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VOLUME XX/ NUMBER 1 / SPRING 2014

Cultivating Connections CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

FROM THE DIRECTOR By Linda Berlin, Director I have been the Center Director since March 2009. After reading through the articles in this issue of CC, it dawned on me how many things at the Center have changed over the past five years, a seemingly short period of time. The differences reflect some conscious decisions we have made, but mostly echo how much the world is transforming at a rapid pace. I recall a strategic planning expert recently telling me that organizations are not engaged in long-range strategic planning as much these days because the future is way too unpredictable. Instead, we have to take a shorter view, and be very nimble. I am extremely grateful for the nimbleness of the Center staff! When I arrived at the Center’s doorstep, almost all of our programs emphasized food production. While that is still the focus of the majority of our programs, the objectives, and consequently the ways we approach our work, are more diverse. For example, we are thinking about food

access and food security a lot more explicitly than was the case in the past. Our New Farms for New American program provides a good example of this emphasis. Thinking about food security means that we measure the impacts of our programs using these criteria, which provide important input to our future program development. Climate change is also a significant driver in our current programs. While environmental issues were always a key component of our sustainability focus, considerations related to climate have broadened the environmental focus we once had, and brought greater urgency. Keeping food safe to eat has also emerged as a high priority in recent years. In the past, agricultural food safety was primarily considered in relation to pesticides, and less so in terms of microbial contamination. Definitely not the case these days! We also recently started some work on food waste, driven to some extent by Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law. Our food waste emphasis is on how to produce less waste, which we hope can ultimately help households decrease their food expenses. As the world turns, so do we. In fact, I think we are all learning to pirouette out of necessity. Here’s to hoping that our future turns, as well as yours, proceed with grace! 

IN THIS ISSUE From the Director ..............................................1 Upcoming Sustainable Ag. Events ....................2 Commenting on FSMA ......................................3 Fresh from the Field: Program News............ 4-6 Our First Party on the Farm .. .........................7 It’s Okay to Trample!.........................................8 Center at FarmAid 2013 ...................................9 2014 Grazing & Livestock Conference ...........10 Fiscal Year 2013 Financials ...........................11


UVM Center for Sustainable Ag. 2014 Spring Newsletter