Instructors

Cynthia Belliveau

Cynthia BelliveauCynthia Belliveau is the dean of University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education and teaches in UVM’s Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

In 2005, Dr. Belliveau founded the Sustainable Business: Practices in Support of People, Profit, and Principles program, designed to integrate the work of business and environmental faculty at the University.

She currently serves on the Governor’s Agricultural Development Board and has held board/committee positions for the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, the Lake Champlain Workforce Development Investment Board, and the Intervale Strategic Planning Committee. Dr. Belliveau is the director of Vtrim™, an evidence-based behavior weight-loss management program for the public developed at UVM in 16 years of clinical trials.

As dean of Continuing Education, she directs college and professional credit programming for college students and adults. Dr. Belliveau has consulted for Winrock International, US AID, and the Sri Lankan Government. She continues to teach undergraduates about food and cooking in the university Food Lab.

Sona Desai

Sona DesaiSona is the Intervale Food Hub manager and has led the development of the enterprise since its inception in 2007. She manages overall business communications, sales outreach, and growth, in addition to production planning and procurement with farmers.

Sona also leads the Intervale Center’s broader market development and consumer-education efforts. She has an extensive background in farming, food marketing, food procurement, and small business management, and she is committed to developing new, sustainable markets for Vermont farmers. Sona also serves on the Board of Directors of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT). She lives in Burlington and loves cooking, playing records, cross-country skiing, and hiking with her dog.

Holly Fowler

Holly FowlerHolly is a recognized sustainability leader, systems thinker, and strategic advisor with 15 years of international business experience. She has consulted on sustainable agriculture, energy, water, waste, health, and employee engagement to clients of all sizes in all sectors, including Fortune 500 companies, national healthcare networks, public school districts, colleges and universities, city and state governments, and non-profit organizations.

Holly previously served as the senior director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility for Sodexo North America, the world’s second-largest provider of institutional food service. In that role, she advised the development of global sourcing and operational goals for food and facilities management, led implementation of best practices, and deployed a sustainability dashboard for measuring site-level impact.

Holly has designed and facilitated more than 20 major sustainability seminars and has a unique gift for creating experiential learning events that inspire informed action. Her work has touched thousands of institutions, food service professionals, farmers and food producers, food processors and suppliers, community advocacy groups, NGOs, health and nutrition professionals, academics, scientists, public officials, policy makers, and many others positioned to lead and to influence sustainable change.

Holly holds a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems Leadership from the University of Vermont, an MBA from Babson College, and a BA from Bowdoin College.

Sara Heiss

Sara HeissSara Heiss is an Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont.  Her areas of expertise are public communication, health communications, strategic communication, food media and food politics.

Sara’s research program stems from the belief that the areas of health and communication are interconnected and can be better understood using an interdisciplinary approach.  Specifically, Sara is a health communication scholar interested in the context of food. She’s dedicated to exploring how communication practices shape and are shaped by how we define, make sense of, and manage the relationships among health and food. She’s comfortable using rhetorical, quantitative, and qualitative methodologies to investigate these topics.

Sara’s current projects examine public understandings of health risks within the contexts of raw milk, artesian cheese, and sweeteners. She’s also using organizational theories to explore the role of the food industry in the field of dietetics and the communication practices that characterize farm to institute supply chains.

Victor Izzo

Victor-IzzoVic is an evolutionary ecologist, conservation biologist, entomologist and educator hailing from the Hudson Valley of New York.

In addition to his participation in the BTL program, Vic also teaches at several other universities in the Green Mountain State (e.g. UVM, Johnson State and Champlain College) and works with numerous farmers in the region as a pest management researcher.

As a lifetime educator, Vic has spent the majority of his career teaching ecology, evolution and conservation biology to a wide range of audiences and cultures. Prior to arriving in Vermont, Vic served as a staff biologist and educator on several domestic and international Earthwatch conservation programs. As part of these programs he had the unique opportunity to witness the complex interaction of local communities and land use policies. These experiences led Vic to “move up the chain” from conservation ecology to agricultural systems. He believes that many of the current conservation and societal issues are intimately linked to the management of agricultural lands and the modern industrial production system.

“By bringing a more ecological perspective to the existing concept of agriculture, we can create a more integrated and sustainable system of food production while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of our wild lands.”

Scott Marlow

Scott MarlowScott Marlow currently serves as RAFI-USA’s Executive Director.

He previously directed the organization’s Farm Sustainability Program, providing in-depth financial counseling to farmers in crisis, education on disaster assistance programs and access to credit, and addressing the needs of mid-scale farmers seeking to increase the sustainability of their farms by transitioning to higher-value specialty markets.

His specialty is financial infrastructure, including access to credit and risk management for value-added producers. Scott has served on the steering committee of the National Task Force to Renew Agriculture of the Middle, the Organization Council of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Board of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, the Board of the North Carolina Farm Transition Network, and currently serves on the NC Agricultural Advancement Consortium and the Advisory Committee of the NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

Scott holds a Master’s degree in Crop Science from NC State University and a BA in Political Science from Duke University.

Travis Marcotte

Travis-MarcotteTravis Marcotte is the executive director of the Intervale Center.

It is a non-profit organization that develops farm- and land-based enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity, while protecting natural resources. The Intervale helps farmers bring their products to market, build and sustain their businesses, and maintain Vermont’s working landscape.

The Intervale Center includes the Intervale Conservation Nursery, Intervale Agricultural Consulting Services, and the Intervale Food Hub, plus 12 small, private farms developed in the center’s incubator program. Travis brings a breadth of experience and joy to his work strengthening integrated food systems and running the Intervale Center. Before joining the Intervale Center, he worked in agriculture and community economic development in Vermont, Central America, and the Caribbean.

He graduated from the University of Vermont Community Development and Applied Economics program and received his master’s degree in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis. He grew up on his grandparents’ dairy farm in Charlotte, Vermont, and now lives in a farmhouse where he enjoys more simple pleasures like cooking and home gardening with his family in Fletcher. He is raising chickens, vegetables, and pigs with his partner, Sue, and their son.

Ernesto Mendez

Ernesto MendezErnesto Mendez is an Associate Professor of Agroecology and Environmental Studies.

His research and teaching efforts focus on developing and applying transdisciplinary approaches that analyze interactions between agriculture, livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation in tropical and temperate rural landscapes.  Grounded in agroecology, most of his work also utilizes a Participatory Action Research Approach (PAR), in an effort to directly support conservation and rural development.

Ernesto’s other areas of interest are Food Security and Sovereignty, Rural Livelihoods, Agrifood Systems, Political Ecology, Participatory Action Research (PAR), and Environmental Conservation in Agricultural Landscapes.

Rob Michalak

Rob MichalakRob is the Global Director of Social Mission at Ben & Jerry’s.

Rob is the lead advocate at Ben & Jerry’s to keep Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission in balance with the company’s Product Mission and Economic Mission.  Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission looks to achieve innovative ways that the business can use its many resources to create positive social change in the world and make progress on the company’s sustainable corporate concept of “linked prosperity,” whereby as the company prospers, its stakeholders prosper too.

Rob has been with Ben & Jerry’s twice.  His first role at the company was as its PR Czar from 1989-1998.  He came back to the company to serve as its Social Mission Director starting in 2006.  Before that, and in between his Ben & Jerry’s days, Rob worked in broadcast media holding a variety of jobs in news, public affairs and independent productions.

Alison Nihart

Alison NihartAlison Nihart is the editor of the UVM Food Feed blog and the assistant for the Food Systems Initiative, UVM’s universitywide transdisciplinary initiative to promote food systems research, education, and outreach.

Alison graduated from UVM in 2012 with a master’s degree in Natural Resources. Her thesis research project looked at urban agriculture policy in Burlington, Vermont. In her free time, she serves as a facilitator for the Burlington Food Council and can be found wandering around local farmers’ markets.

Corie Pierce

Corie-PierceCorie began farming as a teenager in New Hampshire on Barker’s Farm in Stratham. It was supposed to be just a summer job, but she fell in love with the work growing food, being outdoors, running a family business, and interacting with the community. She knew it would eventually become part of her livelihood! She also loved teaching. So the vision of a community farm that also engaged people by sharing with them where food comes from and connecting people back to the food they are eating and how it is produced became a goal for her. In 2005, Corie and Adam met in California at the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden Apprenticeship. It was there where the two began discussing ideas of this “community farm” and combining their passions and vision for a farm. After a wonderful stint in Michigan co-managing the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm and developing and teaching in their apprenticeship, Corie moved back home to New England with her partner, Chris Dorman, and their son, Henry, to collaborate with Adam to begin their farm.

Corie and Adam found out about the Leduc Farm preservation led by the Vermont Land Trust and submitted their proposal to buy the farm. In August 2009, they were selected to buy the farm, and in September 2009 they purchased it and launched their dream. Corie continues to teach at Sterling College while working on the farm on weekends. As of January 2011, Corie joined Adam full-time on the farm, helping to grow the vegetable production and expand the dairy operation. Together, Corie and Adam are building all production areas of the farm and are excited to grow their dream of creating their family farm and community farm.

Taylor Ricketts

Taylor RickettsTaylor is interested in connecting rigorous interdisciplinary research with real-world conservation problems, both in Vermont and worldwide. His recent focus has been the economic benefits provided to people by forests, wetlands, reefs, and other natural areas. He works on understanding how ecosystems provide these benefits, what they are worth (and to whom), and how they might change in the future. Other interests include global patterns of biodiversity, conservation planning, ecological economics, and community and landscape ecology.

Taylor went to college at Dartmouth (Earth Sciences) and got my PhD at Stanford (Biology). He remains a Senior Fellow at World Wildlife Fund, where he directed the Conservation Science Program for nine years before moving to UVM in 2011. In addition to his faculty post in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, he directs the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at UVM.

Larry Simpson

Larry SimpsonLarry Simpson is senior director for campus services in New England for Sodexo.

His primary role is to collaborate with Sodexo’s college and university partners to establish strategic alignments between their mission/vision and educational pedagogy with Sodexo’s comprehensive solutions of quality of life services.

He joined Sodexo in March of 2012 in Sodexo’s K-12 Schools division. In addition, he represents the Education Group on Sodexo’s Sustainability Engagement & Expert Development (SEED) Community of Practice.

Larry brings more than 20 years of success in leadership roles where he has worked with FORTUNE 500 companies to develop and execute corporate real estate strategies. Most notably, Larry served as a Principal with the Real Estate Advisory Services practice at Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Sodexo, he was the Executive Vice President with the Sustainability Roundtable, Inc., where he assisted companies in their move to greater sustainability. Clients included Apple, American Airlines, CapitalOne, Cisco, Citigroup, Citrix, ConocoPhillips, EMC, ExxonMobil, General Motors, HP, Lenovo, Nationwide, PG&E, Salesforce.com, SAP and Xerox.

As Chair of the Town of Lakeville (MA) Energy Advisory Committee, he led the effort to gain the Massachusetts’ ‘Green Communities’ designation for his hometown of Lakeville and was acknowledged as “Man of the Year’ by the STANDARD TIMES for his community service.

He is a high school lacrosse coach at Sacred Heart School – Kingston, father of three boys and lives with his wife, Melissa, in southwest Massachusetts.

Katherine Sims

Katherine SimsKatherine Sims is the founder and executive director of Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS).

It is a non-profit organization in Newport, Vermont, that strengthens local food systems by promoting positive economic and educational relationships between schools, farms, and communities. GMFTS supplies fresh, local food to schools and institutions and gives students of all ages the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy food choices through GMFTS’s school gardens, farm-to-school programs, food hub, and mobile farmers’ markets. Founded in 2008, GMFTS has grown rapidly, expanding their programming to serve schools and communities across northern Vermont. Katherine brings 10 years of experience building school gardens, connecting institutional buyers with local farms, teaching students about healthy food choices, and training school food-service staff to prepare and serve local foods to her work developing healthy food systems and running GMFTS. Katherine graduated from Yale University with a BA in History. She lives in Lowell, Vermont, where she enjoys raising chickens and vegetables with her partner.

About Sodexo Sodexo and 425,000 employees worldwide (18th Largest Employer) touches the lives of 75 million consumers in 80 countries every day. In North America alone, Sodexo serves more than 15 million consumers at 9,000 client sites. Wherever Sodexo operates their dedication to making every day a better day for people and organizations comes from one goal— to positively improve Quality of Life.Quality of Life is central to the performance and growth of individuals and organizations. Working from this perspective, Sodexo has redefined how to best serve their clients’ complex needs across the industries we serve: Corporate, Education, Government, Health Care, Senior Living, Sports and Leisure and Remotes Sites.Sodexo improves Quality of Life by:

  • Ensuring the people that they serve — corporate and government employees, healthcare patients, students and faculty, sports venue attendees, retirees and more — have access to nutritious meals.
  • Helping people live a healthy lifestyle. Sodexo offers an array of programs that help them enjoy healthier lifestyles, such as their award-winning Mindful program.
  • Contributing to the economic, social and environmental development of the communities where they operate.