University of Vermont

Flooded farmland

Climate change or extreme weather?

Whatever you want to call it, there is no doubt that Vermont is experiencing change. So what should we do? Mitigate and adapt.

Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group


Vermont Agricultural Resilience in a Changing Climate

This long-term initiative seeks to work with farmers, agricultural service providers, researchers and community organizations to address the impacts of climate change in Vermont. The project focuses on evaluating and implementing on-farm climate change mitigation and adaptation practices. In partnership with farmers, we will identify the best strategies related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and evaluate the impact of these strategies on the economic health of farms, their environmental quality, and their preservation. Our work will also involve and inform state and federal level policymakers.

We work with collaborating researchers from UVM Extension, Community Development and Applied Economics, and the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. The UVM research team is comprised of the following members: V. Ernesto Mendez, Plant & Soil Science; Stephanie Hurley, Plant & Soil Science; David Conner, Community Development & Applied Economics; Chris Koliba, Community Development & Applied Economics; Asim Zia, Community Development & Applied Economics; Linda Berlin, Nutrition & Food Sciences and Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Heather Darby, Extension; Carol Adair, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources.

This Participatory Action Research (PAR) project is grounded in and advanced by developing partnerships with Vermont farmers, VT NRCS, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, policy makers, funders, and farm service providers. Support for this project has been provided by various sources within UVM including the Department of Plant & Soil Science Department, the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the UVM Food Systems Spire. Additional funding for the project has been provided by the Vermont Community Foundation and the High Meadows Fund.

NOFA 2014 Intensive Workshop: Action Planning for Farming in a Changing Climate

Researchers and extension educators from the University of Vermont are partnering with farmers to develop long-term farm management strategies under weather extremes. The session built on the successful intensive offered last year with a similar topic, and included themed “resilience stations” exploring on-farm best management practices, financial planning, and personal care. Participants were asked to bring their farm maps and other information to the session where they developed individualized “climate change resilience action plans.”

Presenters: Joshua Faulkner, UVM Farming and Climate Change Program Coordinator; Kate Westdijk, UVM Food Systems Research Specialist and Clinical Herbalist Intern; Eric Noel, co-owner of Health Hero Farm; John Hayden, co-owner of The Farm Between; Jenn Colby, UVM Grazing Specialist; Ginger Nickerson, UVM GAPS Outreach Coordinator;Kirsten Workman,UVM Agronomy Outreach Professional for Field Crops and Nutrient Management; Sam Smith, Intervale Center Farm Business Specialist; Sarah Noel Larose, VTNatural Resources Conservation Service; Liz Brownlee and Connor Steman, former UVM Field Naturalist Program Master’s students; and Lindsey Ruhl, Master's student in UVM Plant and Soil Science.

Check out WCAX's story about the event!

VPR also featured a story and a radio segment about the event!

Materials from the 2014 Intensive:
-Workshop Outline PDF
-Resilience Stations PDF
-2014 Intensive PPT
-Joshua Faulkner: Climate Change and Agriculture in Vermont PPT
-Eric Noel: Health Hero Farm Presentation
-John Hayden: The Farm Between PDF
-Jane Sorensen: River Berry Farm PDF
-Resilience Stations Notes PDF

NOFA 2014 General Session Presentation

In this session, 50 attendees heard from UVM researchers and innovative farmers who have partnered to identify on-farm management practices that are best suited to enhance agricultural resilience in Vermont. Researchers shared preliminary data from a long term research initiative as well as some promising practices they have evaluated. Farmers shared strategies they are implementing on their farms.The presentation was a success, and all who attended explored and suggested ways in which Vermont agriculture can shift the focus from disaster relief to climate resilience!

Presenters: Kate Westdijk, M.S., is a Research Specialist for the “Vermont Agricultural Resilience in a Changing Climate” Initiative, a project of the UVM Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group. Kate grew up on an off-the-grid, subsistence farm in Cabot, Vermont. She currently lives in Burlington Co-housing with her family. Dr. Stephanie Hurley is an Assistant Professor in UVM’s Plant and Soil Science department and is working with Kate on the VARCC initiative. Her research integrates the fields of landscape architecture, land use planning, ecological restoration, and watershed protection. Jane Sorensen is co-owner with her husband, David Marchant, of River Berry Farm in Fairfax, Vermont since 1992. They grow 50 acres of vegetables, 3 acres of strawberries, 1-1/2 acres of raspberries, and 18,000 square feet of greenhouse crops. Eric Noël is co-owner of Health Hero Island Farm, a family owned, organic grazing, forage and vegetable farm operating in South Hero, Vermont. Soil regeneration is the key to the Farm's health and climatic stability.

Vermont Grazing & Livestock Conference 2014


The ARLG team held a lunch discussion at the 18th Annual VT Grazing & Livestock Conference this January.  The team talked with twenty farmers about the risks of climate change that were of greatest concern to them and ways to prepare for the effects of climate change on their farms and in the larger community.  The discussion was successful in collecting ideas of what can be done to ease the impact climate change can have on agriculture in Vermont.

May 11, 2012 - Workshop

Erica Campbell Erica Campbell - Vermont Farm to Plate Program Director, facilitates a breakout group.

On May 11th, 2012, 60 service providers, researchers, policy makers and educators gathered in the UVM Billings North Lounge to hear from panelists and discuss how climate change affects and is affected by Vermont agriculture. The event was facilitated by members of the UVM Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG). The workshop was designed as an interactive session to provide a networking opportunity for a diverse group of stakeholders concerned with this topic. Participants were tasked with both identifying and prioritizing research and outreach needs to assist the Vermont agricultural community in adapting to and mitigating climate change. Funding support was provided by the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, the UVM Department of Plant and Soil Science, the UVM Food Systems Spire, and the UVM Environmental Studies Program.

Workshop resources and presentations are available below:

Last modified February 27 2014 11:01 AM

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