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Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is about the coevolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. In its broadest focus, Appreciative Inquiry involves systematic discovery of what gives “life” to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms.

Collective impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem. Collective impact models create lasting solutions to social problems on a large-scale, organizations — including those in government, civil society, and the business sector — need to coordinate their efforts and work together around a clearly defined goal.

Creative economies are a powerful engine of growth and community vitality. Together, artists, cultural nonprofits, and creative businesses produce and distribute cultural goods and services that generate jobs, revenue, and quality of life. A thriving cultural sector leads to thriving communities. In 2004, the Vermont council on Rural Development undertook an exploration of Vermont’s creative economy.

Vermont Farm to Plate Network is made up of farm and food system businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, funders, educational institutions and community groups all working together to reach the 25 goals in the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan, as well as to advance their own organizations’ goals. Members convene as Working Groups, Cross-cutting Teams, and Task Forces to work on high impact projects that no one organization can do on their own, as well as assess gaps, opportunities, and trends and monitor progress towards F2P goals.

Results Based Accountability uses a data-driven, decision-making process to help communities and organizations get beyond talking about problems to taking action to solve problems. It is a simple, common sense framework that everyone can understand. Results Based Accountability starts with ends and works backward, towards means. The “end” or difference you are trying to make looks slightly different if you are working on a broad community level or are focusing on your specific program or organization.