, journalist