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Executive Director



is the founder and Director of BALE (Building A Local Economy), based in South Royalton, Vermont. In addition to serving on numerous community boards and organizations, Chris has founded or co-founded many nonprofit Vermont organizations over the last 35 years including Rural Vermont, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Rainbow Coalition of Vermont, Vermont Resource Cooperative, Vermont Community Reinvestment Association, Onion River Arts Council, Vermont Committee on Southern Africa, Focus on Film, Vermont Jobs with Justice, Vermont Consumers’ Campaign for Health, Green Mountain Film 

Festival, Studio Place Arts, Royalton Community Radio, and Gross National Happiness USA. His strength is networking, collaboration, and working with diverse groups/participants to strengthen community goals. His only recognizable relaxation is hiking, following his wife Sylvie on skis, and happily taking control in the kitchen (he also co-founded the quirky and beloved Horn of the Moon Café in Montpelier over 40 years ago).

Board of Directors

was attracted to BALE programs from its beginning. She joined the board in 2017, and currently serves at Chairperson. Joining the BALE board was inspired by retirement from her career in public education and her passion to explore ways to strengthen the regional economy and social fabric. Abbe was born, raised, and did her undergraduate studies in Wisconsin. As life unfolded, the mountains and rural setting beckoned. She and her young family moved to Vermont where’s she’s lived almost 40 years. For most of those years Abbe taught in high schools in South Royalton and Randolph, and ended her career at Randolph Technical Career Center, as the Work Base Learning Coordinator. For a few years she developed volunteer networks in Randolph with “Parent to Parent” and in Rochester with “Community Care for the Elderly.”

Abbe and her husband, Jerry, are deeply committed to supporting community life, sustainable growth, local agriculture, and nurturing the future for generations to come. She is active also with several other organizations including many years on the board of Orange County Court Diversion, and a founding member of White River Investment Club. Other interests include gardening, landscaping, reading, traveling, and just about any outdoor recreational activity with family and friends.


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has had a diverse career as an educational scholar and activist, community leader and philanthropist.  Originally from the Chicago area, he came to Vermont in 1992. Ron has a Ph.D. in American Studies and has written or edited nine books on educational alternatives and one on Vermont independence (Most Likely to Secede). He taught at Goddard and Champlain colleges, established the Bellwether School near Burlington, VT, was publisher and editor of several journals, and once owned a bookstore. He has run the Bookstock Literary Festival and now leads the Learning Lab adult education program in Woodstock. Ron has served on the boards of two colleges, a foundation and many nonprofit organizations, including as chair of Sustainable Woodstock and, currently, president of Woodstock’s public library. He has three grown sons and lives in Woodstock with partner Jackie Fischer. For fun he travels, reads mysteries, and collects vintage postcards.

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has a Masters Degree in Environmental Law from the Vermont Law School and a Masters in Business Administration from Western Washington University and is currently Regional Energy Planning Specialist and Finance Manager at the Two River Ottauquechee Regional Commission. Both of her children, Margaret and Chris are young adults active in environmental concerns. She lives with her husband, Kevin, and is active in many programs and activities in hometown Sharon.

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joined the board in May, 2018.  He was born in Vermont and grew up in Maine. Stuart and his wife have lived in Thetford Center, Vermont since 1985.  He has been a member of the Thetford FAST Squad, Thetford Recycling Committee, and Thetford Planning Commission.  In addition, he has served on the Greater Upper Valley Solid Waste District board of supervisors and on the District 3 Environmental Commission for Act 250 review.  After his formal training in physics and math and before his retirement, Stuart had a career as a programmer and software engineer, working at the Harvard College Observatory and then at the Oregon State University School of Oceanography before moving to the Upper Valley.  Here he worked for a couple of engineering companies before he became an independent contractor and consultant. Stuart’s particular interests concern climate justice and food security. He is a gardener and a member of the Upper Valley Seed Savers. He also loves to bake bread, ski in his woods and paddle his kayak.



    is passionate about finding opportunities to create and strengthen community. This interest has taken many forms throughout her life, and she is grateful for the opportunity to explore this work through participating on the BALE board. Zoë spent most of her childhood in the White River Valley, and after traveling and exploring other parts of the world, returned to the Green Mountain State. She works at The Herald of Randolph and occasionally milks cows for a nearby organic dairy farm. She holds a permaculture design certification and spends a lot of time playing the garden and thinking about how to compost materials more efficiently. Zoë feels lucky to have been raised as an unschooler, and continues to consider herself a self-directed learner, and to think about ways that the educational system could be improved to better serve the needs and interests of young people. Her other interests include: making crafts (mostly rugs and clothes) out of recycled and secondhand materials, hiking with her dog Pepper, and baking bread. 


carries Czech roots and an upbringing on the Mississippi River. She descended for the first time upon Vermont in 2008 and currently resides in Bethel. She believes that the industrialization of basic human needs is a symptom of a deeper root issue of disconnection, which has inspired the crux of her philosophy to prioritize building a parallel regenerative culture and systems to shift power with community and individual empowerment at the core of climate action. Mindy is the Executive Director of Community Resilience Organizations (CROs), a nonprofit that helps communities address vulnerabilities and harness their place-based strengths by supporting local resource sovereignty and building social connectivity. She earned a Masters degree in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, taught at the former Green Mountain College, and worked as an Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris developing processes for governments to systematically decentralize electric grids. 



moved to Vermont just two weeks before Tropical Storm Irene ripped across the state. From the onset, climate change and extreme weather events have shaped her understanding and interest in community life in rural New England. After receiving a master's degree in Energy Regulation and Law from Vermont Law School in 2016, Paige began work on the intersections between energy, transportation, and climate change adaptation. Now, she is most passionate about relocalization, growing her own food, and petting as many cats as will tolerate it. 

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