Gov. Phil Scott announced in May of 2022 that $4,549,313 in grants from the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) had been awarded to 24 municipalities and nonprofit organizations around the state for projects to enhance outdoor recreation and foster economic growth.
Over the next two years, the VOREC Community Grant Program will bring to life 24 outdoor recreation projects. In the May issue of Vermont Sports, we wrote about 11 of the projects, as well as three grants that will go to statewide organizations such as the Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance, the Town of Randolph and the Vermont Huts Association, and the Vermont River Conservancy and White River Partnership.
In this issue, we’re excited to showcase ten more towns and organizations that make up the 2022 recipients.
As Jackie Dagger, VOREC Program Manager, notes: “The grant program is intended to support VOREC’s vision of a network of communities across Vermont supported by thriving local economies that are organized on five key principles: 1) To grow outdoor recreation-related business, 2) Increase participation in outdoor recreation among all demographics, 3) Strengthen the quality and extent of outdoor recreation resources, 4) Increase stewardship of outdoor recreation and environmental quality and 5) Promote and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation.”
VOREC is a network of public/private partners organized by the state to sustain, grow and drive development in Vermont’s outdoor recreation sector. The grant program was established in 2018 with the passage of Act 194 to be a pilot for supporting Vermont communities to develop their economies with outdoor recreation at the center. In 2019, $100,000 in grants were awarded to two communities. Newport received $35,000 to build a trail connecting Prouty Beach and Bluffside Farm.
The town of Randolph was awarded $65,000 to help the Ridgeline Outdoor Collective (then called RASTA) build The Trail Hub information center, as well as signage, maps and trails.
In 2020, a new round of grants awarded $200,000 to seven additional communities. All nine VOREC communities were featured in “The New Basecamps,” an outdoor recreation and business guide that appeared in Vermont Sports thanks to a partnership between the Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance (VOBA), the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing (VDTM) and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
Last May, Vermont Sports profiled 14 of the grant recipients. This guide features the remaining 10 communities that are putting the VOREC Community Grants to work. And there will be more to come: Governor Phil Scott recommended that another $5 million be allocated to the program and the legislature has approved this amount for another year.
Athletes know this area as the home of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, one of the country’s best-known training grounds for cross-country skiers, runners, and rowers. The Center hosts elite training camps and many of its athletes have become members of national and Olympic teams.
But Craftsbury Outdoor Center is also a place where just about anyone can check into one of the cabins or bunk rooms, enjoy farm-fresh, organic meals and explore the more than 105 kilometers of trails groomed for Nordic skiing as well as close to 20K of trails for fatbiking and snowshoeing. Many of those trails connect to other trail networks that snake through the hills and meadows surrounding the Highland Lodge and the towns of Craftsbury and Greensboro. Before the snow flies, many trails are open for hiking, running and mountain biking. The scenery alone is a reason to go: sweeping vistas of high meadows and the mountains beyond as well as the scenic town of Craftsbury.
The town is a classic with white clapboard buildings and split-rail fences bordering the Common. It is also home to Sterling College, known for its experiential education programs in outdoor education, sustainable agriculture and food systems, ecology, and environmental humanities. The college was founded in 1958 on the same values that informed Outward Bound.
The new VOREC grant will allow the college to create a wellness center and build out its bike repair service, as well. “Our work program’s gear repair specialists will be able to offer low-cost or free basic bike and gear repairs that will help our community enjoy the outdoors in a safe, more affordable, and enjoyable way,” notes Josh Bossin, Associate Dean of Work-Experiential Learning and Faculty in Outdoor Education.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: A $200,000 VOREC grant will help the town and Sterling College renovate an existing building to create a public community wellness center and outdoor recreation hub. The new wellness center will include a climbing gym, space for exercise and recreation programming, workshops, equipment rentals and a bike repair service—offered on a sliding scale to keep it affordable. The center will also be a trail hub, with wayfinding and maps showcasing the area’s three trail networks.
Eat/Play/Stay/Shop: The relatively new Craftsbury Farmhouse has glamping tents as well as suites above the Blackbird Bistro where you can find such cleverly named dishes as “Hipster from another Mister” (marinated tofu, cheddar and pesto on a ciabatta roll.) It’s also attached to a spa, Whetstone Wellness. The Highland Lodge is a classic inn with a vast network of trails out the front door. In the winter, you can even ski from there to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center’s network of trails. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center also has cabins and bunkrooms —heated mainly by sustainable sources such as solar and wood —and serves locally-raised fresh food. For more good eats stop in at Craftsbury’s two general stores: the Genny or the C Village Store for Friday night specials.
Halfway between Hyde Park and Hardwick, Wolcott is a town you may have passed through on your way to paddle the Green River Reservoir and camp at one of its remote campsites or while skiing the Catamount Trail.
For many years the town of Wolcott was defined by the railroad that ran through it. Now, with the rebirth of that railbed as the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT), Wolcott is poised to enter a renaissance.
The completion of the LVRT (scheduled to be done by late fall) helped to jump-start new investment in community wastewater, improved cellular service, and updated zoning. In partnership with Trust for Public Land and Northern Rivers Land Trust, the town is working on acquiring a new 706-acre Community Forest that is adjacent to the Wolcott Elementary School. It’s a short walk to the village center and also borders the LVRT.
Seven miles of the LVRT run through Wolcott and sections of it will become part of the state-long Velomont Trail for off-road riding. Already, mountain biking is one of the most popular recreational activities in Lamoille County, but there currently is no singletrack in Wolcott. A proposed new trail network for the Community Forest will bring professionally built mountain biking trails to Wolcott and become the newest addition to the 19 community trail networks that are part of the Velomont Trail Collective. In addition, Bike Busters at Wolcott Elementary School engages school children in fixing up bikes and learning about maintenance, and makes the restored bikes available to those who need them.
The community is also working on plans to revitalize the historic Wolcott School House next to the town office and add a small café.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: A $197,900 grant from VOREC will bring to life the proposed Wolcott Community Forest and support a new multi-use trail network built by Sinuosity. This will also provide a link between the Wolcott Recreational Fields and the school. The proposed trail network for will become the newest addition to the 19 community trail networks that are part of the Velomont Trail Collective.Eat/Play/Stay/Shop: The Green River Reservoir State Park has some of the most sought-after campsites in the state. Reservations should be made ahead of time at vtstateparks.com. For bike repairs or rentals, head to Chuck’s Bikes or Power Play Sports in nearby Morrisville. Wolcott’s organic Sandiwood Farm hosts renowned special on-farm dinners. You can also stay at their dispersed campsites or at one of their rustic cabins (some are insulated for winter use, too.)
Hardwick has been at the crossroads of Vermont’s farm-to-table food revival. It’s the home of the Center for an Agricultural Economy. High Mowing Seeds – the organic seed company – is just down the road in Wolcott and Pete’s Greens is in nearby Craftsbury. The Buffalo Mountain Coop (which recently moved to a new downtown Hardwick location) celebrates and sells local food and its café serves up salads and to-go foods.
These are all good reasons why Hardwick is poised to become a popular waypoint on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT). The LVRT is routed through Hardwick and a new pedestrian bridge will help to draw people off the trail to come into town and enjoy what the town has to offer. A new bike spur loop will also bring riders off the LVRT.
The town was chartered in 1781 and its historic downtown still looks like it could be a postcard. In the warmer months, there’s kayaking on Hardwick Lake or head north to Greensboro to gorgeous Caspian Lake. Hardwick Trails also has six miles of hiking trails and five miles of singletrack mountain biking trails that wind through mixed woodland habitats. Several trails feature interpretive signs and storytelling, making it a great place to take children.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: Hardwick will use its $200,000 VOREC grant to reconstruct a historic pedestrian bridge connecting the community Gateway Park to the downtown center. It will also support an Outdoor Recreation Working Group that will assist local organizations, develop a marketing plan and build partnerships.
Eat/Play/Stay/Shop: Though they may not be fancy, Hardwick’s restaurants pride themselves on good, locally sourced food. Stop in at the pizza standout, Positive Pie. The Village Restaurant has specials such as Jasper Hill Mac ‘n Cheese and the family-owned local favorite, Connie’s Kitchen, has hearty breakfasts. The Kimball House in downtown Hardwick is a classic B&B in an 1890s Victorian downtown.
Yes, Cabot is perhaps best known as the place where Cabot Creamery started in 1919. Cabot Creamery is now a cooperative of farmers from around the state and you can taste their cheeses at its many tasting rooms.
The other thing that Cabot is known for is its growing role as a cycling hub. The Cabot Ride the Ridges Tour held each September (Sept. 11, 2022) features rolling gravel routes ranging from 10K to 100K and stunning scenery. In addition to the town’s own trails, Cabot is centered between the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail and another east/west rail trail, the Cross Vermont Trail, to the south.
One of the goals of the Cabot Trails Committee is to connect those two trails and the new VOREC grant will help achieve that. The town is also developing town forest trails, trails at Burtt Orchards, and making parking improvements for some trails. “We are excited about getting to work, and this grant opportunity will take our trail network efforts to the next level,” said Dana Glazier, Chair of the Trails Committee.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: Cabot was awarded a $62,5000 grant to help create a multi-use non-motorized trail linkage between the Cross Vermont and Lamoille Valley Rail Trails, using as many off-road trails as possible. The grant will help to establish Cabot Village as the hub and create a town-wide trail network. It will also build capacity for trail development and maintenance by purchasing tools and equipment and developing a trail steward program.
Eat/Play/Stay/Shop: There are a few must-dos if you visit Cabot. Stop by Harry’s Hardware. It may be the only hardware store in Vermont that’s as well-known for its attached bar (The Den) with an extensive local beer selection and weekend specials (such as steak with peach and corn salsa served with a local green salad) as it is for its hardware, farm and garden retail space.
In fall, visit Burtt’s Apple Orchard for apple picking, a corn maze and a chance to do an apple slingshot. For comfort food like shepherd’s pie or homemade corn chowder, stop in at the Cabot Village Store.
With five state parks in the 27,000-acre Groton State Forest, ponds like Ricker and Kettle that have paddle-to campsites, cross-country skiing, the year-round Seyon Lodge, and magnificent views from Owl’s Head– Groton is already a gateway for outdoor adventures. Now, the town of Groton is working to better connect the state forest and parks to the village by upgrading Groton’s town-owned portion of the old Montpelier and Wells River Railroad railbed and trail.
The town owns approximately five miles of old railbed trail from the Ryegate town line to the border of Groton State Forest by Ricker Pond. The state owns the remaining five or so miles of the railbed trail which leads to Peacham and Marshfield. In 2020, the state completely resurfaced its portion of the trail, and the town of Groton aims to do the same with the VOREC grant. The rail trail will form one section of the planned Cross Vermont Trail, which aims to create a multi-use path the width of Vermont following the Winooski and Wells Rivers.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: In addition to improving the railbed, the $225,000 grant will add a plowed parking area near the Groton village center to provide an alternative to parking in the state forest. The VOREC grant will also generate a master plan for developing a better connection to the village. The town is also working with engineering students from Norwich University on a feasibility study for a pedestrian bridge across the Wells River to make the connection from the trail to the village more seamless.
Eat/Play/Stay/Shop: Located in the heart of Vermont’s largest state forest, the Seyon Lodge is a year-round lodge that offers simple rooms and features locally sourced meals. Set in Seyon Lodge State Park, it is run by the Vermont State Parks and is a great base camp for exploring the forest on cross-country skis, fatbikes or snowshoes in the winter. The area also has one of the most popular networks of VAST snowmobile trails. The Marshfield Inn is an historic inn a short drive away in Marshfield. For a unique farm stay, try Hollister Hill Farm in Marshfield or the lodge or farmhouse at Millstone Hill in Barre.
Given that Norwich University and Darn Tough, the sock company, are both headquartered in Northfield, it is surprising that this area hasn’t yet been ‘discovered’ as a center for outdoor recreation.
That could change soon. Many years ago, a ski area stood in Northfield. Now, those trails are being revived by the Shaw Outdoor Center at Norwich University. In winter, strap on snowshoes or climbing skins and head up the old trails.
If motorized sports are your thing, Northfield is connected to the VAST trail network, which can take you all the way to Berlin. In summer, hike or bike up Paine Mountain among the wildflowers. The Dog River, with headwaters in Roxbury, flows north to meet the Winooski. Here, you will find Vermont fishing at its finest and several legendary swimming holes along Route 12 provide a chance to cool off. Visit the Dog River Park, for inspiring mountain views, and walk the paths that wind through the natural grasses ending at the river.
The Northfield Town Forest and adjoining Shaw Outdoor Center are hidden gems for hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, skiing and snowshoeing that even many Vermonters are not aware of.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: A VOREC grant of $122,965 will help the town create a wayfinding masterplan. Future maps will include both town forest and Shaw Outdoor Center trails and be available at welcome kiosks and at downtown businesses. The grant will also help restore the Lybrand/Slate Avenue trail and repair damage from storms, including Tropical Storm Irene, that washed out the trail.
The iconic “Hawk Watch” lean-to on the ridgeline was repaired this past year. The VOREC funding will continue the improvement of this area by removing invasive species and restoring a magnificent view to the west. It will also help augment the lending stock of winter recreation equipment at the Brown Public Library.
Eat/Play/Stay/Shop: The Falls General Store located in Northfield Falls offers everything from prepared meals and sandwiches to fine wines. Visit Carrier Roasting on a weekend morning and you may see a flock of bikes and riders lingering over freshly roasted coffee. East Street really comes alive when adjoining business Good Measure Pub and Brewery opens their doors. Outside tables provide views of the surrounding hills and the downtown area. The Common in Northfield is now a welcoming outdoor space thanks to a Better Places grant award. Visit the pizzeria or one of two cafes. The Margaret Holland Inn’s new owners have recently updated this historic inn on Main Street.
You may know Bethel best from passing through on your way north, south, east or west; after all, it is the geographic center of Vermont (and you can’t miss the whimsical 200-foot mural of rainbow and brook trout marking the town’s southern gateway). But Bethel isn’t just a crossroads; it’s a great place to stay a while and explore.
This small town of 2,000 offers a surprising array of amenities and adventures for locals and visitors. You can grab a great slice of pizza or a craft cocktail, watch a free concert, pop into a co-working space, access free downtown Wi-Fi, or pick up groceries and hardware all within walking distance from Main Street. You can also explore ten village parks, forests and green spaces, go fishing or swimming or paddling in the White River or drop into a skate park. From Bethel, it’s easy to connect to the Velomont bike trail, the VAST trails or the White River Water Trails.
Bethel is also something of a learning hub. Take (or teach) classes at Bethel University, a free community pop-up university that runs during the month of March. Courses change each year, but outdoor recreation offerings have included wilderness first aid, campfire cooking, birding, bikepacking, tree identification, snowshoeing and more.
For children Pre-K through 8th grade, Bethel’s White River Valley School is quickly becoming a premiere source for outdoor and experiential education. Tucked into a 73-acre wooded campus, the school is making the outdoors a core classroom. Students build their own outdoor “campsites” and participate in ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) each week. A new Community + School grant is helping the school offer more creative learning opportunities such as middle school camping and paddling trips or rock climbing. It is also expanding facilities to include an on-campus high ropes course and a sugarhouse.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: Bethel’s $331,809 VOREC grant will help string together parks, trails and greenways. It will fund three new trails a 2.5-mile machine-built mountain bike loop, a 0.5-mile universally accessible walking loop, and a 0.5-mile multi-use trail through riparian conservation land. It will also help produce accessible wayfinding and trail signs; benches and bike racks; and digital, print, and tactile maps.
The town will also create a “Better Parks” demonstration and pop-up event kit designed to test and showcase park and trailhead placemaking and activation projects. It will also help to plan and prioritize future investments in accessible recreation, village trail connections, and regional trail system links.
Eat/Play/Stay/Shop: Grab breakfast at HailBrook’s Broken Stove Bakery, lunch at the Bethel Village Sandwich Shop or Cockadoodle Pizza and for dinner try Tozier’s for seafood, Tessie’s Tavern or the Creek House Diner
The Arnold Block has a co-working and community space with daily rates, private offices, meeting rooms, and a fitness studio. Close out the day with a drink in the historic train station that houses Babes Bar. This family-friendly, queer-friendly watering hole offers everything from craft cocktails to hot dogs. It also hosts cribbage tournaments, a social justice reading library, hip hop dance parties and a kids’ corner.
Bent Fishing Tours offers guided trips on the White River and other waters across the state. Gear up for winter ice fishing at the woman-owned Camp Brook Bait Shop. Head to Mills Hardware and Bethel Mills for outdoor gear and to Randolph’s The Gear House for all things bike or ski related.
Ludlow is booming as a ski town. In the past few years Vail Resorts, which owns the Okemo ski area, has invested in upgrading two major lifts at the mountain and recently announced it would be purchasing housing for 30 employees. Mountain bike trails zig-zag down the slopes in the summer and the resort plays host to a variety of activities (ice skating, tubing, disc golf, the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster) year-round. The 750-acre Okemo State Forest includes popular trails like the Healdville Trail (a three-mile hike to the summit of Okemo) and in winter, the Catamount Trail.
The town itself has always been something of an adventure headquarters where outdoor retailers such as The Boot Pro and Totem Pole Ski Shop have earned reputations as some of the best bootfitters in the country and Tygart Mountain Sports caters to all sports. In the summer, paddle in the “lake region” at Echo Lake State Park or play golf at Fox Run. In winter, you can cross-country ski there or go for a guided backcountry tour with the folks from The Boot Pro.
Okemo Mountain School has turned out top skiers and pro riders such as Hannah Teter and Kevin Pearce. Now, the school and the town are working together to renovate the local Dorsey Skatepark.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: The $190,500 grant will help redevelop Dorsey Park Skatepark, which will enable the town to host camps and Okemo Mountain School to do off-season training.
Eat/Play/Stay/Shop: Ludlow is bustling with great places to eat and stay. Homestyle Hotel, which began as a hostel, now is one of the most sought-after dinner reservations and features rotating seasonal menus, based on local ingredients, all served in a Victorian home. Across the street, Main + Mountain is a boutique motel with a stylish bar known for its craft cocktails and an outdoor fire pit.
Ludlow offers a variety of flavors; Tex-Mex at the Mojo Café, Irish pub fare at the Killarney, and wine tasting and small plates at Stemwinder. For an old-world ambiance, stay or dine at The Castle Hill Resort, an elegant turn-of-the-century Cotswolds-style manor house built by Allen Fletcher, who served as Vermont’s governor from 1912-1915.
Ever since the town of West Windsor purchased the bankrupt Mount Ascutney ski area in 2014, the town, community and local businesses have worked diligently to revitalize the local economy around outdoor recreation.
Today, mountain bike trails snake around the ski mountain, including new flow trails and a skills park, thanks to a VOREC grant. There are eve more trails in the 1500-acre West Windsor town forest, creating a network of 50 miles of trails that can be accessed from the Ascutney Outdoor Center at the mountain’s base or the town forest.
Come winter, the ski area is a favorite with local school children who love the rope tow and tubing area, and experts who skin up to the upper half of the mountain, past where the lifts and grooming stop, to ski ungroomed and forested terrain.
Ascutney now plays host to a variety of running and biking events; races such as the team running event, RAGNAR, the Vermont 50 and the Vermont Overland. Ascutney Trails Association also hosts weekly mountain bike and gravel rides.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: Ascutney Outdoors was formed to manage the town-owned land and has worked closely with the Ascutney Trails Association (ATA) to rebuild recreation on the mountain. The $262,088 VOREC grant is helping to replace an antiquated gas-powered rope tow with one with an electric motor; construct flow trails and a skills park; and extend an interpretive trail to connect the Outdoors Center to the village and Mount Ascutney Resort. It will also help create a marketing brochure of the recreational assets at the mountain.
Stay/Eat/Play/Shop: Ascutney has excellent lodging and food near the base of the mountain, thanks to the Holiday Inn-run resort and the famed Brownsville Butcher & Pantry just down the road. The resort has a restaurant, and the Brownsville Butcher & Pantry has a store and cafe where you can find everything from take-out dinners prepared with local meats and produce to Alaskan king crab legs in season. Not far up the road is Harpoon Brewery which sponsors many of Ascutney’s events. The nearest bike shop, The Wheelhouse, is across the river in Claremont, N.H.
Just north of the Massachusetts border and south of Bennington, the tiny town of Pownal is a gateway to some of the most beautiful and remote parts of southern Vermont. Nestled between the Green Mountains and the Taconic, Pownal has access to the 37-mile, tri-state Taconic Crest Trail, the Long Trail and several local trails in the Green Mountain National Forest. It’s also a short drive to the 155-acre Prospect Mountain Nordic Center, which is completing the first phase of a $1 million project to upgrade and add to its trails.
The Hoosic River flows through Pownal and when the water level is right is great for canoeing, kayaking or rafting, as well as world-class trout fishing. The state-owned South Stream Wildlife Area is 103 acres with a large pond and trail. The Nature Conservancy’s Quarry Hill has 100 acres to explore. All are great places to snowshoe in the winter and with Dion/Nevi snowshoes based in Pownal, you can pick out the snowshoes that fit you best.
What the VOREC Grant Will Do: Pownal will use its $375,000 VOREC grant to secure permanent public access to 700-plus acres of municipal forest land known as the Strobridge Recreation Area. The funds will also help build a pedestrian bridge across the Hoosic River, connect North Pownal Village to the Strobridge Recreation Area; establish a trailhead parking area and information kiosk in North Pownal Village Center; install wayfinding signs to the trails; and prepare a management plan for the Strobridge Recreation Area.
Stay/Eat/Play/Shop: Pine Hollow Campground is nestled in a small valley surrounded by towering pine trees and a spring-fed pond. This past summer, Corner Pizza opened in Pownal. For lodging, dining and shops, head to Bennington or Manchester where you will find Orvis’s flagship store, The Mountain Goat (great for hiking and camping gear) and Battenkill Bicycles and Bradley’s Pro Shop Ski & Sport. The non-proft Bennington Bike Hub just opened in August.
GROWING THE OUTDOOR BUSINESS SECTOR
When Governor Phil Scott created the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC), he also endorsed a recommendation for an industry-led network of outdoor companies. The Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance (VOBA) was established in 2018 as a statewide, non-profit organization that provides networking, education, and business development. Its goals are to strengthen, expand, attract, and retain outdoor recreation economy businesses in Vermont. VOBA also engages in outdoor recreation economy policy and advances justice, equity, diversity and inclusion efforts.
Today, VOBA‘s 100 members range from well-established and global companies such as Burton Snowboards, Darn Tough, Orvis, Killington Resort, and Outdoor Gear Exchange to smaller businesses such as Kaden Apparel, Bivo, Vermont Bike & Brew, and Train NEK.
In 2022, VOBA was awarded a VOREC grant of $150,000 to develop workforce training programs based on needs identified by businesses, especially in the trades, such as bicycle mechanics, sustainable trail building, and gear and apparel manufacturing. “VOBA’s award allows local businesses to employ a skilled workforce and scale up their delivery of quality goods and services,” says VOBA Executive Director Kelly Ault.
The project will lay an education foundation to help the sector fill jobs and retain workers. “Outdoor retailers are facing an ongoing shortage of workers, especially for positions such as bike and ski technicians,” said Jen Roberts, co-owner of Onion River Outdoors in Montpelier. “VOBA’s work to establish training and intern/apprentice options helps shops fill positions so they can support cyclists, skiers and others.”
The grant will also help VOBA work with established and emerging companies to grow their markets, with a focus on businesses based in seven legacy outdoor recreation hubs: St. Johnsbury, Lyndonville, Montpelier, Randolph, Poultney, Killington, and Castleton.
“By elevating the highly diversified Vermont companies that produce, provide, and sell products and services related to outdoor recreation, VOBA strengthens ties to our urban and rural communities and the landscape,” says Ault.
This project was created in collaboration with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing (VDTM), Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance and the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC). It was supported by a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission and a Rural Business Development Grant from USDA Rural Development.