A Center for Grassroots Organizing

AGROECOLOGY

We think regenerative agriculture is key to a just transition through the crisis. Land stewardship is one way for communities who have been pushed to the sidelines to lead the fight for resilience, and maybe turn the tides.

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Our Agroecology Team (see their profiles below) is working is building an agricultural justice vision focused on collaboration, ecology, justice for marginalized communities. We hope to build cooperative livelihoods by demonstrating and educating about sound agricultural, forestry, and land & water stewardship practices, and to integrate this work into organizing movements.

 

 

INTERESTED IN FARMING WITH US?

 

 

AVA MURPHY

AVA MURPHY

Ava is a Farm Educator at the University of Vermont’s Farmer Training Program for new and beginning adult farmers. In this role, she engages students in applied agroecology in their incipient journey into the depths of developing their relationship with the food system. She also facilitates a food and social justice curriculum. When the growing season slows down, Ava works with UVM’s Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative, coordinating the cultivation of a community of practice that does agroecological research around the globe. In her free time, bicycle propulsion, (extremely amateur) banjo pluckin’, and epic farm meals are all a must.

MOLLIE WILLS

MOLLIE WILLS

Mollie spent 2010-2016 working in various capacities for Rural Vermont, primarily managing operations and supporting community and member relations. She returned to the organization late in 2018 and now serves as the Grassroots Organizing Director. She firmly believes that a just and dignified agricultural economy based on regenerative practices is the backbone to resilient communities and healthy ecosystem.

 

Meghan Stotko

Meghan Stotko

is co-owner of Heartwood, a 5-acre diversified vegetable farm, old-fashioned sugaring operation, and catering company in the Northeast Kingdom. She’s been dedicated to food security, community organizing, and education for over a decade.  Most recently, she’s been working on ceramic water purification projects in Nicaragua and Puerto Rico and is on the board of Rural Vermont. She sees the center for grassroots organizing as fresh and hopeful. We need a place for working class people to organize for massive structural change and justice.

LAUREN WESTON

LAUREN WESTON

Lauren Weston’s work on water led her back to the land. After working as a water resource engineer in Vermont, Lauren went north to farm on an organic permaculture-based diversified vegetable and berry farm. Currently, she is working with various leading ladies across Vermont on topics like understanding the soil carbon sponge, mycoremediation projects in the Lake Champlain Basin, and community-led edible food experiences. She is working to contextualize healthy soils, transpiration and the water cycle, and photosynthesis as part of the whole system of nature. She has been working to organize, listen to, and learn from farmers for insight into the path forward for the climate justice movement with an eye toward regenerative agriculture and regenerative culture.

GRAHAM UNANGST-RUFENACHT

GRAHAM UNANGST-RUFENACHT

grew up in East Montpelier and currently lives in Plainfield, VT.  He has grazed and raised grass fed and finished beef cattle in different parts of central Vermont for more than 10 years; and has been operating Robinson Hill Beef in Calais, VT since 2013.  He also collaboratively runs an edible and medicinal landscaping company, Walking Onion.

Graham has worked as a mentor and educator with youth ages 6-18 at EarthWalk Vermont, the ROOTS School, the King Street Youth Center, Uprise! Camp, and other local schools and educational programs.  He offers adult education in the community as well – from agroecological practices, to fermentation and herbalism. Graham is the Field Organizer at Rural Vermont, and previously served on its Board – a small farm and economic justice advocacy and policy organization.  Graham graduated from UVM with a degree in Religious Studies and Plant and Soil Science; has a Permaculture Design Certificate from Yestermorrow Design / Build School; and attended the 3 year clinical herbal training program at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism.

CAT BUXTON

CAT BUXTON

connects communities to affect positive food system change from the ground up. She consults, teaches, and presents about soil and ecosystem health to individuals of all ages and groups of all sizes through her business Grow More, Waste Less – Food Systems Consulting, LLC. She manages the edible schoolyard at Thetford Elementary School, weaving it into K-6 project based learning, and is a technical guide for school compost systems. She leads Land Listener workshops with the Soil Carbon Coalition, and organizes the Upper Valley Apple Corps and a host of other projects including the Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition. She serves on the Board of Directors for Rural Vermont, the Soil Carbon Coalition, and Upper Valley Food Co-op. To learn more about her work visit: growmorewasteless.com

 

GRACE GERSHUNY

GRACE GERSHUNY

Grace Gershuny writes and teaches about soil, compost, and organic agriculture. Her books include The Soul of Soil,The Rodale Book of Composting, and Organic Revolutionary: A Memoir of the Movement for Real Food, Planetary Healing, and Human Liberation. She has taught about organic and sustainable agriculture for the Institute for Social Ecology, Goddard College, Sterling College, and Green Mountain College. She got her start working with NOFA in the 1970’s, and has never looked back. Grace currently works as an organic inspector and serves as an agricultural adviser to the Center for Grassroots Organizing and QEW African Diaspora Earthcare Coalition.

HENRY HARRIS

HENRY HARRIS

grew up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He and his amazing 15 year moved into the new center in Marshfield, VT last year. He has worked in social movements in building trades around the US, helping coordinate small and very large actions and organizing for issues like food sovereignty, anti-globalization, racial justice, ecology, and climate justice. Henry works locally and nationally with the Vermont Climate Union, the National Lawyers Guild, the Switchboard Trainers Network, and an arts & action collective called the Make. He also coordinates the Youth Action Alliance and Uprise, a youth action summer camp, coming back to the grassroots center this August.

TOM GILBERT

TOM GILBERT

Founder, Center for an Agricultural Economy, Owner/Operator of Black Dirt Farm in Stannard, Vermont (more on Tom coming soon)