Vic Izzo, Ph.D.

Educational Coordinator and Lecturer

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.”

L. Simone Washington

simoneL. Simone Washington serves as Social Equity Manager at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc. in South Burlington, VT. Ms. Washington leads the company’s global diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Simone has more than 17 years of experiencing working to help elevate the voices of people with marginalized identities and design more equitable systems, institutions, and policies.

A trained conflict engagement and legal professional, Simone has worked with the Carter Center’s International Conflict Resolution Program, providing conflict management design and process facilitation support for its work in pre-election violence prevention and Ebola eradication efforts in West Africa. Additionally, she has contributed extensively to helping promote racial and economic equity by consulting with some of the nation’s leading foundations including Casey Family Programs, Robert Wood Johnson, Open Society, and Kellogg Foundations.

She received her B.A, in Political Science and Criminal Justice (double major) from the University of South Alabama; J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University; and, M.S. in Negotiations and Conflict Resolution from the Werner Institute at Creighton University School of Law.

Guest Speakers

Cynthia Belliveau

As Dean of University of Vermont Division of Continuing Education, Dr. Cynthia Belliveau directs programming for pre-college students, college students, and professional adults both on campus, internationally and online. Dr. Belliveau is a faculty member the College of Medicine and in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. Her research is in food systems primarily focused on pedagogical applications. She is the Co-Director of the John Dewey Kitchen Institute and teaches undergraduate and graduate students about food systems in the UVM Foods Lab.

Scott Marlow

RAFI-USA’s Executive Director

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.

Dr. V. Ernesto Méndez

Faculty Director, Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC), Professor of Agroecology & Environmental Studies in Department of Plant and Soil Science and the Environmental Program, UVM

Ernesto MendezDr. Méndez’s 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.

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:

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  • Contributing to the economic, social and environmental development of the communities where they operate.