Vermont First governance is made up of a combination of Sodexo employees and Vermont stakeholders, which allows us to have both internal advocacy and support as well as external experience and perspective.

These individuals are broken into two governance bodies:

Vermont First Leadership Team

The Leadership Team is a group of Sodexo managers who are active both within the state and the region in bringing more local food into Sodexo accounts.  This group is tasked with creating and approving the Vermont First goals, work plan, and communication through the organization on the work accomplished through Vermont First.

The Leadership Team is made up of the following Sodexo managers:

Melissa Zelazny – Resident District Manager, UVM
Phil Harty –  Senior Vice President, Northern New England
Brian Roper – General Manager
Ted DiGrande – District Manager
Brandon Williams – Executive Chef, UVM
Sandi Earle – District Chef, Champlain College
Emily Portman – Sustainability Manager, UVM
Ingrid Jon – Senior Manager, Supply Management
Rich Blanchard – Senior Marketing Manager
Annie Rowell – Vermont First Coordinator

This Team meets twice a year.

Vermont First Advisory Board

The Vermont First Advisory Board is a group of Vermont stakeholders that represent the diverse sectors of the Vermont food system.  The Advisory Board is tasked with providing guidance on implementing the Vermont First goals and work plan, and may engage on short-term projects on an ad-hoc basis.

The Advisory Board is made up of the following Vermont stakeholders:

Role Name Organization
A person who operates a dairy farm Jane Clifford
Clifford Farms
Green Mountain Dairy Federation
A person who operates an organic farm Tony Risitano Deep Root Organic Cooperative
A person who educates others about food and/or food systems
A person with experience in research and data analysis
Abbie Nelson NOFA-VT/VT FEED
A person involved in creating or advising policy in Vermont Abbey Willard Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
A value-added food product business owner Joe Bossen Vermont Bean Crafters
A person with experience in research and data analysis
A person involved in creating or advising policy in Vermont
Jake Claro Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Vermont Farm to Plate
The current recipient of the UVM Food Initiative Fellowship at University of Vermont Emily Barbour  UVM Food Systems Initiative
A distributor who distributes local food Sean Buchanan Black River Produce
A person who educates others about food and/or food systems
A staff or faculty member at a Vermont institution
Heather Lynch-Ellis St. Michael’s College
A person who educates others about food and/or food systems
A staff or faculty member at a Vermont institution
To be filled… UVM Extension
A person who educates others about food and/or food systems
A staff or faculty member at a Vermont institution
Christina Erickson Champlain College
A food safety specialist Hans Estrin UVM Extension
A person with experience in managing a food aggregation operation Bobby Young Intervale Food Hub
A person who operates a conventional vegetable farm (Eco-Apple certified) Bill Suhr Champlain Orchards
A person with expertise in meat (slaughter, processing, marketing, storage) Shirley Richardson Vermont Chevon

This Board meets quarterly.

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