Year in Review

Greetings from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences! While we won't be gathering together over apple pie as in years past, we are pleased to provide a virtual update of CALS research and Extension outreach activities. We invite you to see how our work is making a positive impact in Vermont and beyond.

Leslie Parise

Message from the Dean and Director

Dear Vermont Legislators,

It was only nine months ago that I joined the UVM community to become the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and soon afterwards, Interim Director of UVM Extension. These opportunities have been the pleasure of a lifetime, as I have come to appreciate the high impact work these units are doing across Vermont, while spreading our scholarship around the world. Both CALS and Extension are engaged in training the next generation of scientists, agriculturalists and advocates for communities, agriculture, ecological practices, businesses and more. UVM Extension is actively engaged around the state to help make a difference in the quality of life and land for Vermonters of all ages. We hope you appreciate this sampling of stories showing some of our many accomplishments over this past year as told in a new picture- and video-based format. While we have worked hard to leverage funding from the state, federal and private sources to make a difference, we always want to do more to serve Vermonters, so welcome your engagement and feedback. In closing, I can honestly say that I LOVE VERMONT and am so glad to be here.


Tackling Food Insecurity

Meredith Niles, Emily Belarmino and Farryl Bertmann

Understanding the Impact of COVID-19

New UVM research finds that food insecurity in Vermont has reached record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 30% of Vermonters experiencing food insecurity since March - including eating less to stretch their groceries. UVM researchers Meredith Niles, Emily Belarmino and Farryl Bertmann found that the COVID crisis has exacerbated long-standing inequities and disproportionately impacted low-income families. Read more on this study.

Reopening Farmers Markets

handwashing station at a farmers market

Building a Better Handwashing Station

Portable hand washing stations provide a means of hand sanitation on farms, at farmers markets and recreational sites. The challenge for Extension Ag Engineer Chris Callahan and Ag Engineering Technician Andy Chamberlain was to design and build a better and cheaper one so farmers markets could safely open for business during the pandemic. Read more about handwashing station ingenuity.

Leading the Largest Study of Climate Change in Vermont

three people in the woods wearing masks looking at a plant

Fostering Resilience

Helping people feel more prepared to make better decisions and be more resilient to climate change are among the goals of the Vermont Climate Assessment study co-led by Farming and Climate Change Program Coordinator Joshua Faulkner.

Helping Agritourism Adapt

kids wearing masks outdoors with cows

Guiding Farm Businesses

UVM Extension Professor Lisa Chase partnered with DigInVT to develop "COVID-19 Best Management Practices for Farms Open to Visitors During the Pandemic." This resource serves as a hub to access up-to-date health and safety information. Read more on the new guide.

Reclaiming a Historical Vermont Crop

UVM researchers including "apple guy" Assistant Professor Terry Bradshaw and Orchard Manager Jessica Foster partner with Vermont fruit growers to navigate the evolving apple market. Watch the "Counting Blossoms" video.

Gardening for Resilience

closeup of people handling vegetables

Growing the Interest in Community Horticulture

The COVID pandemic led to a renewed interest in gardening, helping people stay physically and mentally healthy, and providing a welcome respite from the stresses related to the crisis. UVM Extension Master Gardener and Master Composter volunteers provide the most reliable, relevant, research-based information on gardening, extending their knowledge and expertise into communities across Vermont. Read more about community horticulture and Victory Gardens.

Protecting the U.S. Food System

masked woman indoors with cows

Training the Next Generation of Biosecurity Experts

Led by Animal Science Professor Julie Smith, a community of students and faculty at UVM are focused on protecting our food system from new and emerging diseases and other biosecurity threats. Read more about the link between biosecurity, animal health, and public health.

Providing Enrichment and Engagement for Youth

girl at laptop smiling

Bridging the Opportunity Gap

UVM Extension's 4-H and youth team has been delivering virtual programming and outreach to youth of all ages throughout Vermont (and beyond) since the start of the pandemic. Programs are designed to provide youth with continuity, structure, a sense of community, and a way to make new friends during a time of isolation. Read more about how youth benefit from these efforts.

CALS Alumni At Work: Shelburne Farms Rhino Foods | Ben & Jerry's

CALS grads Jack Duncan, Sam Dixon and Mo Whitney connect their UVM educations to careers at Shelburne Farms.

Learn how CALS grads Hope Simpson, Chris Rivard and Maddy Born use their UVM degrees at two premier Vermont foods companies.