University of Vermont

Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group



 Sebas Castro

Sebastian Castro, Ph.D
Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science, 2013

After 3 years of working with small coffee farmers in Costa Rica, Sebastian came to understand the importance of accelerating the shift we need to make towards more sustainable food systems. His research at UVM focuses on modelling the impact of more sustainable farming practices on farm and landscape productive and ecological functions and farmers' livelihoods. He is also interested in the development of environmental monitoring and decision support systems using geoinformation technologies.

Marcela Pino
M.S. in Natural Resources, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, 2013

Marcela's research focused on the effects of agrobiodiversity and livelihoods diversification of coffee producers on food security in Nicaragua. In 2010, Marcela co-founded Food for Farmers with Janice Nadworny and Rick Peyser. Food for Farmers seeks to support coffee producers realize a better quality of life for their families and communities through community-appropriate and lasting food security. Marcela is currently Co-director at Food for Farmers.


Katie Goodall
Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science, 2013; Website

Katie's research objectives were to determine the distribution and diversity of bird and tree species within coffee cooperatives, and understand how patterns of biodiversity correlated with farmer management decisions. Katie is now a Botany Fellow with the Wellesley College Botanical Gardens.

Katlyn Stillings Morris
Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science, 2013

Katlyn focused her research on determining the causes of seasonal food insecurity and identifying opportunities to increase food security and ensure environmental sustainability. Katlyn is now a Lecturer in the UVM Plant and Soil Science Department and Environmental Studies Program.


Meryl Richards
Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science, 2013; Website

Meryl's research measured the changes in shade tree diversity and above ground carbon stocks in a 35 hectare small holder coffee cooperative over nine years in Tacuba, El Salvador and analyzed the relationships between species diversity and carbon stocks. Meryl is now a Science Officer with the CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). She is based at the UVM Gund Institute for Ecological Economics.

Dan Erickson

Dan Erickson
Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science, 2012

Dan's dissertation focused on embedding production agriculture and other land use options on large residential lots in Chittenden County, VT via a proposed cooperative land management program.

Lee Gross

Lee Gross
M.S. Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, (2011)

Lee's master's thesis analyzed coffee farmer livelihoods, agroecology and ecosystem services conservation in the Pico Duarte region of the Dominican Republic. Lee was co-advised by Dr. Jon Erickson.

Rafter Ferguson

Rafter Ferguson
M.S. in Plant and Soil Science Department, (2011)

Rafter's thesis focused on an economic analysis of agroforestry systems for Vermont farms and incorporated a significant design component. Rafter was co-advised with Dr. Sarah Taylor Lovell from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

S'ra DeSantis

S'ra DeSantis
M.S. in Plant and Soil Science, 2009

For her master's thesis, S'ra analyzed plant biodiversity in non-crop habitats of Vermont organic and conventional vegetable farms.

Last modified April 08 2015 11:40 AM

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