MIDDLEBURY-An Addison County, Vt., based community group has been caught in the crossfire over the national community organizing group known as ACORN-and it's all a big mistake.
According to a public statement released last week by the board of directors for the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN Network), the organization is not affiliated-in any way-with the controversial ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, now under fire nationally.
According to ACORN Network's President Jonathan Corcoran, "We are not the ACORN you have been hearing about in the media. We are not that ACORN. Our ACORN stands for the local organization which has been focused on expanding local food and fuel production in our region in response to an energy-constrained future.
"In contrast to the national ACORN, we are new (four years old), very small, and have no affiliation with the national ACORN organization. Only a modest amount of money passes carefully through our hands which has primarily been donated by local businesses who support our work and through events like the Tour de Farms," according to ACORN Network's public statement.
According to Corcoran, "Our local ACORN began with two committees, food and energy. The energy committee created the ACORN Energy Co-op-Heat Local-is now independently operating under its own steam at www.acornenergycoop.com. The food committee became the Addison County Localvores and continuously sponsors activities around local food."
Corcoran said the ACORN Network is a catalyst for developing local, sustainable and collaborative solutions to the challenges facing local communities from the growing instability of energy systems, environment and economy.
"Our mission is to accelerate the relocalization of our economy and culture by educating citizens about their choices and inspiring them to act locally, by encouraging community organizations to work more closely together and by incubating and launching new initiatives that meet local needs not currently being served," according to the network's statement.
ACORN Network board members include Corcoran, Laura Asermily, Rich Carpenter, Elizabeth Golden, Greg Pahl, Graham Pringle, Ron Slabaugh and Greg Smela.
ACORN Network's website is located at www.acornvt.org.