University of Vermont

Kate Turcotte

Undergraduate student, ecological agriculture major

Kate Turcotte

Kate Turcotte turned her passion into action when she organized the Vermont Food Summit — and she hopes that such events will capture the attention of peers who don't think as much about what they eat, as well as how many people actually go hungry.

"I want people to see it's an event just sitting down to a meal and thinking about where your food comes from," says Turcotte. "It's something that we're all a part of so how do we interact with it?"

More about Kate Turcotte and her interests

The Vermont Food Summit's ambitious week of events explored ideas from culture to climate, land to labor, and was entirely student-driven. The inspiration, the fund-raising, the event organization was the work of Turcotte, a seemingly tireless senior majoring in ecological agriculture.

The Battle of the Campus Chefs was one of the summit's big, fun events (Turcotte competed on team Campus Kitchens — an organization that fights community hunger; she co-founded UVM's chapter), and the events that involved artisanal cheese were among the most popular and filled up first (Turcotte will start her third season at Shelburne Farms working as a cheesemaker). But what surprised Turcotte the most is what happened at the smaller, less promoted events like the bring-your-own lunch "eat-ins," casual get-togethers with a guest speaker.

"I was late because of a class — I do go to class — and the room was packed," she says. "People were sitting there having this really engaging conversation. It just moved me."