University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities


Linda Berlin, Director


Dr. Berlin has been with the University of Vermont (UVM) since 1992, when she began coordinating a federally funded nutrition education program for underserved families (“EFNEP”). In 1999, she moved into a faculty position within the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, at which time her role shifted to include broader involvement in food and food systems issues. In March 2009 she became half-time Director of the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and also continues as an Extension faculty member focused on food systems. She holds an M.S. from Cornell University in human nutrition (1990) and a doctorate from Tufts University where she was enrolled in a program titled “Agriculture, Food, and Environment” based out of the Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy (2006). Since being in Vermont, she chaired boards of two Burlington-based non-profits (Vermont Community Garden Network and Hunger Free Vermont) and was on the board for the national Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. She currently co-facilitates the Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council and is a member of the Farm to Plate Consumer Education and Marketing Working Group and Food Access Cross-cutting Team

Juan Alvez, Pasture Program Technical Coordinator


Juan P. Alvez comes from a two-generation pasture-based family farm in Rivera, Uruguay. He obtained his BS in Agronomy in Brazil, his MS in Plant and Soil Science with Bill Murphy and his Ph.D. in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. He has experienced interdisciplinary research in grazing management, agroecology, ecosystems goods and services, land use change, conservation policy, green markets, and ecological economics. His work addresses environmental, social and productive aspects of grazing farms, with emphasis on dairy management, ecosystems conservation and sustainable livelihoods in Vermont and New England. In his study, grasslands play a key role because they are complex ecosystems that sustain a vast array of functions and processes delivering benefits for supporting healthy environments and communities.

Jenny Brown, Budget Manager


Jenny joined the Center in December of 2007 as budget manager. She graduated from Champlain College in 2003 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. She brings with her a variety of work experience in the public and private sectors of accounting. Currently she lives in South Burlington with her husband Kyle, and their bull terrier Dinga. Outside of work, she enjoys photography (including the photo at right), reading, and traveling.

Jennifer Colby, Pasture Program Coordinator


Jenn came to the Center in 2005, after ten years working in organic dairy and environmental project management. She strives on a daily basis to blend her passions for grass-based farming, home-grown BBQ, community development, martial arts, music and pottery. She raises sheep, poultry and pigs in East Randolph, and has a shared farming arrangement with family in Randolph Center. Jenn has a B.S. in Animal Science from UVM and was awarded an MS in Community Development and Applied Economics in December 2011 after working on a thesis focusing on the impacts of grass-based livestock farms on Vermont's quality of life.

Joshua Faulkner, Farming & Climate Change Coordinator


Joshua joined the Center in 2013 to help address the impacts of climate change on Vermont agriculture. His experience lies in agricultural hydrology and the processes by which agricultural systems impact water quality and the surrounding environment. He obtained a BS in Biological Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, and a MS and PhD from Cornell University in Biological and Environmental Engineering, all of which had a concentration in Soil and Water Resources. During his time in New York State, he researched alternative vegetative treatment systems for dairy wastewater, as well as small reservoir vegetable-irrigation systems in West Africa. Most recently he was agricultural engineering extension faculty at West Virginia University, working with farmers on a variety of issues, including the Chesapeake Bay clean-up, innovative best management practices, and reducing the environmental impact of livestock producers. He was raised on a small grass-based beef farm in Southern Appalachia and loves bluegrass music, but is also looking forward to Vermont winters.

Kimberly Hagen, Grazing Specialist


Kimberly joined the Center for Sustainable Agriculture in February 2012 to provide technical assistance and support for grass-based farms: for those already immersed in the practices, those planning to transition, and everything in between. Kimberly spent several years working on all kinds of farms around the world, finally returning to Vermont where she has been raising sheep, chickens, horses and the occasional cow, on her own grass-based farm since 1987, and providing agricultural education and outreach for NOFA to communities and schools. With a background and MS in Environmental Biology from Antioch New England, Kimberly thoroughly enjoys the problem solving of bringing farms to a more balanced relationship with the natural systems around them. Years of observations and working with grass-based systems have led her to believe that if the environment is healthy, the animals and plants are healthy and the economics of the farm will also be healthy.

Cheryl Herrick, Office Manager


Cheryl came aboard in fall 2011, and manages the office as well as maintaining the Center's website and sustainable agriculture events calendar, and editing the Pasture Calendar and Cultivating Connections quarterly newsletter. She earned her BA in Cultural Studies at Burlington College in 1995, and continues to pursue coursework that helps her find new and exciting ways to tell the story of the Center's great work. She brings with her diverse experiences in non-profit fund raising and communications, freelance writing, marketing and social media, and a long love affair with Vermont food. She lives, cooks and writes in Burlington with her two young sons.

Suzy Hodgson, Local Food Organizer


Suzy joined the Center in 2013 to coordinate local food projects. She has a small family farm in Charlotte where she raises chickens, sheep, dairy goats, and the occasional pig or two. Since moving to Vermont in 2008, she has established Yourfarmstand, an online local food community-based marketplace. She chairs her Town's Energy Committee, is a core member of Transition Town Charlotte, and is on the Board of Acorn Energy Co-op. She is also a member of Farm to Plate's Consumer and Education Working Group and the Distribution and Aggregation Group. She has worked with NOFA and the VT Small Business Development Center to help communities improve and widen access to local foods. She has been a principal consultant with Carbon Clear Ltd. conducting carbon footprints for clients and promoting carbon reductions since 2007. With a Masters in Environmental Management from Yale University, she has worked in sustainable development since 1991 in the UK as a Senior Lecturer, University of Sunderland and Program Director, Center for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey where she developed new courses on life cycle assessment and environmental auditing. She has written for numerous academic and professional publications including a regular column in "the environmentalist" published by the UK's Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.

Ginger Nickerson, Produce Safety & GAPs Coordinator

802-505-8189 or 802-656-5459

Ginger Nickerson joined the Center for Sustainable Agriculture in 2010 to provide technical assistance and educational support to produce growers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and food safety. Ginger (aka “Virginia”) has worked as a field hand on a wide range of farms, from a large scale conventional diversified farm in Massachusetts, to an organic vegetable farm, a flower nursery, and an apple orchard in Vermont. She has a PhD in Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan and a BA in Botany from the University of Wisconsin. She enjoys any activity that gets her outdoors and hopes to have her own farm someday.

Mary Peabody, Women’s Agricultural Network

866-860-1382 x13

Mary officially joined the Center in 2009, but a long history of collaborations made it feel like home long before that. Mary has been with UVM Extension for 20 years, working in community development, ag business, and, since 1994, as Director of the Women’s Agricultural Network (WagN). Mary holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from UVM. Her professional interests include online education, small farm marketing and beginning farmer development. Her research interests include the sustainability of rural communities, issues pertaining to social and economic justice for women and entrepreneurship.

Rachel Schattman, Research Assistant


Rachel's work has two focuses. First, she conducts research and outreach education around the intersection of food insecurity and farm viability. Second, she is involved in a collaborative project addressing climate change and the adaptive strategies used by Vermont farmers. In addition to her work at the Center, she is a PhD student in the department of Plant and Soil Sciences at UVM. She completed her BA at Sarah Lawrence College (2004) in New York and her MS in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (UVM) in 2009. She owns and manages Bella Farm, an organic vegetable and herb farm in Monkton, Vermont.

Ben Waterman, Beginning Farmer, Land Access, and New Farms for New Americans Program Coordinator


Ben holds a B.S. in Conservation of Soil, Water, and the Environment from the University of Maryland. He became particularly interested in sustainable agriculture issues after working as a coffee farmer in Costa Rica and a dairy farmer in Russia. He and his wife recently returned from Malawi, where they served as agricultural extension agents in the Peace Corps. They are starting a diversified farm of their own in Johnson, Vermont. Ben is excited to be a new part of the Center’s team in developing its Beginning Farmer and Land Access Program.

Ali Zipparo, Youth Agriculture Individual Development Account Coordinator


Ali Zipparo is the Center's Individual Development Account Coordinator, and is also a regular agriculture policy blogger for Extension's Women in Agriculture Network. She comes to UVM Extension with wide-ranging experience in Vermont agriculture and policy, including work with Vermont Housing and Conservation Board's Farm Viability Program and the Farm to Plate program. Ali has also done consulting work for American Farmland Trust, working on projects related to a regional farm to institution project and did extensive research on Farm Bill program outcomes in New England. She hails from Connecticut, where she worked on an organic CSA farm on the road she grew up on for two seasons. After working on the farm, Ali started an urban community garden in the city of Danbury, CT. After driving a school bus for seven years, Ali decided to go back to school, and earned a B.A. from Smith College in environmental science and policy, with a concentration in sustainable global agricultural policy in January 2012. She is currently in graduate school, in the Master of Public Policy program at UVM.