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GMFTS Welcomes Two New Staff Members

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) is happy to announce the arrival of two new additions to our team – Jessica Weston and Laurie Evans. Jessica joined in September as Communications and Development Coordinator, and Laurie joined in October as Finance Coordinator. Jessica is originally from Dayton, Ohio, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Read the full article…

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ABOUT GMFTS

A leader in the growing farm-to-school movement in Vermont, Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) mission is to restore and strengthen local food systems in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont by promoting positive economic and educational relationships among schools, farms, and communities. We create healthy communities by working across the food system with capacity building, resource development, and technical assistance through GMFTS’ school gardens, Farm-to-School Program, food hub, food truck, and statewide marketing campaign.

OUR PURPOSE

The statistics about the health of our children are striking. 1 in 3 children is on track to develop type 2 diabetes. Researchers estimate for the 1st time in American history children will live shorter lives than their parents. Unless we do something to put this runaway food system back on track, we’re headed for the biggest and most expensive health care crisis we can imagine. 60,000 children in Vermont eat school food 5 days a week, getting more than half their calories from school lunch, school breakfast, and school snack. What we feed our kids in schools and what we teach them about food there affects how they grow, how they learn, what they will feed their own families, and how long they will live. School is where it all begins.

WHERE WE WORK

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MEET THE STAFF

Catherine Cusack

Executive Director

Contact Catherine at ccusack@gmfts.org.

Catherine joined Green Mountain Farm-to-School in 2013. As Executive Director Catherine is responsible for overseeing the organization, developing GMFTS’s long-range strategic plans, raising funds, publicizing its activities, and managing its staff and Board of Directors. Catherine works in partnership with GMFTS program staff in delivering high-quality programming, with an emphasis on improving food access, educating children and community members on the value of Vermont’s rich agricultural landscape, supporting farms, and building relationships to grow the reach of the organization. Since moving to Vermont in 2006, Catherine has advocated for equal access to healthy food and increased opportunities for all Vermonters. While caring for her two young children, she was a freelance health promotion consultant, completing projects focused on obesity prevention. She has a Master of Science degree in health promotion from the University of Montana. Catherine and her family live in Craftsbury, where they love to swim, cross-country ski, and play in the snow.

Maire Folan

Farm-to-School Program Manager

Contact Maire at mfolan@gmfts.org.

Maire joined the team in 2014 to help lead the charge with Farm-to-School efforts, working closely with our fantastic coordinators. She received her bachelor’s from the University of New Hampshire in environmental biology and nutrition. She went on to complete her Registered Dietitian Certification and received a master’s degree from Green Mountain College in sustainable food systems. She is thrilled to bring her love for food and farming to GMFTS. Prior to GMFTS, Maire has worked as a naturalist for the New Hampshire Audubon Society, in research and development for Stonyfield Farm and as a ski instructor at Crystal Mountain in WA. Maire hails from the Granite state, where she spent lots of time in the lakes, forests and mountains. You might find her digging into Vermont soils, swimming in beautiful NEK lakes, hiking among the rolling hills or enjoying area ski trails.

Amrita Parry

Food Hub Accounts Manager

Contact Amrita at aparry@gmfts.org.

Amrita Parry joined Green Mountain Farm-to-School in 2016. As Food Hub Accounts Manager, Amrita is responsible for managing Green Mountain Farm Direct, a regional food hub with a focus on bringing local food into schools, institutions, and other sales outlets. Amrita is from the Northeast Kingdom and earned a bachelor’s in integrated environmental science from Johnson State College. Before coming to Green Mountain Farm-to-School she was a fixture at Newport Natural Foods in Newport where she developed strong working relationships within the local food community. She is passionate about food, farms, and Vermont. Amrita and her son live in Coventry.

 

Cheryl Galipeau

Food Hub Logistics Manager

Contact Cheryl at cgalipeau@gmfts.org

Cheryl Galipeau joined Green Mountain Farm-to-School in 2019 as Food Hub Logistics Manager. Cheryl is responsible for the operations and systems of Green Mountain Farm Direct. She is originally from Rhode Island and moved to Vermont in 1985 where she attended the University of Vermont to study agriculture. Prior to joining Green Mountain Farm-to-School she was the Brownington Town Clerk and Treasurer for 18 years. She also owned and operated a dairy farm with her family on 150 acres in Brownington where they also had horses, chickens, pigs, and goats. They also had a large maple sugaring operation and ran a Bed and Breakfast business educating guests about farming and food practices. Cheryl is the proud mother of two children and she currently lives in Newport. She loves the outdoors and in the summer months, she enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, and gardening. During the winter months, she loves to bake, snowshoe and put together puzzles. Cheryl is excited to be a part of the Green Mountain Farm-to-School team.

Jessica Weston

Communications and Development Coordinator

Contact Jessica at jweston@gmfts.org

Jessica joined Green Mountain Farm-to-School in September 2019. She is responsible for promoting GMFTS programs and services, executing communications and marketing strategies for the organization, and assisting with fundraising campaigns and special projects. Jessica grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and later attended Hamilton College in Clinton, NY to pursue a degree in environmental studies. During College, Jessica spent time engaging in conservation and trail restoration work with different organizations in Asheville, North Carolina and on San Juan Island, Washington. Upon graduation in May 2017, she moved to the Northeast Kingdom and served for two years as an AmeriCorps Member at NorthWoods Stewardship Center. At NorthWoods, Jessica led and helped promote the organization’s educational programming and assisted with the planning and development of outreach events. Jessica is excited to continue working in the NEK with the GMFTS team. In her free time, Jessica enjoys backcountry skiing, mountain biking, canoeing, and playing sand volleyball.

Laurie Evans

Finance Coordinator

Laurie joined the organization in October 2019 as the Finance Coordinator for Green Mountain Farm-To-School. Laurie’s experience as a senior level Accounting and Financial Operations professional will be instrumental in establishing and maintaining the financial systems and processes necessary for a smooth and successful operation. Laurie comes to GMFTS with over 30 years of experience in Finance, Accounting and Business Administration. Laurie’s experience as the CFO for eleven years of the Arbors of Hop Brook, CCRC and Manchester and Vernon Manor Skilled Nursing Facilities as well as her seven years as CFO and Senior Vice President of Operations of the Non Profit, Capital for Change (Formerly known as the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, Inc.) provides strong financial leadership. Laurie is also on the Board of Directors of the North East Kingdom Snowblasters and was the former Treasurer of the Marlborough Education and Child Care Association Board and the former Secretary of the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, Inc. Board. Laurie studied Finance at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Alida Farrell

AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator

Contact Alida at afarrell@gmfts.org

Alida joined the Green Mountain Farm-to-School team in August 2018. As an AmeriCorps Farm-to-School Coordinator, Alida serves in schools in the Northeast Kingdom, educating kids on nutrition and agriculture, helping them grow school gardens, and working to source local foods in the cafeteria. She’s excited to be serving farmers, community members, and the next generation of healthy eaters to promote a positive outlook on local foods. After graduating from high school in Portland, Maine, Alida spent a year traveling and working on organic farms in Spain and New Zealand. She went on to study Philosophy and Environmental Studies at St. Lawrence University where she also pursued her interests in farming through apprenticing at a local CSA farm. Most recently, Alida has worked as an educator at the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment in Maine where she had the opportunity to encourage kids to think harder about food systems and get her hands dirty in the garden. Alida is looking forward to exploring the NEK, while weather permits, and then to a good long winter of cross-country skiing, knitting, and potlucks.

Colton McCracken

AmeriCorps Farm-to-School Coordinator

Contact Colton at rproctor@gmfts.org 

Colton McCracken joined GMFTS in August 2019 as an Americorps Member. As a Farm to School Coordinator, Colton is responsible for delivering educational programs, developing partnerships with GMFTS school and farm partners, in addition to coordinating and maintaining school gardens in the NEK. Colton graduated from Keene State College with a B.S in Health Science and recently completed a Dietetic Internship through Montana State University. Prior to joining GMFTS, Colton has volunteered at various organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, RiseVT, WIC and NCAT. Born and raised in Saint Albans, Vermont, Colton is excited to become an active member in the Northeast Kingdom and sprout roots as deep as the vegetables who live there.

Sharon Palmer

AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator

Contact Sharon at spalmer@gmfts.org

Sharon is from Weybridge, Vermont and joined GMFTS in August 2019 as an AmeriCorps member serving through LEAP (Lyndon Economic opportunity AmeriCorps Program). As a Farm to School Coordinator, Sharon will use cooking, gardening, and field trips to strengthen students’ connection with food and where it comes from. Sharon graduated cum laude in May 2019 from the University of Vermont with her Bachelor’s degree in Food Systems with a concentration in Community and International Development and minors in Animal Science with a dairy focus and Ecological Agriculture. As a long-time 4-H member, Sharon mentored younger club members in a variety of project areas, including showing dairy cattle, sewing, and cooking. While in college, Sharon honed her leadership and organizational skills during her three years as Band Manager for the University of Vermont Pep Band. In her free time, Sharon enjoys working with her small herd of Jersey dairy cattle, working on her latest sewing project, and admiring nature’s beauty with family and friends.

Rachel Stewart

AmeriCorps Farm-to-School Coordinator

Contact Rachel at rstewart@gmfts.org

Rachel Stewart joined GMFTS in August of 2019. As a Farm-to-School Program Coordinator, Rachel is responsible for educating NEK students on the importance of local food through a hands-on garden curriculum which includes maintaining, harvesting and cooking with their school garden and its harvest. Through this garden experience, farm field trips and unit- lessons, Rachel hopes to help students cultivate an understanding of the benefits of local food for individual and community health. Rachel first became interested in garden education after doing a high school internship with Land’s Sake Farm in Weston, Massachusetts. After this experience, she went on to study Human Services and Gender Studies at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She continued to pursue her interest in garden-based education throughout her college experience and interned with Waltham Fields Community Farm in Waltham, MA, and CitySprouts in Cambridge, MA. At these sites, she helped create farm-to-school curriculums and lead garden education groups for local elementary and middle school students. Rachel is excited to explore a new part of New England and to continue her work in youth farm-to-school education within a different community. She is excited to take long hikes with her dog, swim in beautiful lakes and cook delicious meals!

MEET THE BOARD

Hope Colburn

Chair

Glover, VT

David Stackpole

Board Chair Emeritus

Stowe, VT

Steve Wright

Newport, VT

Merlin Backus

Treasurer

Westfield, VT

Colleen Moore de Ortiz

Newport City, VT

Steve Breault

Ogden, QC

Dr. Thomas Moseley

Newport, VT

Dr. Katherine Sims

Newport

John Castle

Vice-Chair

Holland

OUR PROGRAMS

Farm-to-School

The Northeast Kingdom Farm-to-School Program helps schools in the Northeast Kingdom build school gardens, source local food, and provide nutrition and agriculture education.

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Vermont Harvest of the Month

Vermont Harvest of the Month is a statewide campaign that promotes a different Vermont-grown crop each month and provides ready-to-use materials for classrooms, cafeterias, and communities.

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Green Mountain Farm Direct

Farm Direct is a regional food hub distributing local food to schools, institutions, and other sales outlets in northern Vermont.

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The Lunchbox

The Lunchbox is a summer meal program and mobile learning kitchen that brings locally-grown food and food-based education to communities in the Northeast Kingdom.

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FROM OUR BLOG

GMFTS Welcomes Two New Staff Members

Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) is happy to announce the arrival of two new additions to our team – Jessica Weston and Laurie Evans. Jessica joined in September as Communications and Development Coordinator, and Laurie joined in October as Finance Coordinator. Jessica is originally from Dayton, Ohio, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Read the full article…

GET INVOLVED

Join us in our effort to build healthy communities through food and education.

Volunteer

We have a wide variety of ways of volunteer opportunities; some are weekly commitments, while others are one-time-only contributions of time and energy. All efforts are greatly appreciated. Volunteer opportunities include: gardening, supporting educational programs, marketing and outreach, special events, office support, research projects, fundraising, and committee membership.

To learn more about volunteering with GMFTS, contact Sophie Westover at swestover@gmfts.org or call 802-334-2044.

Internship Opportunities

We are looking for individuals who are self-motivated, creative, detail-oriented, and who have an interest in building healthy communities through food and education.

Internships are available in the following areas:

Each summer Green Mountain Farm-to-School offers internship opportunities to individuals who are self-motivated, creative, detail-oriented, and who have an interest in building healthy communities through food and education.  Each internship is unique and tailored to best fit the needs of the individual and the organization. Internships can include working on food access, consumer education, or communication projects that support all of GMFTS programs. To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to Catherine Cusack at ccusack@gmfts.org.

EMPLOYMENT

Employment is available in the following areas:

EVENTS

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MAJOR FUNDERS

We are thankful to the community of friends who have generously supported Green Mountain Farm-to-School and our work to promote the health of Vermont’s children, farms, and communities between July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.

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