Vermont Dollars Vermont Sense. A handbook for investors, Businesses, Finance Profesionnals, and Everybody Else
Tis is the ﬁrst in what we hope will be a series of state-spe-ciﬁc handbooks to spur local investment across the United States. Each handbook will be ﬁlled with local examples and information, modeled on this ﬁrst edition focused on local investing in Vermont.Vermont is an appropriate place to start this series. Vermonters have long been mindful about preserving their small communities, and protecting and strengthening the local businesses that give their communities such unique character. One of the ways they have done this is by vot-ing with their wallets. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that Vermonters purchase the most local food per capita in the country. Vermont’s chapter of Businesses for Social Responsibility has the most mem-bers of any state—not just per capita, but in total. Small, local businesses are still the rule in Vermont, rather than the exception. ravel down just about any Main Street in the state and instead of a long line of predictable, any- where-ville national chains, you’ll ﬁnd door after door of proud local stores.Vermont also enjoys a rich assortment of ﬁnancial inno-vations, which are presented in the case studies that follow. Its historic culture of frugality, self-reliance, and creativity led entrepreneurs like Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenﬁeld to ﬁnance their new ice cream business with a 1970s equiva-lent of crowd-sourced ﬁnancing: Vermont everyday inves-tors were given the opportunity to buy local stock in the company. Tis same trend continues today: the state’s newcrop of cyber-geeks is designing crowdfunding platforms; the state’s largest city, Burlington, is using its bonding authority to make sure aﬀordable housing is available for its residents; and the state is leveraging its own bank deposits to make it possible for businesses to invest in renewable energy.