Katie Goodall, ALC/PSS Alum Carries on with Agroecology

Katie Goodall, who did her Ph.D. with the Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC), in the Plant and Soil Science Department, at UVM, carries on strong with agroecology teaching. Now an Assistant Dean at the School for Field Studies, Katie is returning to the University of Michigan’s Biological Station to teach Agroecology. She was a teaching assistant at the station, for several years, while pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Michigan. Congratulations y Adelante (Forward), Katie ! Read more here:

ALC launches second cohort of Undergraduate Research Fellows

The ALC is pleased to invite applications for the second cohort of the Agroecology & Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC) Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (ALC Fellows Program). The ALC Fellows Program provides upper division (3rd year +) students the opportunity to develop skills and gain knowledge in agroecology and participatory action research (PAR) to become integral team members of ALC projects. Please note, applications for the next cohort of undergraduate fellows are due: Friday, April 13th, 2018. For more information, check out:

ALC director participates in West Africa Community of Practice (CoP) of McKnight’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP)

ALC director participates in West Africa Community of Practice (CoP) of McKnight’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP)

In his role as agroecology advisor to the CCRP, ALC director Ernesto Méndez joined the CCRP’s West Africa CoP for their annual meeting, held in Niamey, Niger, February 26-March 3. This year, the CoP brought together 14 research projects, which are being implemented in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. Project themes range from improving varieties of sorghum and millet, to the use of agroforestry, and the co-creation of agroecological knowledge between farmers and scientists. In addition to learning and interacting with participants, Méndez led a workshop on ‘Frameworks to Assess Agroecological Perfomance’, where participants applied the use of agroecological frameworks in their projects. He was joined by ALC collaborator Steve Brescia, Executive Director of Groundswell International, who discussed agroecology as a science, a movement and a practice. During the workshop, participants engaged with different agroecological frameworks and principles by project, and discussed actors, opportunities and recommendations, by country, in terms of agroecological science, movement and practice.

Bridging the Climate Information Usability Gap in Agricultural Communities

In January, ALC Master’s student, Alissa White, presented at the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. White writes, “I joined about 2,000 people who are mostly weather scientists and climate physicists for their 98th annual meeting.  This long-standing scientific community made the theme for this year’s meeting “Transforming communication through co-production”.  There was a clear acknowledgement that the science they have been working on for so long is now extremely politicized by climate deniers.  This leads to many challenges in communicating climate science, but social science research which indicates that co-producing climate knowledge overcomes those communication challenges.  So these traditional scientists are aware that they need to learn how to invite stakeholders into the research process.”

Here is a link to her presentation titled, “Bridging the Climate Information Usability Gap in Agricultural Communities“. Follow the link to view her abstract.

Graduate Student Highlight: PhD Student Alisha Utter

On Monday (1/22) ALC lab member, Alisha Utter, was elected as a board member for the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association (VVBGA). In addition to the VVBGA, she serves as a leadership team member for the Vermont Young Farmers Coalition, secretary for the Champlain Islands Farmers Market, and a 2017-18 Vermont Changemaker via Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR)/High Meadows Fund. As a beginning farmer and advocate of land-based livelihoods, Alisha invites questions, thoughts, and feedback on your vision of a regenerative agrifood system. You can contact her at

Researcher Highlight: M.S. Candidate, Alissa White

The New England Adaptation Survey is a research project based at the University of Vermont’s Department of Plant and Soil Science.

The purpose of this study is to generate usable information for farmers about adaptation strategies and practices, and is based on the idea that many growers are already actively and successfully adapting to severe weather to sustain the economic viability and ecological health of their farms.

Six farmer organizations in northern New England are participating in the study to facilitate knowledge exchange across networks within the region, including MOFGA, NEVBGA, NOFA, CISA, Northeast Permaculture Network, and the VTVBGA. The project is funded by Northeast SARE and the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, and supported by UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Agroecology and Livelihood Collaborative.

Read about Alissa White and her dynamic research team here:

Follow project updates on Instagram @nefarmresilience.

ALC in Cuba

ALC Research and Outreach Coordinator, Martha Caswell, joined a delegation of Vermonters who attended the 4th International Conference on Agroecology hosted by the Cuban National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) and Via Campesina. Colleagues from the Vermont Carribean Institute (VCI), the Intervale CenterUVM Catamount Farm, the Vermont Community Garden Network and Farm to Plate comprised a group looking at potential ways that peri-/urban farmers in Vermont might learn from Cubans.

Photos by Abby Portman, Community Relations Coordinator, Intervale Center

This event was held on the 20th anniversary of the arrival of ‘Campesino a Campesino’ in Cuba, and explored themes including:

  • Inclusion of women and youth in agroecology systems and food sovereignty.
  • Family farming in rural and indigenous areas, and its role in food sovereignty and rural development.
  • Seed production and conservation in agro-ecosystems
  • Agroecology, the environment and climate change
  • The financial, ecological and social sustainability of agroecology farms
  • Agrarian reform, territory and cooperatives
  • Growth and promotion of agroecology

In addition to visits to farms, processing facilities and cultural events that introduced us to Cuban songs, history, dance and food, participants enjoyed learning from each other. The 250 attendees represented 19 countries, and conversations comparing our own challenges and ideas provided a rich complement to all we were learning from our Cuban hosts. We are each looking forward to ways in which we can bring our new connections and observations back to the work we do here in VT.

For more information, please follow this link:


Reflections from the Agroecology Shortcourse

Check out the Community Agroecology Network​’s recent newsletter, a spotlight on the 18th Annual International Agroecology Shortcourse hosted by the ALC and CAN! Thanks for sharing, CAN, and for your continued partnership!

Check out the newsletter here: