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My Vermont: Kate Cadreact

05/06/08 7:50AM
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I have lived in Milton Vermont my entire life. I grew up on a farm in the 50's and 60's, and married a farmer after graduating from college. I'm currently a registered nurse. Most of the people I work with find it amusing that I still live in the same town where I grew up. Yet my concern is for the broader community of Vermont.

When I see home prices soaring, I worry about how the average Vermont family will afford housing. I contemplate what these families will do in the wake of high fuel prices, rising food prices and the ever increasing taxes.

Today we hear a lot about building community. (But) It is becoming a hardship to be an active member of the community, due to time and personal energy constraints.

When I was growing up, my parents belonged to the Grange, were 4-H leaders, schoolboard members, among other things. They were building community and they were working in their community.

Today, I struggle to participate in my community. I drive out of town to go to work. I don't know my neighbors as well as I might. And I may not know if they are in crisis and need help, until perhaps it is too late.

My overriding concern is that only the highly paid and wealthy individuals will have adequate housing, heat, nutritional food, and the privilege of serving the community. Their children will attend private schools while public schools suffer budget defeats. Their children will attend college, while it will become more and more difficult for the average Vermont student to pay for college. The average working Vermonter will not be at the table of plenty as the cost of living here escalates. We will become more and more marginalized. People who have money to spare will continue to come into Vermont and buy once working farms, creating mini estates, and thus contributing to the decline of community and vibrant living. In my Vermont, vibrant living should include everyone.

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