A Tribute to UVM Agricultural Economics Professor Bob Parsons

By Terry Bradshaw, PhD

The agriculture, academic, and extension world lost a true friend with a sharp, grounded mind and a sense of humor only developed in farm fields, barns, and milk house driveways when Dr. Bob Parsons passed away Friday after a two-plus year battle with cancer.

Bob’s impact on Vermont agriculture looms large, as he has been key in studying dairy and other farm sector economics; in overseeing the UVM Risk Management Agency; in directing the Vermont Farm Succession Program; and in being a sought-out resource for detailing agricultural economics at all levels and relating them to stakeholders. Despite being quite sick (and sicker than he’d led on to those of us who work with him), recently he was commenting on Vermont Public Radio on the current state of milk prices and helping one of our undergrad students do his taxes. The man was dedicated right to the end.

bob parsons

Bob Parsons (right) and his wife Grace Matiru in action.

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Can Lessons from Vermont Keep Local Agriculture Alive in Montana?

By Erika Fredrickson
Missoula Independent/High Country News

This story is part of The Montana Gap Project, produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network.

On a recent Wednesday morning, a small group of farmers gathered at a table inside a neighborhood restaurant on the outskirts of Missoula. It was a crisp 25 degrees outside, but inside the Trough a fireplace flickered and the smell of bacon wafted through the air. The farmers pulled off wool coats and knit caps and held their travel mugs out to the waitress, who filled them with steaming coffee. The Trough, formerly Dale’s Dairy, is about the only place in at least a mile radius of the Orchard Homes and Target Range neighborhoods where you can grab a bite to eat. Its rustic decor evokes an old farmhouse, but it’s a decidedly modern space—and that combination of traditional and contemporary makes it the perfect rendezvous for rural farmers trying to keep farming alive in an increasingly urban setting.

vermont land access

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UVM Trip to Kenya Highlights Food Systems, Nutrition & Community

By Olivia Peña

A group of 14 UVM students traveled to Kenya for 12 days in January to apply hands-on nutrition, food systems, and community development skills they learned on campus.

Students from several majors participated in the Sustainable Development and Education in Kenya winter session course. They came together in a transdisciplinary environment to gain real-world experience. The class, led by Community Development and Applied Economics Professor Dr. Jane Kolodinsky and Nutrition and Food Science Professor Dr. Farryl Bertmann, implemented three projects: water quality and systems, women’s health and empowerment, and community entrepreneurship.

food systems development.

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Farmer Training Alum Starts Vermont Farm-Based School for Children

Learning how to cook and garden as a child helped Lelia Evans cultivate a passion for sharing her knowledge with others.

Lelia, the founder of The Market Garden School in Stowe, graduated from the UVM Farmer Training Program in 2016.  We talked to the Belmont, Massachusetts native about her path to starting a farm-based school and her passion for teaching children how to grow and cook food.  Vermont farm-based school

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A Necessary Paradigm Shift in Food and Farming

By Jack Lazor

Our world is in a bit of an uproar these days.  Never before have we seen so many challenges come to the fore simultaneously.  Here in Vermont, we are very fortunate to live in a rather civil society, especially when we consider the toxic political environment that we see on the national level.

organic farming
Photo credit: The Burlington Free Press

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