Natural Capital: Middlebury, VT

Middlebury, VT and its surrounding area lie on not only some of the most picturesque landscapes and rolling fields in the state, but also within a unique and thriving community of diverse environments and ecosystems. Middlebury is the largest downtown center in Addison County; as expected, there’s plenty of shops, schools, parks, businesses, factories and more. On almost all sides of downtown Middlebury, things start to thin out a bit more; farms, forests, rivers, orchards, houses and much more occupy space outside the town.
Middlebury is able to find locally sourced commodities within their border, such as food, timber, and wildlife, and recreation.

However, consider the surrounding towns in Addison County: Bridport is over 20 minutes west of Middlebury, bordering Lake Champlain. There are almost no shops in Bridport, except for Pratt’s general store. However the town is rich in farmland – farmers and families all over this quiet little town are able to make a living by raising livestock or growing crops.

A town of 46.2 total square miles, the 2010 census found Bridport’s population density to be just 27.7 inhabitants each square mile, compared to Middlebury’s 219/square mile. (American Factfinder).

Say you want to take a drive on a scenic route on a winter day. East on VT-125 nestled in the Green Mountains lies Breadloaf, a community in Ripton and also an extension of Middlebury College campus. Here, students learn exceptional writing skills and attend writers’ conferences on a small, remote campus in the same town poet Robert Frost once called home. Breadloaf also maintains many cross-country ski trails, open to the public and appreciated by many in Middlebury. About five minutes up the road, the Middlebury College Snowbowl offers three chairlifts and 17 trails. Public transportation makes stops at both destinations. (By the way, only about 12 people live per square mile in Ripton, as shown in the 2010 census). All around Middlebury lies natural capital in many forms from agricultural, to environmental, to recreational.

Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). “American FactFinder.” U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. Department of Commerce, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.