Brattleboro's Strolling of the Heifers gets the ball rolling


BRATTLEBORO >> Strolling of the Heifers and SEON — the Sustainable Energy Outreach Network — are partnering to present a workshop to explore collaborative opportunities between businesses in the farm, food, green building and green technology sectors.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden, 157 Main St.

The event is the second workshop in the Windham Grows series — the first was "Tech Salad," which brought together farm, food and technology entrepreneurs on March 3.

Like Tech Salad, the March 29 event will be facilitated by Nadav Malin, president of Building Green, Inc., a Brattleboro consultancy that gathers, organizes and publishes information about green building technologies for building industry professional and policy makers.

The purpose of the meetup is for entrepreneurs to interact and engage in order to discover new business and collaboration opportunities made possible by the shared interests and challenges of each sector.

The organizers hope to uncover a handful of innovative ideas involving farms, food and green technology. Participants are invited to bring your thoughts about what they would like to change or do better in your business.

"From that, we'll brainstorm a list of mutual opportunities, and see which attendees would like to champion these ideas going forward," Malin said.

These workshops are the first phase of Windham Grows, a new Stroll program designed to help launch and grow businesses in the Windham County farm and food sector.

Windham Grows is being developed as a successor to the Farm/Food Business Planning Competition we have organized for many years. In Windham Grows, rather than receiving a check for a winning business plan, competitively-selected businesses will receive custom-tailored packages of mentoring and resources over a period of six to nine months, to help them through the startup or scale-up stage of their business.

Pizza and salad will be served at the meeting, which is free and open to any entrepreneurs in the Windham County food, agriculture or green building/green technology sectors.

To attend, please register at Or you can register by phone by calling the River Garden at 802-246-0982.

Vermont Comedy Divas return for Stroll event at the River Garden

The Vermont Comedy Divas — the nation's only all-female, touring stand-up comedy troupe — return to the River Garden in Brattleboro on Saturday, March 26, at 8 p.m., in a fund-raising event for Strolling of the Heifers.

Founded in 2006, this all-female touring group is a staple of the Vermont comedy scene. They have partnered with non-profits on fund-raising efforts across New England under their charity wing, "Divas Do Good".

All tickets are $20. Tickets may be purchased online at or in person at the River Garden, 157 Main Street in Brattleboro (cash only, Mon-Fri 9-5). Suggested age to attend is 16 and up.

The featured Divas (possibly subject to change) include Hillary Boone, who started in a log cabin in the North East Kingdom of Vermont where she spent a childhood waiting to escape. After traveling the country and some of the world, Hillary is back in her home state, making people laugh. She's opened for comics such as Deanne Smith, Myq Kaplan, and Al Yountz. She once ate dinner with a hungry Sarah Schaeffer who had no where else to go. Sometimes it's about being in the right place at the right time. Hillary likes to think that she enjoys a sort of "local fame," consisting primarily of warm fuzzies when other Burlingtonians quizzically ask, "do I know you from somewhere?" or when anyone comments on her cartoon blog. Her comedy has been described as quirky, likeable, queer and smart, and even "simply delightful" by a local comedy critic. She has been i-spied approximately one times.

Josie Leavitt, the founder of the Vermont Comedy Divas, got her start in New York City, playing clubs like Caroline's and Stand-Up New York. Her comedic stories treat very personal, adult themes in an accessible, universal way. She has performed benefits for the Humane Society, Partners in Adventure, RU12, WBON, and more. She is the co-founder of the Divas Do Good initiative which works to bring comedy shows to not-for-profits with a social mission. Josie has won the Seven Daysies award for best comic in Vermont three times, in 2011, 2014 and then again in 2015. In October 2014, Josie won a Burlington, VT Moth Story Slam. As stand-comedy teacher, Josie has taught well over 300 comics in the last ten years and has worked with incarcerated women and men in 2013. Josie also co-owns the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, VT and writes the Shelftalker blog for Publishers Weekly.

Sue Schmidt, after an extensive career as a mental health counselor and a government manager, decided that her experiences working with humans was too good not to share. Sue started her career as a comedian in the Fall of 2012 and by the end of 2013, had performed shows in venues across the country from Maine to Florida to Anchorage, Alaska. Sue is a member of the Vermont Comedy Divas and the co-founder of the "Divas Do Good" initiative that connects women comedians with nonprofit organizations to help raise funds. Sue has been a featured comedic storyteller at the Boston Women in Comedy Festival, the Green Mountain Comedy Festival. and the Shedot -Toronto Women in Comedy Festival. In 2105 she was voted New England Public Radio Best Storyteller and named the champion and audience favorite at the Extempo "Tell Off." She is a Moth Slam winner, host and producer. Sue's newest endeavor "Say IT Forward Productions" brings together comedic storytellers for shows that raise funds for family organizations across New England. Her first two shows "Are We There Yet" and "Paved With Good Intentions" play to sold-out audiences around New England For more info please visit

Tracie Spencer performs throughout New England, in numerous comedy venues and benefit shows. Her style combines an easy, measured delivery with a subtly dry wit. She was selected to perform in Boston for the Women in Comedy Festival, was a four-year Higher Ground Comedy Battle finalist, a Funniest Comic in Vermont finalist and was the only female comic selected to compete in the Funniest Comic in New England Semi-Finals. Originally from West Virginia, previously an FBI Budget Analyst, she enjoys volunteering, beach volleyball and hanging out with amazing daughters.

Autumn Engroff Spencer wanted to be a comic all her life. Four years ago, she finally took the plunge and signed up for comedy-writing class. Since then, she has been performing comedy in Vermont & NY both on her own and as part of the all-female comedy troupe, The Vermont Comedy Divas. She particularly enjoys telling jokes for a good cause. Autumn lives in Burlington with her two hilarious children and their handsome dad.

Martin Langeveld can be contacted at


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