Our Blog

Fall 2021 Newsletter

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Read our Fall Newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/0e272160a11b/gmfts-spring-newsletter-4876338?e=15d9406fb8



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.


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.


View the map key over here.


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.

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.

Alida Farrell

Consumer Education and Food Access Coordinator

Contact Alida at afarrell@gmfts.org

Alida is the Consumer Eduation and Food Access Coordinator at GMFTS, where she is involved in increasing access to healthy food, and fighting hunger in the Northeast Kingdom. Alida stepped into this role in September 2020, after serving two years as an AmeriCorps Farm-to-School Coordinator with GMFTS where she taught kids about Vermont’s agricultural systems through school gardens, and cooking and eating through many classroom lessons, after school programs, and cafeteria taste tests. Alida grew up in Freeport, Maine, and attended St. Lawrence University where she earned degrees in Environmental Studies and Philosophy in 2017. When Alida is not managing charitable food projects, you might find her skiing, gardening, cooking, or crafting.

Becca Perrin

Food Hub Account Manager

Contact Becca at bperrin@gmfts.org.

Becca joined the Green Mountain Farm-to-School team in August 2021. As the Food Hub Account Manager, she is responsible for cultivating and maintaining customer relationships for the Green Mountain Farm Direct Food Hub. Before coming to GMFTS, Becca served two years as a FoodCorps AmeriCorps service member in Chelsea, MA, connecting kids to healthy food in schools. Originally from Connecticut, Becca graduated from University of Oregon where she received a degree in Environmental Studies and Food Studies and also holds a Local Food Leader certificate from Iowa State University. When she’s not working, you can find Becca in the forest, biking, hiking, snowshoeing or at home doing yoga, baking or sewing. She’s so excited to be a part of the Vermont food system.

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.

Nicole Davis

Finance Manager

Contact Nicole at ndavis@gmfts.org.

Nicole joined the GMFTS team in June of 2021. As the Finance Manager, she is responsible for executing the financial activities of the organization across all programs. She received her B.S. degree in accounting at Franklin Pierce University and prior to GMFTS worked for Jay Peak as an accountant and Circus Smirkus as their office manager. Nicole moved to Brownington with her two young boys five years ago to live closer to her family. She and her boys enjoy spending as much time on Lake Salem as possible in the summer and skiing at Jay Peak and Burke in the winter. She trains, breeds, shows, and hunts with Spinoni (Italian hunting dogs). Outside of work, you’re likely to find her digging in her garden, exploring the NEK with her boys, or baking something tasty.

Erin Katz

AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator

Contact Erin at ekatz@gmfts.org

Erin joined GMFTS in August as an AmeriCorps Farm-to-School Coordinator. In this role, Erin educates elementary school students about their local food system through programming around school gardens, taste tests, and farm field trips. She is excited to facilitate conversation around health, local food, and what it means to be a steward of the land. Prior to becoming a Farm-to-School Coordinator, Erin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied Business and Food Systems. During her time in Wisconsin, Erin worked on an organic vegetable farm and interned at the Madison Children’s Museum where she sought opportunities to integrate food education into curriculum. As a first time visitor of the state, Erin is excited to explore the Northeast Kingdom and all that Vermont has to offer.

Sean Morrissey

AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator

Contact Sean at smorrissey@gmfts.org

Sean Morrissey joined GMFTS in August of 2021 as a Farm to School Coordinator through the LEAP Americorps program. As a Farm to School Coordinator Sean works with Kingdom school sites to mangage and maintain school gardens and provide students and schools with food and farm edcucation through workshops, garden time and farm field trips. A graduate of St. Lawrence Universtiy in 2016 and a participant in St. Lawrence’s Sustinablity Semster Program, food system education has been part and parcel of Sean’s own educational journey. Likewise Sean spent his college career working with the Campus Kitchens Project, managing a kitchen of student volunteers to save and repurpose meals for those in need. A Vermonter from Milton, over the last several years Sean has been working in and around the state in a variety of roles related to the tech and brewing industries. Before joining GMFTS Sean hiked the Long Trail in 2020 and WOOFED across the country to reconnect with what he feels is most important: time spent outdoors and food access. When he isn’t serving with GMFTS you can find him hiking beautiful mountains, dipping in lakes and snowboarding in the winter.

Emma Trainor

AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator

Contact Erin at etrainor@gmfts.org

Emma joined GMFTS in August of 2021 as a Farm to School Coordinator through the LEAP AmeriCorps program. As a Farm to School Coordinator, her responsibilities include maintaining school gardens, acting as a liaison between farms, schools, and GMFTS, and educating youth in the Northeast Kingdom about food systems and healthy eating through farm field trips, classroom workshops, and taste testing. Prior to starting her term of service at GMFTS, Emma graduated from the University of Vermont in 2018 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Philosophy, as well as a certification as a yoga teacher. Her understanding and awareness of global food systems deepened in her time spent studying in Indonesia as well as Ecuador, cultivating a deeper appreciation for local food back in her home country. After graduating she spent a season working on an organic vegetable farm in Charlotte, VT, before continuing her travels to Peru and eventually Hawai’i, where she joined an organic farm to table operation as a WWOOFer. Emma feels passionately about transforming the food system by cultivating a sense of stewardship and responsibility to land and community, and is excited for the opportunity to share this passion with young people during her term of service. When she isn’t serving with GMFTS, Emma can most likely be found in nature with her guitar, hiking, cooking, practicing yoga, or spending time with loved ones.

Addie Irvin

AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator

Contact Addie at airvinz@gmfts.org

Addie joined GMFTS as an Americorps Farm- to-School Coordinator in August 2021. In this position, she will help connect local students to healthy food options through experiential garden education, taste tests, and farm field trips. After graduating from Franklin and Marshall College in 2018 with a degree in Biology, Addie joined the North Cascades Institute as a Naturalist Field Instructor. She loves connecting students with the natural wonders of the earth and helping to build positive relationships with the land. A few years ago, Addie moved back to her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and gained knowledge of the restaurant and coffee industries while learning how to build planter boxes to provide urban dwellers with the opportunity to grow their own gardens. Addie is excited to build upon her experiences and grow relationships among the schools, communities, and farms here in Vermont. In her free time, you can find Addie hiking, biking, swimming, observing the magnificent wildlife, and learning to cross country ski in the winter with her pup and best friend, Roo!


Geoffrey Bok

Craftsbury, VT

John Castle

Acting Board Chair


Dr. Kristy Ellis


Jay, VT

Steve Wright

Newport, VT

Dr. Thomas Moseley

Newport, VT

Dr. Katherine Sims




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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Green Mountain Farm Direct

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

Read More

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.

Read More


Fall 2021 Newsletter

Read our Fall Newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/0e272160a11b/gmfts-spring-newsletter-4876338?e=15d9406fb8


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


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 Jessica Weston at jweston@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.



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.