Department of Plant and Soil Science
A Career and Lifestyle Intertwined
Barbara Moore '74, Earns Outstanding Alumna Award
- By Cheryl Dorschner
In every aspect of her life, Barbara Moore is a champion of great tasting, fresh Vermont foods. She is a real-life example of what the University of Vermont, its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the State of Vermont aspire for everyone, when it comes to working, interconnected, healthful food systems.
“Given UVM’s recent focus on food systems as a spire of excellence, Barbara has, in true Vermont food systems vocabulary, lived a life ‘from farm to plate,” observes Professor Philip Ackerman-Leist of Green Mountain College near Moore’s Vermont hometown. “Having grown up on an egg farm in Vermont’s Mettowee River Valley, Barbara never strayed far from the farm or its guiding principles of hard work, land stewardship and community responsibility. Those ideals, combined with her love of the fresh, local foods that she grew up with, have defined her food service career,” he added.
That's why on May 12, as UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni gathered at the campus Davis Center for their annual dinner, Barbara Moore '74, of Pawlet, Vermont and Rye, New York, was presented with a 2012 Outstanding Alumna Award by Dean Tom Vogelmann. Also receiving this award was Dennis Cannedy '75. Rebecca Calder '12 received the Lawrence K. Forcier Outstanding Senior Award. Emeriti faculty Mary Carlson and Frederick Magdoff were presented with the Robert O. Sinclair Cup for career achievement.
In 2001, when Barbara founded The Good Table food service business headquartered in Purchase, New York, she was one of the pioneers of a business strategy that was at once new and as old as the hills – that is, buying food from local producers, showcasing foods’ sources and building relationships with both food producers and customers. It’s a strategy that recently became common. What has remained uncommon is her niche of serving restaurant quality food in corporate settings.
She calls what she does, "Restaurant Supported Agriculture." Her restaurant initiative includes offering high quality meals that feature serving organic produce to 1,000 or more people daily in corporate cafés at five locations in New York and Connecticut. As if that weren’t enough, she organized farm CSA farm share deliveries to her business locations.
Barbara’s appreciation of fresh food originated at the farm in Pawlet where she grew up, and which she now owns and lives on weekends. To keep this farm producing, she leases land to several farmers. She smoothed the way for an upstate New York farmer to move to Pawlet and farm a neighboring property. She has arranged for the family farm and woodlands to eventually belong to the Vermont Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy. She also continues to support UVM with her time, efforts and annual donations to UVM’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
"You can see that the picture of Barbara Moore emerging here, is one described by that ancient phrase 'right livelihood' – her ethics, career, homestead and generosity are all interconnected," said Vogelmann.
Justine Denison, a New York State organic vegetable farmer who supplies Barbara’s business, says, “Barbara has made possible many gifts for many people with her dedication to outstanding work in both her professional career and in her contribution to preserving Vermont farm and woodlands.”
Nominating Barbara for the alumni award, Gail Jokerst ’74, divulged another angle on her classmate when she wrote, “Barbara credits her UVM education as shaping her future – literally and figuratively. After reading about Jean Harvey-Berino's research and VTrim weight-loss program, Barbara enrolled and lost 28 pounds on the Vtrim program, volunteered as a VTrim ambassador, brought a VTrim speaker to one of her corporate accounts and has given copies of Jean Harvey-Berino's book, "The EatingWell Diet" to friends, colleagues and neighbors.”
Barbara graduated magna cum laude from UVM in 1974 with a degree in home economics education. She worked for a decade in teachin with a sideline in catering.
After earning her master’s degree from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1985, Barbara worked in corporate food service. Barbara purchased the assets of her former employer of 12 years and expanded its business.
"Now that we’ve seen what Barbara has accomplished," said Vogelmann before presenting, aptly, a hand-turned wooden salad bowl, made of UVM Proctor Maple Research Center maple, "we are certain that this business model that celebrates and benefits Vermont, preserves a sustainable lifestyle and benefits many people, can be replicated by others with the same values."