Partly Cloudy



Partly Cloudy

Wind: 6 mph

  • 3 Aug 2015

    Scattered Thunderstorms 81°F 60°F

  • 4 Aug 2015

    Thunderstorms 73°F 55°F

The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

Valley Reporter on Facebook

The Valley Reporter Restaurant Guide
Calendar of Events for the Mad River Valley
The Valley Reporter Business Listings

Good intentions and hard work not enough


By the Rootswork board

How did we, individual volunteer members of the nonprofit Rootswork board, all living within three miles of the East Warren Schoolhouse, come to the agonizing decision to ask The Schoolhouse Markets to leave?

In short, we had been negotiating for a new lease with The Schoolhouse Markets since November 2006. We needed the new lease to better protect Rootswork from some chronic deficiencies in The Schoolhouse Markets' performance under the old lease. We were determined that if we worked hard enough, a business-like lease fair to both parties could be agreed upon. We continued to believe we could make it work even after The Schoolhouse Markets informed us of their precarious financial position, and after the partners had had a serious falling out. We have valued The Schoolhouse Markets' place in our community and we wanted them to remain.  Unfortunately, we learned that our good intentions and hard work were not enough to overcome the obstacles we faced in reaching a mutually agreeable solution.

A petition stating that Rootswork has refused to re-negotiate their lease is circulating throughout The Valley. We considered trying to provide a timeline in this letter of the nine months of innumerable meetings, letters, and emails that transformed our belief in a positive outcome to a unanimous agreement in July that we couldn't offer The Schoolhouse Markets a term lease of any kind. We determined that it was impossible in a few paragraphs to describe such a complex and protracted process. Furthermore, we feel that a newspaper is not the place for us to discuss lease negotiations.

We do want the community to understand that we began with all good intentions to continue our relationship with The Schoolhouse Markets and that our decision to sever that association was made only after a very long, agonizing and stressful nine months and only after it became apparent to us that we no longer had a workable and trusting business relationship with The Schoolhouse Markets. These insurmountable problems have convinced us that The Schoolhouse Markets' continued tenancy is not in the best interests of Rootswork. We express our deep regret that the long association between Rootswork and The Schoolhouse Markets is ending and we wish both Bruce Fowler and Linda Faillace all the best.


Each of us joined the Rootswork board because we wanted to work on one or more Rootswork projects:  the community gardens, the continued renovation and development of the East Warren Schoolhouse as a community resource, Farm to Schools, educational programs and WMRW. We're not lawyers or landlords or public relations experts, just local people wanting to do something for our community. We have an obligation to Rootswork, the community, and ourselves to begin to focus all our attention where it belongs -- on the projects that advance our mission.

While nothing has been settled yet on how the first floor will be used, we have a lot of ideas. We want the space to revert back to community use. One concept we are working on is a co-op to provide staples, locally grown food, and more.

Please feel free to contact us individually if you have questions concerning this difficult decision or come to a Rootswork board meeting, first Wednesday of the month, 5:30 p.m. at the East Warren Schoolhouse.

John Barkhausen, Michael Brodeur, Kate Burn, Carol Groom, Jen Higgins, Megan Moffroid, Stacy Werner.

Add comment

All comments are moderated. Please include your full name and email. Email address will not be shown but are necessary for confirmation.

Security code