Excerpts from a Burlington Free Press story that ran on July 8, 2012, written by Melissa Pasanen, a food writer and editor based in Vermont. Contact Melissa Pasanen at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TasteofVermont.
“The program’s goal, said Cynthia Belliveau, dean of continuing education, department of nutrition and food sciences professor and a core member of the planning team, was to help ’emerging leaders in food systems learn to better articulate and use their voices to talk about alternative food systems.'”
“Food systems is a relatively new academic discipline, Belliveau said, but was selected in 2009 as one of the three ‘spires’ of transdisciplinary research focus at the university. The field explores ‘the role of local, regional, national and global food systems and how they affect soil, water, human health, nutrition, economics and transportation,’ she said.”
“The group started its ‘positive deviant’ tour on a rainy Monday morning in Burlington’s Intervale, Vermont’s nationally recognized example of revitalized urban agriculture.
As birds tweeted in the eaves of a renovated 1880s-era barn, Breakthrough Leaders participants listened to the story of how some of the best agricultural soil in the area was rescued from 997 tires (among other trash) and built into a 350-acre community of farms growing close to 10 percent of Burlington’s fresh food needs.”
“’There are lots of different places trying to figure out how to support the next generation of leaders,’ [LaDonna] Redmond said. ‘UVM is probably on the cutting edge of that conversation trying to codify a way of formally supporting changes in the food system. If you can do it for 600,000, you can do it for the rest of the world.’”