Norwich town eating

 
 

    Take an evening drive through any small Vermont or New Hampshire town and you’ll likely see lights burning in a few windows of town hall. Inside you’ll find local volunteers spending their evening slogging away at the real stuff of self-government, be they planning or conservation commissioners, permitting boards, or members of myriad ad-hoc town committees and commissions trying to work together to do what’s best for their town and fellow townspeople. They work without pay -- often without meaningful budgetary or staff support – taking time from their families and their leisure to make something more of the community they’ve inherited. They do it because they feel they owe something to their community or simply because they want to be involved and belong.

    Unfortunately, in a society growing ever more complex, regulatory, and litigious, the disincentives to volunteer participation are also growing. As life feels busier, it’s easy to feel out-of-touch with “what’s going on” in town government. Finding the time to figure out what’s happening, let alone where one might want to put one’s efforts, slips down the list of priorities until it’s not much more than a dull guilty feeling that one isn’t more involved.

    Here in Norwich, a group of us have decided to do something about it. We’ve rented space in the local elementary school for the Saturday before Town Meeting to conduct “Town Eating Day.” It is a day where townspeople can meet the people serving on the various volunteer boards in town, learn about what they do and hope to achieve, understand the time commitment involved, and enter the on-going debate of town government.  Featuring a free community lunch, Town Eating Day offers townspeople a chance to engage with citizen boards and one another to discuss town business outside the deadlines and long agendas which burden most public meetings.  Our goal is to make “what’s going on” tangible for those who wish to know, breaking down the distance between those who are making it happen and those who would like to.  A combination open-house, town forum, and community lunch, Town Eating celebrates the human scale of small-town civic life. 


                                        Go To Town Eating Day 2012



  


   Norwich Town Eating


“A combination open-house, town forum, and community lunch, Town Eating celebrates the human scale of small-town civic life.” 

Town Eating Day