March 2016
Vermont Businesses for 
Social Responsibility
Just Good Business.
Members and Friends:

Welcome to spring! It's a busy season for us: promoting s.r. business practices via our spring conference (May 12th!), work in the State House, Local First Vermont initiatives, and Networking Get-Togethers (click here to register for our next one at Northshire Bookstore on April 13th, or see details below).
And, in our busy season, we need your help! 
Do you have ideas on what you'd like to see at VBSR? Please click here to fill out our brief strategic plan survey and help us chart our course for the future.
Also, as part of our continued partnership with Let's Grow Kids and the Permanent Fund, we're asking you to click here and take this short Employee Child Care Survey, an important issue for both employees and employers.

As always, thank you for making our work possible--and please let us know how we can help you with your triple bottom lines!

Jane Campbell
Executive Director
This Edition of E-news Sponsored By:
Turning Point Center of Chittenden County 
Spring Conference Keynote Announced
Save the Date - May 12 - Registration Opens Next Week 
VBSR's 26th Annual Spring Conference is only 6 weeks away! This year, we're thrilled to welcome Sonia Kowal as our keynote speaker. As president of Zevin Asset Management, Sonia Kowal is responsible for corporate matters, business practices, strategic planning, and marketing. She is also a member of the firm's investment committee, where she incorporates sustainability issues into decision-making. Kowal considers herself a professional mischief-maker, working to advance social responsibility and instill positive, progressive behavior in corporate monoliths.

In addition to this great keynote, we're happy to announce we'll be featuring an interactive plenary panel featuring new and existing ways to keep your investment dollars local. With 300 attendees, 44 exhibitors, 15 workshops, and a locally sourced breakfast, lunch, and cocktail reception, you don't want to miss this event.

Registration opens Monday. Click here for more information on the conference, including Sonia Kowal's complete bio. 
Nearly 100 Pack Groennfell Meadery
Get-Together provides networking, education... and lots of laughs! 

Nearly 100 VBSR members and friends packed Colchester's Mead Hall on March 22 for a Networking Get-Together hosted by Groennfell Meadery.

Guests were treated to samples of Groennfell and Havoc Mead, enjoyed delicious food made with the craft mead, and were treated to an entertaining (and a tad inspiring) talk from Ricky the Meadmaker on why (and how) their business supports Vermont's water quality initiatives and the importance of having a space where all walks of life can gather.

Thank you to everyone who attended this great evening of networking and education. Check out the photos here!  
Earned Paid Leave Passes, GMO Labeling Survives
Thank you VBSR members! 
VT Statehouse These last several weeks have been exciting ones at the Vermont State House. We are just past the halfway point in the session and legislators have been working hard on bills dealing with health care, renewable energy, and economic development. VBSR is proud to have a number of high profile victories so far this session, and these successes would not be possible without the dedication and efforts of our members.
Earlier this month, Gov. Shumlin signed H.187, the earned paid leave bill, into law. This concludes a four-year campaign by VBSR and our members to set a minimum standard of earned paid time off for hard-working Vermonters. VBSR was instrumental in shaping this legislation so that it works for both employers and employees. We are proud that Vermont is the fifth state in the country to pass such a law. This historic moment was even recognized by President Obama in an official statement from the White House, urging other states to pass their own earned paid leave bills.
We've also seen a dramatic turnaround in the prospects of Vermont's GMO labeling bill, which was signed into law in 2014 and is scheduled to take effect on July 1. An attempt by the U.S. Congress to pass a voluntary labeling bill that would have preempted Vermont's right to label food with genetically engineered ingredients stalled in the U.S. Senate two weeks ago. We expect further attempts to erode Vermont's law after federal lawmakers return from the Easter break but we are thankful for the strong support from Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Bernie Sanders for standing up for Vermont values.
When VBSR lobbied for GMO labeling two years ago, we expected that Vermont's actions would help move the needle on this issue nationally. And with our law just a handful of months away from enactment, we are now seeing how true that is. Food giant General Mills announced this month that it would begin labeling all of its GMO food because of the Vermont law, joining other national food chains such as Campbell Soup Company and candy company Mars.
None of this progress would be possible without VBSR members who believed that these policies were important, not just for Vermont, but also the rest of the country. They took time out of their busy work lives to come to the State House, contact their legislators, and help push these public policy changes along. As a VBSR member, your voice has an impact and your participation matters. THANK YOU! 
VBSR Coming to a Town Near You
Join us in April
VBSR's Event Calendar is FILLING UP FAST! Check out these upcoming events for a chance to network, learn new CSR techniques and/or join our partners in advocating for a cleaner planet.

April 13, Manchester Center
VBSR members and friends are invited to join us for an evening networking and education at Northshire Bookstore in beautiful Manchester Center! Join us as we "Get-Together" to talk CSR, sustainability, and the importance of supporting your local business community. This event is open to the public and is free for anyone interested in the triple-bottom-line approach to business.


Thank you to our sponsors, Greenvest, GVH Studio Inc, Let's Grow Kids, Northshire Grows, Phantom Laboratory, RGS Energy, TruexCullins and Vermont Community Loan Fund!
April 22, Montpelier 
Climate change means big changes for Vermont and our economy. This Earth Day, we need you to help move Vermont to a clean energy future.

This event will feature business leaders from across Vermont and employees from some of the state's biggest socially responsible companies advocating in support of bold action to address climate change and move Vermont away from fossil fuels. Businesses have an important role in advocating for a cleaner and greener economy, and your voice is vital to supporting these policies at the State House.

Participants will receive advocacy training and policy briefings directly from seasoned State House lobbyists working in the realm of clean energy. As we connect you with your state representative or senator to discuss the importance of Vermont achieving its clean energy goals. Attendees also have the option of appearing in a press event or testifying before a legislative committee.

Employees from Vermont companies like Ben & Jerry's and Seventh Generation have already committed to attending. Do you worry that climate change threatens Vermont's economy and way of life? Are you excited about the opportunities for the state in investing in clean and sustainable energy resources?

Contact for more information on how to participate in this important event.
Buy Local Book Goes Statewide, Mobile
New Format, Even Better Value 

We're going mobile! That's right, the 7th edition of the Buy Local Resource Guide and Coupon Book will give Vermonters the option of purchasing either the printed book OR an electronic version through our new mobile app. Advertisers benefit by having their coupons, stories and ads appear on both platforms for a full year and the ability reach a larger audience. 
We're going statewide! The next Buy Local Book will feature a new section called Explore Vermont. This section will highlight about a dozen Vermont towns beyond Addison, Washington and Chittenden counties. For each town, we'll include a write-up and photos -- plus a list of things to do and a set of coupons, so Vermonters can save money while they explore what our own state has to offer.
Be a BLB Sponsor! We're offering a new package for businesses interested in sponsoring the Buy Local Book. BLB sponsors will receive $2,000 worth of advertising or books, choosing from options including:
  • one coupon ($240)
  • one full-page ad ($625)
  • one full page story ($625)
  • one merchant profile ($100)
  • one case of 26 Buy Local Books ($520) to give employees or clients as gifts
  • your logo listed with other BLB sponsors on the inside front cover of the book ($500).
The total cost for being a sponsor is $2,000. Sponsorships are limited to 10 businesses (must be a VBSR member). If you're interested in sponsoring this book, learning more about Local First Vermont, or placing a coupon in next year's edition, please contact Wendy today
David Goodman talks with Tom Stearns  
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.

Click here to hear stories more of Tom's story and other recent shows, including:  

Thank you to our sponsors!
Using the Marketplace for Staff Development
Save, Grow, Plan, Learn. 
When budgets get tight, great employee benefits like development and training can be challenging to keep up and hard to justify. Using VBSR Marketplace Trade Dollars to train and reward employees is an easy and smart way to invest in your staff while protecting (and often bolstering) the budget.

Currently, there are several workshops, seminars, conferences, and leadership trainings available in the VBSR Marketplace. Here are just a few of the ways you can focus on the PEOPLE part of your triple-bottom-line. (Complete event descriptions will appear once you log in.)  
Would you like to list one of your events or workshops? Log-in to post your offer(s) or contact Amy to get signed up to start using the VBSR Marketplace to Save, Grow, Plan and Learn today. 
VBSR Releases Website RFP
Letter of interest due March 31 
In the interest of continual improvement, VBSR is seeking Letters of Interest as part of an RFP process for a new website!

This is an exciting time for us, and we ask you to pleases share this information with anyone you might think is interested. We've reached out to current VBSR members but could use your help spreading the word as far as you can in case we missed anyone. Click here to download and/or take a look at the RFP.

If you want to be part of the process, please submit at Letter of Interest ASAP! 
Member Events
Upcoming Member Events
April 2: SEVCA's First Fools' Run Couch-to-5k Event (Southeastern Vermont Community Action)
April 6: Mimi & Dona Screening at Hilton (Champlain Community Services, Vermont PBS) 
April 15:  2016 Spring Symposium Series: Dyslexia (Stern Center for Language and Learning)

Log-on to VBSR's website to post an event. Forgot your password? Send us an email! 
Member Jobs
Recently Posted Member Jobs 

  • Log-on to VBSR's website to post a job. Forgot your password? Send us an email!

    Looking for an internship? Click here for our most recent listings. 
    Member News  
    We want your news and press releases!! Submit or post a story on our Facebook page or send us an email...

    News items will be posted in the "Member News" section of our website and will be considered for inclusion in VBSR's monthly E-News.

    High Mowing Founder Named Vermont Small Business Person of the Year

    Vermont Business Magazine The Small Business Administration announced the 2016 Vermont small business award winners today. The top prize, the Vermont Small Business Person of the Year, is awarded to Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds founder and owner. He is being recognized for growing his company, increasing sales, employee growth and contributing to the local community. High Mowing Organic Seeds is a farm-based company located in Wolcott that produces and distributes vegetable, flower and herb seeds throughout the US and Canada. High Mowing Organic Seeds is the first organic company guaranteeing all of its seeds are non-genetically modified organism verified.

    Stearns launched his company in 1996, and in its first year sales were $2,000. By 2001, business had grown to such an extent Stearns began to contract with other local farmers to grow his seeds. 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. CONGRATS TOM! Learn More

    Change The Story Releases "2016 Status Report: Women, Work and Wages in Vermont"
    CTS recently published the first in a series of briefs to be published on topics related to women's economic well-being. Much of the data in the briefs is either new or not regularly collected or published.

    All of the data is specific to Vermont, and all is critical -- not just in what it reflects about women, but in its implications for the entire Vermont economy.
    Click here to check out the brief.

    CSWD and Launch "The Art of Recycling"

    The Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD), with a grant from, has launched a first-of-its-kind project fusing art and recycling. Local artists (including VBSR members Mary Lacy Art and YeloDog Design) were invited to paint murals on eight of CSWD's 22-foot-long recycling containers in order to create a more beautiful, engaging recycling experience while drawing attention to the community's efforts to reduce waste.The project  began in early January 2016 and is expected to be completed in mid-March.

    This fusion of art and recycling creates containers that are fully functional, highly interactive, mobile works of art. Rotating between 5 of CSWD's Drop-Off Centers (Burlington, Williston, Essex, Milton, and Richmond), the containers are used to collect recyclables from the public. Learn More

    Seven Days Wins Nine Awards in Regional Media Competition

    Seven Days, Vermont's free, independent weekly newspaper, won nine awards in this year's New England Better Newspaper Competition -- including top honors for its government reporting, video journalism and design. The contest is organized by the New England Newspaper and Press Association; winners were announced at NENPA's annual convention last month in Boston.  Learn More

    New Resource for Farmers: A Legal and Regulatory overview of On-Farm Biodiesel Production in Vt 

    A new report, On-Farm Biodiesel Production in Vermont: Legal and Regulatory Overview, conducted by the Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE) at Vermont Law School reviews all Vermont state and federal regulations related to on-farm biodiesel production. Commissioned by the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, the report aims to inform farmers about the potential laws and regulations surrounding on-farm biodiesel production. Learn More
    Children's Literacy Foundation to Award Nine Schools $25,000 in Literacy Programs and New Books 
    The Children's Literacy Foundation (CLiF) will award Year of the Book grants to nine New Hampshire and Vermont elementary schools for the 2016-2017 school year. The grant provides $25,000 in literacy programs, events, support, professional development, and new books to each school over the course of one school year.

    Four New Hampshire and five Vermont elementary schools will receive the grant. In New Hampshire, these are Belmont Elementary School, Maple Avenue Elementary School in Claremont, Bethlehem Elementary School, and Russell Elementary School in Rumney. Learn More 

    Larger, Faster,Better: Villanti Printers Announces Installation of Top-of-the-Line Heidelberg Press 
    Family-owned Villanti Printers, the largest sheet-fed printer in Vermont, recently purchased a shiny new Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 6+L press. It will be installed in late March and up and running by the end of April.

    Villanti believes in print, in print that lives and breathes, in colors that shine from the page, in images that leap to life. Installing the new high-tech, high-speed Speedmaster XL is, for Villanti, about commitment: to its employees, to its community and, most of all, to producing the best printed material possible.  

    The press comes equipped with Prinect Image Control, enabling Villanti to control color throughout prepress and the pressroom. "Image Control is the ultimate tool that allows us to manage color from start to finish," says Kat Villanti. "It gives us the ability to tweak and make adjustments along the way to achieve the highest-quality finished product for our partners." Learn More
    This Edition of E-news Sponsored By:
    The VBSR Marketplace 
    Thank you VBSR Champion Members for your ongoing support!


       Ben and Jerry'sGardener's Supply
    as of 12/17/12
    Marketing Partners New Chapter newRenewable NRG 8/2013

    S      VSECU
    At VBSR,
    Our mission
    is to foster a business ethic in Vermont that recognizes the opportunity and responsibility of the business community to set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of our citizens. We are committed to a multiple bottom line approach to business that values people, planet and profit.


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    Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
    255 South Champlain Street, Suite 11
    Burlington, Vermont 05401
    (802) 862-8347