University of Vermont

UVM Spires of Excellence

Food Systems

Food Systems The Food Systems Initiative focuses on the critical role of our local, regional, national and global food systems as they, in turn, affect soil and water quality, human health and nutrition, global economics, packaging and transportation interests, and overall food and energy security. Food Systems is a nascent field of study nationally and an emerging strength at UVM that is particularly well-suited to the UVM Land Grant mission of research and engagement in the 21st century.

This Initiative will be grown from one of the strongest applied research and scholarship strengths at UVM: our connection to Vermont's working landscape. Positioned to build on our existing partnerships with Vermont farms and communities, the Initiative also takes advantage of existing Food Systems expertise across disciplines as well as rising public interest in sustainable, secure, and healthy food systems and the growing national recognition of Vermont as a leader in sustainable food systems practice. The Initiative will provide new opportunities for our undergraduates in interdisciplinary studies, Service Learning, and both basic science and applied research.

The focused investment in a UVM Food Systems Initiative is intended to give our University the ability to inform complex 21st-century issues — in Vermont and around the world — surrounding food production, the environment, nutrition and public health, food security, food safety, rural economic development, biofuels, and more.

Initiative Director: Doug Lantagne, Dean of UVM Extension
Assistant to the Food Systems Initiative: Alison Nihart
Food Systems Initiative Website:

Steering Committee

Jane Kolodinsky, Chair, Dept. of Community Development and Applied Economics
Ernesto Mendez, Associate Professor, Dept. of Plant and Soil Science
Naomi Fukagawa, Professor, Dept. of Med-Geriontology Geriatrics
Tyler Dogget, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Philosophy
Cynthia Belliveau, Dean, Continuing Education
Joe Speidel, Local Government and Community Relations Director
Melody Burkins, Senior Director, Research and Strategic Initiatives
Rocki-Lee DeWitt, Professor, School of Business Administration
Rachel Johnson, Robert L. Bickford Jr. Green and Gold Professor of Nutrition, Dept. of Nutrition and Food Science
Linda Berlin, Director, Center for Sustainable Agriculture

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