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 the Agriculture, Food, and Environment program at the Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy (2006). In addition to her professional leadership in Vermont food systems research and outreach, she has also served as the chair of the boards of directors of the 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.

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. Raised on a beef farm in southern West Virginia, he now lives in Starksboro, Vermont where he is trying his hand at pastured pork.

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 & Communications Manager


Cheryl has been with the Center since the fall of 2011, and manages the office as well as having the privilege of telling the story of the Center staff's good work by editing the Center's website, newsletter, Annual Report and multiple event calendars. She earned her BA in Cultural Studies at Burlington College in 1995, and has her eye on grad school. 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 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.

Liz Kenton, Youth Agricultural Individual Development Account Coordinator

802-257-7967 x308 or 802-656-5459

Liz coordinates the Center's business development program for young farmers, the Youth Agricultural Individual Development Account program. She holds a bachelor's degree from Eastern Connecticut State University in Environmental and Science Communications and has worked as an environmental educator and a GIS mapping technician. After college, Liz served with the Peace Corps in Mauritania, West Africa as an AgroForestry Extension agent. Upon returning to the U.S., she worked on small diversified organic farms in Connecticut. Liz came to Vermont in 2006 while earning a Master's degree in Sustainable Development which focused on a participatory evaluation of an afterschool program in rural Sri Lanka. When not deciphering acronyms and questing for factsheets, Liz enjoys reading (mostly fiction and/or science), playing volleyball, singing in the Brattleboro Women's Chorus, and following the news.

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.

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 on coffee farms in Costa Rica and dairy farms in Russia. He and his wife served as agricultural extension agents in the Peace Corps in Malawi. They now operate a diversified farm in Johnson, Vermont. Ben has traveled through the nation and across Vermont assessing soil fertility, water systems and landscapes in the context of farm viability. His interests include cross-cultural communications, the building trades, and trombone. He is excited to be a part of the Centers team in coordinating services for beginning farmers and developing the New American Farmer program.