May 30-June 1, 2012, Downtown Brattleboro, Vermont

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

The second annual Strolling of the Heifers Slow Living Summit is a world-changing (and life-changing) effort at cross-sector, sustainable transformation.

In scheduled as well as open space sessions organized into three major themes —Slow Economics, Slow Communities and Slow Policies — we’ll examine sustainable, resilient approaches to food, energy, money, health care, relationships  – and the impact that catastrophic weather may have on all of them.

The Slow Living Summit is a unique, flexible gathering designed to foster cross-sector solutions for high-quality sustainable living — solutions for our planet in which common good is just as important as private gain.

Our plenary sessions take place in Brattleboro's historic art-deco theatre, the Latchis

In contrast to the typical convention-center conference, the Slow Living Summit’s sessions take place in various locations in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont with the town’s historic and funky Main Street serving as the concourse when moving between sessions. And the Summit happens just before the world-famous Strolling of the Heifers weekend — stay in town for the Stroll, an agriculturally-themed parade featuring scores of heifer calves, followed by the Live Green Expo, on Saturday June 2.

Our inaugural 2011 Summit attracted nearly 300 people from dozens of states. Click these links for information about the 2011 Slow Living Summit: Schedule of EventsWho was thereSpeaker biosSponsors.


We’re getting to see the side-effects of a ‘fast’ world — floods, droughts, melting ice, not to mention communities where people have fewer friends than they used to. It’s time to change that!

— Bill McKibben, 2011 Summit speaker, invited speaker at 2012 Summit

Our goal is to cross the chasms and silos which separate the various ‘slow’ movements – to discover the essence of our common search for simplicity, sustainability, enhanced environment, community connection and meaning.

— Orly Munzing, conference founder.



Here are some of the responses we received as part of the post-Summit survey after the 2011 Summit:

I applaud you for organizing one of THE best conferences I have attended in a long time. I believe that you have carved out an excellent niche of a true sustainability summit. The speakers were top draw, nationally recognized leaders. It was an all around excellent experience. I took away more in depth knowledge of topics I am interested in met and connected with many like-minded people. Bravo! Cannot wait ’til next year.

Great connections! Loved the long lunch breaks where serendipitous meetings took place.

I liked the variety of tracks and since this was the first time I attended such a conference, I found it encouraging that people are acting to seek out ways to live in what will be a very different world. This movement from the ground up is positive and I can see where it will become a force to be reckoned with. Thank you for all your work putting it together!

Having just attended several other environmentally oriented conferences, I found this quite refreshing in the breadth and integration between different aspects of sustainability. It made me feel at home!

I liked the connections between the personal, political, cultural, agricultural, economic, etc. I think this helped to make this conference unique.

I think the summit was superbly organized and run. Congratulations!


The Slow Living Summit will examine ongoing and potential actions in many areas, always with an action-oriented focus on stating problems, identifying resources and proposing solutions. In addition to all of the above, we are building plenty of time in our schedule for Slow Spaces — time, space and facilitation of spontaneous discussions, collaborations, presentations and networking.

Speakers and panelists at the 2012 Summit will lead conversations organized into three overarching themes:

  • Slow Economics: Exploring economics based on collaboration and integrity rather than extraction and wealth-creation
  • Slow Communities: Tools for building healthy, sustainable and resilient communities
  • Slow Policies: Economic policy and fostering public-private collaboration
In each of these themes there will be dozens of topical breakout sessions. All sessions will emphasize idea-sharing, networking and “how-to” skills training. We hope to announce many speakers and a schedule by the end of January, but meanwhile, see our Schedule page for more detail on the sessions that are under development.

Using pre-convening virtual “meetups,” video documentation of the gathering itself, and post-event action advocacy SLS2012 aims to build a year-round practice community  for participants, including hundreds of alumni of the first summit.


Ralph Meima, Summit Chair

The Slow Living Summit is for participants representing multiple disciplines and sectors of society:  business leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, students, government officials, foundation and non-profit leaders, journalists, media and community leaders and engaged citizens.

Check out the growing list of confirmed 2012 Slow Living Summiteers at our Who’s Coming page.

“This gathering is for experienced and aspiring professionals putting together the many pieces of a ‘slow’ society — business, money, agriculture, energy, community development, education, the arts, government, and more,” says Ralph Meima, Marlboro College Graduate School MBA program director and Summit program committee member.  “After all, we all live and work in communities, in complete places!  Not in anything less.”

Slow travel, slow cities, slow schools, slow banks, slow living, slow money, slow investing . . . there’s a growing list of topical communities applying the shorthand of “slow” to their aspiration of seeing the horizon more clearly. If they share something in common, it is a desire to plan and live for the long term, in ways which sustain and nurture thriving communities . . . first for the common good and, only then, for private or personal gain.

“Across the United States, and the world, we have a sense of new possibilities – and constraints,” says Bill Densmore, event coordinator. “Remarkable technologies allow us to communicate – and to form communities of interest – across time and space. Yet many of our physical communities atrophy. The acceleration of information creation and transfer sometimes creates a sense of an environment out of control, or at least beyond our ability to comprehend.”

This sense of a needing to get a grip, to see to the horizon – and even beyond – more clearly, is why participants will flock to the 2nd annual Slow Living Summit, May 30-June 1, 2012 in Brattleboro, Vt. (Twitter #sls2012) . You can see who joined us for the inaugural summit in 2011 . . .  read one of the stories written about SLS2011 . . . check out some of our founding sponsors  . . . and review some of the discussions – and even videos.


Slow Living Summit is the intersection for sharing slow-living ideas and innovation. At the 2012 gathering, participants will:

  • Connect with other participants before the gathering, though an innovative, early contact with other attendees.
  • Network across silos of expertise and interest during numerous discussions, meals and social events.
  • Shape a consensus agenda in real-time within “open-space” sessions and  tracks.
  • Engage  with Brattleboro, a unique New England town! (See description below.)

Participants will take away from SLS2012:

  • Practical tools, advice and information about incorporating slow-living principles into work and home life.
  • New professional colleagues and contacts across education, business, science, public policy and advocacy.
  • A free, one-year membership in a new Slow Living Network.


The Summit doesn’t happen in the usual sterile conference hotel — instead, Brattleboro’s Main Street hosts our gathering, opening up a restored cinema, outdoor walking spaces, cafés, the Marlboro College Graduate School, and other venues to screenings, performances, talks, discussions, workshops and general sessions.

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. 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.


If you register soon, you can help make SLS2012 the most important and productive three days of 2012 for those of us discovering common ground for the future.

  • Take advantage of Early Bird Rates in effect until March 31
  • If you tell us now about some of your interests, you’ll be helping us to craft the key themes and gatherings of SLS2012.
  • If you have special expertise we may be able to tap you to help with one of our seven themes.


Advance registration rates are in effect as follows:

  • General registration: $225
  • Spouse or significant other, registering together with a full-rate general registration: $179
  • Student rate: $105 — limited to students enrolled in a college-level degree program, part-time or full-time; or full-time secondary school students. We reserve the right to request verification.)
  • Local limited means rate: $105 — limited to people residing in Brattleboro or within 25 miles who are of limited means; limited to 50 slots on first-come basis. Registrants in this category will receive a brief application to complete. Acceptance is by committee approval. Denied applicants may upgrade to general rate or receive a refund.
  • One -day rate (Thursday or Friday): $120

Rates will increase as follows (see restrictions and conditions above):

  • Onsite rates: May 30-June 1:  General registration $249; Student rate $125; One-day rate (Thursday or Friday) $130. other rates and stipended rates no longer available.


To register for the Slow Living Summit, please visit the registration page at






The national Slowing Living Summit is a project of Strolling of the Heifers, a non-profit entity which celebrates the agricultural heritage and contemporary sustainable focus of  Brattleboro with the annual Strolling of the Heifers parade through downtown. The Slow Living Summit invites a structured, thoughtful examination of our global future, before and during the the cow “Stroll.”

For more information contact Bill Densmore, conference coordinator, or 617-448-6600. Media inquiries: Martin Langeveld, marketing director, or 802-380-0226.

Brattleboro Rainbow photo by Professor Bop, used under Creative Commons License.