Brave Little State

What if you could decide what stories Vermont Public Radio should be covering, before they're even assigned?

That's the idea behind Brave Little State, a podcast where you ask the questions, you decide what VPR investigates, and then you work with us to find the answers.

Work with us! Vermont Public Radio is hiring an Engagement Producer to help make Brave Little State, and expand our newsroom's audience-driven reporting. Learn more and apply here.

So tell us: What question do you have about Vermont, our region or its people that you want us to explore? Submit it below, or leave us a short voicemail at 802-552-4880.

Our latest episode: It Was A Pandemic 'Escape Community' In 1918. And Now?

Coming soon:

  • "During the 1918 flu pandemic, the town of Fletcher survived without any cases. How did that happen, and what can we learn from it today?" — Christopher Crawford | Available January 2021

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Brave Little State is powered by Hearken. Our theme music is by Ty Gibbons. All questions asked make it to the question archive unless they don’t meet our guidelines for decorum, fairness or obvious conflicts of interest.



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A white church on a snowy day
Angela Evancie / VPR

The small town of Fletcher did notably well during the 1918 flu pandemic. How did they manage that, and how are they managing COVID?

If You're Worried About Climate Change, Where Should You Live?

Jan 7, 2021
A car is submerged in flooded waters with people looking on in the background
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

A listener question with some local implications. We pass the mic to our friends at New Hampshire Public Radio's show Outside/In

A comic with the text welcome to vermont up top, with two cows looking at each other with speech bubbles above them, one reading flatlander, one reading woodchuck, with camel's hump in the background
Comic: Elodie Reed / Images: GlobalP, iStock / Niranjan Arminius, Wikimedia Commons

Where did these unusual labels come from, and what do they evoke today? A question about blatant stereotypes, and the Green Mountain lingo we use for them.

An upward view of the statehouse dome.
Elodie Reed / VPR File

Health concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic mean the 2021 legislative session will be quite different from previous years. But before lawmakers get together in January, Vermont's three electors to the Electoral College will meet in Montpelier on Monday, Dec. 14.

A sign reading north 139 and Canada Border 2 miles with a holiday wreath hung up next to it
Elodie Reed / VPR

In the heart of this strange, sad holiday season, businesses and families continue to navigate the ongoing border closure between Vermont and Canada. So how are they doing?

A man in a hard hat in a bucket truck next to a white barn with a tree and mountain in the background
Elodie Reed / VPR

The pandemic has shifted even more of our lives online. So what's being done to address Vermont's internet inequities?

That's what Maggie Eppstein of Hinesburg asked Brave Little State, VPR's people-powered journalism project.

Two people in masks stand outside a yellow house
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Is our population growing because of the pandemic? And what impact are COVID transplants having on their new communities?

A handpainted Trump sign on a piece of plywood
Elodie Reed / VPR

With mail-in voting already underway and a president who has COVID-19 — and who has not pledged to accept the results if he loses — we check in with some of his supporters. 

An alley with a church at the end of it.
Elodie Reed / VPR

What is the state of religion in Vermont? How do Vermonters characterize their beliefs?

A dirt road with lots of trees along the edges
Lydia Brown / VPR

Every summer, we drive all over Green Mountain creation to find the origins of the strange road names you’re wondering about.

gloved hands holding a syringe
Hans Pennink / Associated Press

When a vaccine becomes available for COVID-19, who gets it first?

A composite of numerous photos of people of color.
Images courtesy of individuals, Owen Leavey Photography, Jesse Dawson, Bruce Mount and Bryant Denton/VPR

How can a state that is 94% white do better? Vermonters of color weigh in to answer this listener question.

A Confederate flag flying from a poll on a building roof along a winding road.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Earlier this summer, Jason Broughton noticed a Confederate flag hanging outside a home in his neighborhood in Barre. It happened to be Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Broughton wondered, was this on purpose? 

An illustration of three people talking and thinking.
Benjavisa /

Brave Little State listeners want to know — add your voice and help us answer this listener question.

A couple lean together in a grassy yard
Angela Evancie / VPR

Michael and Stacy Lee have had a really tough year. So why do they feel so positive?

A sign reading early Black settlers
Elodie Reed / VPR

A few years ago, Berlin resident Gale Harris was doing some research for a class she was taking at her local senior center. She wanted to find out if Black Americans were in Vermont in the 1800s. 

A couple standing in front of trees.

Everyone loves to grouse about our cost of living. Bruce Post wonders: How bad is it really?

A white ribbon on post against grass.
Elodie Reed / VPR

If people — particularly elderly people — don't want doctors to take extreme measures to potentially save their lives, does that increase Vermont's COVID-19 death rate?

A person in a face mask hands creemee cones to a woman in a car, with a goldendoodle dog looking out the backseat window.
Elodie Reed / VPR File

In this season filled with fear, grief and bitter disappointment, there is one sweet solace for Vermonters: It's still possible to obtain a maple creemee.

Two people in cloth masks handing a tray of plants between each other from the ground and into a truck bed.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Jamie McKenzie of Waterbury originally asked this question in the context of climate change. But the food supply issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have given it new urgency.