VBSR Member News Round Up – 4/11/24

Beta Technologies: The president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Reta Jo Lewis, recently toured the Beta Technologies electric aircraft manufacturing facility that it helped build with a $169 million loan. She wanted to see how the loan the bank provided to Beta was being put to use, creating jobs and producing products for export, the mission of the bank. She was pleased with the progress she saw: “You’re talking with a company that’s all about the greening of aviation…the men and women who are transforming aviation. How can you not be excited?…Vermont is the place that is going to be one of the key drivers of the future of aviation, done here at Beta.” Learn more in this article.

Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront: It has been years in the making, but the Champlain Street Park Improvements project has a grand opening end in sight for this summer. The “pocket park” rehabilitation is an effort led by VBSR member Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront. What is a pocket park and why do they matter? In a small footprint, they integrate public recreational spaces into cities, increasing accessibility to green spaces while mitigating heat island effects, aiding in stormwater management, and attracting and providing habitat for urban wildlife, especially birds and pollinators. Learn more this article.

Reframe Lab, LLC: Starting last November, in partnership with Reframe Lab, VBSR started offering a new free program – ClimateReadyVT – designed to help small businesses in Vermont adapt to our changing climate and prepare for the next climate-related business disruption. As we approach the final session of the program, Peter Plumeau of Reframe Lab has provided an overview that includes the structured change management and design thinking principles at play as we work with small businesses to tackle multi-faceted challenges – while working with minimal time and resources. Learn more on their website.

UVM: A recently released report highlights the opportunity for New England to dramatically expand forest protections and sustainably meet the region’s wood product needs by reducing consumption and reorienting production. It calls on New England states to permanently protect roughly 70% of the region’s landscape – a significant increase from the 25% currently protected – while expanding sustainable forest management across two-thirds of New England’s forests. The report is by researchers from Gold Member University of Vermont (UVM) and others including Harvard and UMass. Learn more in this article.

NOFA-VT: NOFA-VT was recently in Washington, DC, advocating with other organic stakeholders from around the country for a farm bill that supports organic farmers, a healthy planet, and a just, equitable food system. The trip was part of the National Organic Coalition’s (NOC) annual fly-in, where members of the coalition take to Capitol Hill to meet with their Representatives and Senators. Over the course of the week, coalition members met with 50 different members of Congress to share NOC’s priorities for the next farm bill. Learn more on their website.

Honey Road and Barr Hill: Two VBSR members have been named as finalists for the 2024 James Beard Awards, the most prestigious honors in the American restaurant industry. Cara Chigazola Tobin of Honey Road, a past nominee, is again a finalist in the Best Chef. The Barr Hill / Caledonia Spirits distillery and cocktail bar is a first-time nominee for Outstanding Bar and is the first Vermont bar to be a James Beard Award finalist in that category. The winners of the 2024 James Beard Awards will be announced at a ceremony Monday, June 10 in Chicago. Learn more in this article.