The third annual Slow Living Summit

Wed., June 5 – Fri., June 7, 2013

Downtown Brattleboro Rainbow — photo by Craig S. O’Connell, used under Creative Commons License

If you were there, thank you for coming! If not, please join us next year in Brattleboro for the 4th annual Slow Living Summit (tentative dates): June 4, 5 and 6, 2014.

The following was our invitation to the 2013 Summit:

What can you learn in the Slow Lane that you can’t learn in the Fast Lane?

The Slow Living Summit is a gathering focused on sustainable living, resilient communities, and the personal, inner transformations that are necessary for both. Join experts and engaged citizens from many fields and multiple sectors for a thoughtful, results-oriented conference in a unique downtown environment, featuring multi-disciplinary conversations about key questions:

  • How can we learn to Live Slow? What inner transformations are necessary for Slow Living?
  • What is Slow Design? What is Resilient Design? And how can the design of public spaces, buildings and infrastructure encourage interactions and strengthen democracy?
  • How do we build resilient local food systems and food enterprises?
  • How do local efforts at sustainable living and resilient communities help solve bioregional and global problems?
  • How can a Slow Economy enable fulfilling, balanced lifestyles?
  • What new models can help sustain co-ops and other forms of alternative ownership?
  • And what about: sustainable aging, conserving and recharging our soil, building wealth in rural communities, and a host of other topics. 

Registration  | What is Slow Living? | Summit sponsors | Schedule at a glance | Speakers

Detailed schedule | Who’s coming? | Summit info | Slow Living Leadership course

Ride and accommodation sharing bulletin board | Seeking student volunteers

Help spread the word: Download and post this PDF Summit Poster 

What’s on the program:

All plenaries will be emceed by Lori Hanau of Global Round Table Leadership, Keene NH. Lori will also lead the final plenary on Friday afternoon — an important group discussion on what we’ve learned about Slow Living and where we’re going: “What are the next questions?” Lori will also introduce, at each plenary, leaders of brief tone-setting moments, some of them with music, to help us be here now and be fully receptive.

  • Wednesday evening plenary  — The quest for sustainability: What do we do now?
    • Jonathan Lash, President of Hampshire College, former head of the World Resources Institute
    • Robert Repetto, senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation, author of America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward
  • Thursday morning plenary — Reconnecting Farmers, Eaters and Healthy Communities 
    • Frances Moore Lappé  — author of Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want; founder of the Small Planet Institute;
    • Judy Wicks — author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business: The Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local-Economy Pioneer; founder of the White Dog Café, Philadelphia; co-founder of Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), as well as founder of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and Fair Food.
  • Thursday afternoon plenary — Slow Design: The impact of mindful design on the quality of public spaces and their communities 
    • Jonathan Fogelson*, designer, Michael Singer Studio, Wilmington VT, designer and project manager of large scale landscape and infrastructure planning projects (; *NOTE: Michael Singer, previously scheduled to appear at this plenary, is unfortunately not able to attend.
    • Rosanne Haggerty, President, Community Solutions, New York, MacArthur Fellow, Ashoka Senior Fellow and a Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover;
    • Rasmia Kirmany-Frye, Director, Brownsville Partnership,, Community Solutions
  • Friday morning plenary: Transitioning to community resilience
    • Gus Speth, Vermont Law School, environmentalist,
    • Tina Clarke,Transition Massachusetts trainer;
    • moderated by Chuck Collins Director of the Institute for Policy Studies program on Inequality and the Common Good.
  • Friday afternoon closing plenary, “What are the Next Questions?” 
    • A full-group summing-up session, moderated by Lori Hanau,founder of Global Round Table Leadership, with musical participation by Erica Wheeler, Amelia Struthers and Mike Mrowicki.

Check our detailed schedule for a complete rundown on all plenaries and the many breakout sessions.

SLOW License plate


How the Summit has evolved:

The first Summit in 2011 was very much about defining problems. People who attended appreciated this and enjoyed hearing from all the high-profile speakers, but they told us (in survey feedback returned by nearly 50 percent of attendees), “We know what the problems are, so next year, let’s hear about solutions.”

So at the 2012 Summit we focused on solutions, with solutions-oriented speakers and panelists in many fields. At the same time, we introduced a “spirit” track, with presentations and experiential sessions on inner transformation. This resonated with many Summiteers, who told us — “We understand the solutions, but what we are wrestling with is how to change ourselves, how to achieve that inner transformation.” 

They also told us that in 2012, we had too much of a good thing — too many sessions, too many speakers, too much to digest, but not enough time for reflections, discussion, or even getting from one session to another. The Summit should Slow Down, we were told. And we heard you, loud and clear!

That brings us to the 2013 Summit, which we are now planning (along with Stroll Weekend, the Vermont Farm/Food Business Plan Competition, the Tour de Heifer, and a new Vermont farm/food/forest product branding program).

The planning committee spent a lot of time during the fall and winter defining What is Slow Living, crafting a Slow Living Vision, deciding the purpose of the Summit, and coming up with convening questions for the Summit. Here’s what we came up with:

Slow stencil on pavementThe Slow Living Vision is of an Earth where humankind, honoring and celebrating the profound connectedness of all people, places and living beings, gives back by co-creating mutually supportive communities, bioregions and economic systems — and where we combine the wisdom of the past with a vision for the future to ensure a balanced, fulfilling way of life for all generations to come.

The purpose of the Summit is to model and advance the Slow Living Vision through a deep, mindful and collaborative exploration of key questions and problems facing our world and our communities.

The convening questions are:

  1. How does Slow Living strengthen the community, nurture the spirit and nourish the Earth? (This question is an overlay for all the others.)
  2. How do we move from the Fast Lane to the Slow Lane? And what can we learn in the Slow Lane that we can’t learn in the Fast Lane?
  3. What is the inner transformation necessary for embracing Slow Living? How do we work to bring about that transformation?
  4. What is the difference between a Slow Economy and a Fast Economy?
  5. How do we create more resilient communities and bioregions that adapt well to changing climate and other challenges created by Fast Living?


Come discover Brattleboro!

The 2013 Summit will once again take place in non-traditional conference surroundings of Main Street, Brattleboro: the historic arts-nouveaux Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro’s River Garden public gathering space, the facilities at Marlboro College Graduate Center — with the vibrant public sidewalks that connect them serving as the conference concourse.

Immediately after the Summit, Brattleboro goes full swing into it’s biggest event of the year, Strolling of the Heifers Weekend. “The Stroll” starts Friday evening, June 7 with a street festival on Main Street. It continues on Saturday, June 8 with a quirky and joyous celebration of local farms and local food, the famous Strolling of the Heifers Parade followed by the all-day, 11 acre Slow Living Expo. On Sunday, June 9, take part in the Tour de Heifer — a trio of challenging farm-to-farm dirt road cycling rides that begin and end at the Lilac Ridge Farm in West Brattleboro.

Come and discover Brattleboro — a small community in southern Vermont — renowned for decades for its commitment to healthy, local, sustainable living and technology, for its vibrant communities of visual and performance artists, craftspeople, poets and writers, and for the diversity of its shops, restaurants and galleries. Brattleboro is listed on many “top 10” lists including Top 10 Small Arts Towns, Top 10 Small Towns (, and the 20 Best Small Towns in America (Smithsonian).  In turn Brattleboro is a gateway to the Green Mountains and Vermont — a state renowned for innovation in small business, renewable energy, healthy living and progressive government.

Registration  | What is Slow Living? | Summit sponsors | Schedule at a glance | Speakers

Detailed schedule | Who’s coming? | Summit info | Slow Living Leadership course

Ride and accommodation sharing bulletin board