Regenerative Agriculture: How can businesses work in collaboration with the land?
About this Event
As a part of the VBSR People.Planet.Prosperity. Speaker Series we present, “Regenerative Agriculture: How can businesses work in collaboration with the land?”
Please join Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility for the first event in our VBSR People.Planet.Prosperity. Speaker Series. This series will consist of panels focused on leading-edge topics that are important to our members with experts and innovators from the business community including. King Arthur Baking will host our inaugural VBSR People.Planet.Prosperity. Speaker Series in-person event on the increasing importance of Regenerative Agriculture, how they have embraced it, and why it should be incorporated it into your business.
“Regenerative agriculture is a philosophy, a methodology, and a scientific approach to land management. Its guidelines and teachings ask us, “How can we work in collaboration with the land?” instead of “What can we get from the land?” – Emily Marquis and Don Smith, Kiss the Ground
To start we will hear from a panel of experts on their organization’s approach to regenerative agriculture from 4:30 – 5:30 pm. Speakers include:
- Heather Darby, Extension Professor: Agronomy Specialist at University of Vermont Extension
- Will Raap, Chairman and Founder of Gardener’s Supply Company, Founder of Intervale Center, Owner of Earthkeep Farmcommon
- Will Allen, Farm Co-Founder, Board Member at Cedar Circle Farm
- Mollie Wills, Grassroots Organizing Director at Rural Vermont
- Julie Davenson, President of the Board of Directors at NOFA-NH, Producer Network Coordinator at Southshire Meats, Farmer Network Director at the Regenerative Food Network
This will be followed by a reception from 5:30 – 7:30 pm on King Arthur Baking’s outdoor patio where folks can network, reflect on what we’ve learned, and meet our panelists. There will be a bar run by SILO Distillery with cocktails, cider, beer and wine that will accept cash or credit. King Arthur Baking will also provide FREE pizza, cookies, salad, iced tea, and lemonade as well as live music by Beecharmer!
This event is also kid-friendly to accommodate those traveling from other parts of the state. There will be a kid-friendly activity outside during the panel and kid-friendly snacks available during the reception. There will be outdoor seating available, but please feel free to bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets if you would like to spread out!
Free parking available on site.
All members of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility are welcome to attend for FREE!
Meet Our Moderator
Heather Darby (she/her)
Extension Professor: Agronomy Specialist at University of Vermont Extension
Heather Darby is an agronomic and soils specialist for the University of Vermont Extension. She received her MS from the University of Wisconsin in Agronomy and her Ph.D. in Crops and Soils at Oregon State University. Being raised on a dairy farm in Northwestern Vermont has also allowed her to play an active role in all aspects of dairy farming as well as gain knowledge of the land and create an awareness of the hard work and dedication required to operate a farm. These practical experiences complemented by her education have focused her attention towards sustainable agriculture and promotion of environmental stewardship of the land. Heather is involved with implementing many research and outreach programs in the areas of fuel, forage and grain production systems in New England. Outreach programs have focused on delivering on-farm education in the areas of soil health, nutrient management, organic grain and forage production, and oilseed production. Research has focused on traditional and niche crop variety trials, weed management strategies and cropping systems development.
Meet Our Speakers
Will Allen (he/him)
Farm Co-Founder, Board Member at Cedar Circle Farm
Will Allen grew up on a small farm in Southern California. He served in the Marine Corps. Will attended Valley Junior College and the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he received his BA in Anthropology. He received a fellowship at the University of Illinois, Urbana, where he earned his PhD in Anthropology in 1968, studying tropical forest farmers in Peru. Will taught at the University of Illinois and later at the University of California.
He began farming organically in the Santa Barbara area in 1968, continued in southern Oregon and in San Luis Obispo County in the early 70s. He founded Ganesha Growers in 1977 and was one of the first organic farmers in the San Joaquin Valley. He served on the board of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and helped write the first organic handbook for CCOF. He served on the board and conference committee of the Ecological Farming Association for a dozen years. Will founded the Sustainable Cotton Project (SCP) in 1990 to help farmers learn how to grow organic cotton, convince garment makers to use organic fibers, and reduce farmworker pesticide injuries. SCP convinced Patagonia, Esprit, Levis, Marks and Spencer, Nike, and other garment makers to use organic fibers.
In 2000, he took over the management of Cedar Circle Farm, in East Thetford, Vermont along with his wife Kate Duesterberg. Their activist efforts resulted in the creation of a coalition for labeling GMO products in Vermont. They were successful, and Vermont became the first state in the US to pass a GMO labeling law in 2014. Will’s first book, The War on Bugs, was published by Chelsea Green in 2008.
Julie Davenson (she/her)
President of the Board of Directors at NOFA-NH
Producer Network Coordinator at Southshire Meats
Farmer Network Director at the Regenerative Food Network
Julie Davenson served as the Executive Director of Stonewall Farm for 7 years from 2015 to 2022. During her tenure at Stonewall Farm, she transitioned the farm into an innovative demonstration HUB for regenerative agriculture. She now works with the Regenerative Food Network, Southshire Meats, and the Northeast Healthy Soil Network. She holds a masters degree from Antioch University in Organization and Management. She has served in a leadership capacity in a number of non-profit organizations and is an experienced experiential educator and facilitator. She has been passionate about social justice and environmental causes throughout her career trying to connect the issues. She worked on reforming federal housing regulation while developing innovative housing programs as a director at Keene Housing. She is trained in holistic management with the Savory Institute including studying at the African Center for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe.
Will Raap (he/him)
Chairman and Founder of Gardener’s Supply Company
Founder of Intervale Center
Owner of Earthkeep Farmcommon
Will Raap serves as chairman of Gardener’s Supply Company in Burlington, Vermont, which he founded in 1983, a 300-person, employee-owned firm, now among the world’s largest multi-channel gardening retailers. Gardener’s Supply has won national and regional awards for its products and services, as well as for its socially responsible business practices. Raap also founded and was past chairman of the Intervale Center, a non-profit organization located in Burlington, Vermont that since 1987 has been developing farm and nature-based enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity while protecting natural resources. Gardener’s Supply and Intervale Center have been at the forefront of the transformation of the Vermont and national food systems. Raap launched two conservation developments and a watershed non-profit in Costa Rica. More recently Raap bought an iconic and failed dairy farm in Charlotte VT and rebranded it as Earthkeep Farmcommon, with the aim to establish it as a center of regenerative farming innovation for VT. Raap received a B.A. in economics from the University of California, Davis, an MBA in business and MA in urban planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mollie Wills (she/they)
Grassroots Organizing Director at Rural Vermont
Mollie began working for Rural Vermont in 2010, and has since filled various roles within the organization. She now serves as the Grassroots Organizing Director, and spends her time working directly with Vermont’s grassroots network of family farmers and their allies organizing around issues that impact our agricultural communities, and supporting the pursuit of a dignified, just, and regenerative agricultural economy that feeds resilient communities and healthy ecosystems.
Mollie has a background in food systems, water quality, and environmental education for youth. She is a farm mentor to a teenage-led collective farm in Marshfield, an herbalist, and a printmaker, and believes that art and creativity are fundamental to movement building. She lives in Montpelier.
You will be asked for proof of vaccination at the check-in table. If you are not able to provide proof of vaccination, you will be asked to wear a mask for the entirety of the event.
Acceptable forms of proof include:
- CDC COVID-19 Vaccination card
- A copy of your vaccination record (digital or paper)
Please stay home if you are exhibiting any symptoms related to COVID-19 as outlined by the VT Department of Health.
- Fever (100.4 °F or higher)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Not everyone with COVID-19 has a fever. Even mild symptoms (like a headache or dry cough) could be signs of COVID-19. Symptoms may start 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
Although it is not required, we encourage you to test negative on a COVID-19 test before attending this event. The CDC recommends that you test as close to the event as possible. Learn more about COVID-19 testing here.
Questions? Please reach out to VBSR Education & Events Manager, Molly Barfuss, email@example.com.
Thank you to our event sponsors!
Let’s Grow Kids is a nonprofit organization on a mission to ensure affordable access to high-quality child care for all Vermont families by 2025. With nearly 40,000 supporters from all walks of life, Let’s Grow Kids, in partnership with Let’s Grow Kids Action Network, is empowering Vermonters to advocate for sustainable child care policy change. Working together, we can build a child care system that meets the needs of Vermont children and families and supports a brighter future for us all.
Vanguard Renewables is a national leader in the development of organics-to-renewable energy projects.
Our Farm Powered program provides solutions that benefit businesses, farms, communities, and the planet. We work hand-in-hand with dairy farmers to help manage manure, enhance regenerative agriculture practices, solve greenhouse gas emissions challenges, and enhance long-term operational and economic benefits. And we provide food and beverage businesses with waste reduction and recycling solutions, and decarbonization strategies, that meet aggressive sustainability targets.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment.
Vital Communities cultivates the civic, environmental, and economic vitality of the Upper Valley, a region composed of 69 towns spanning the Connecticut River. We bring people together, bridging boundaries and engaging our whole community to create positive change. We offer programming and resources to help households, communities, schools, and workplaces build resilience. We work with dozens of partner organizations in New Hampshire and Vermont to craft shared strategies and coordinate our services. Our agenda and programs emerge from and are driven by regional needs and community interests. We encourage collaboration across public, private, and nonprofit sectors to test new approaches and share our learning. Our mission, values, and methods evolved over a history that began in the early 1990s.