Keynote Speaker

Frances Moore Lappé

Frances Moore Lappé

Author, Diet for a Small Planet

Frances Moore Lappé is the author or coauthor of nineteen books, including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet. Her latest work is Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, coauthored with Adam Eichen, focusing on the roots of the U.S. democracy crisis and how Americans are creatively responding to the challenge. Frances is co-founder of Oakland-based Food First and the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. The recipient of nineteen honorary degrees, Frances has been a visiting scholar at MIT and U.C. Berkeley and in 1987 received the Right Livelihood Award, often called the “Alternative Nobel.”

Summit Speakers

Caroline Gordon

Caroline Gordon

Rural Vermont, Legislative Director

Caroline was born in Germany and came to Vermont to engage in changing the law so that sustainable farming practices become economically viable. She has her LL.M. in Food and Agriculture Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. Before coming to Vermont, Caroline participated in a four-year training program in biodynamic agriculture in Germany. Aside from advocacy work, Caroline wants to maintain farming herself in a way that increases communal participation and collaboration among producers.
Karen Washington

Karen Washington

Karen Washington has lived in New York City all her life, and has spent decades promoting urban farming as a way for all New Yorkers to access to fresh, locally grown food.

Karen has been a resident of the Bronx for over 34 years, although in 2015 she began living part time in Orange County, NY near the farm. Since 1985 Karen has been a community activist, striving to make New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, Karen worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As an advocate, she stood up and spoken out for garden protection and preservation. As a member of the La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing garden fresh vegetables to her neighbors. Karen is a food advocate and trainer leading workshops on food growing and food justice for community gardeners all over the country. Karen is the former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, a group that was founded to preserve community gardens. She also co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012 Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was awarded with the James Beard Leadership Award.

Mollie Wills

Mollie Wills

Rural Vermont, Grassroots Organizing Director

Mollie spent 2010-2016 working in various capacities for Rural Vermont, primarily managing operations and supporting community and member relations. She returned to the organization late in 2018 to fill in for staff on family leave, and ultimately transitioned into her current role as the Grassroots Organizing Director. She firmly believes that a just and dignified agricultural economy based on regenerative practices is the backbone to resilient communities and healthy ecosystems.

Summit Hosts

Orly Munzing

Orly Munzing

Founder, Strolling of the Heifers

Orly is the founder of Strolling of the Heifers. Previously, she served as a learning specialist with the Windham Central Supervisory Union for 24 years. She has a BA in Psychology and Education from Boston University, and Master of Education degree in Psychology and Special Education from Keene State College. She also built a profitable private consulting business, training teachers in cutting-edge educational techniques. Drawing on this background, she gathered a group of volunteers in 2001 to help focus attention on the difficulties of small family farms in the Brattleboro region. Building an organization with no startup funding, under Orly’s leadership they organized the first annual Strolling of the Heifers in 2002. Orly attracted corporate sponsorships ranging from national brands to local businesses, and with the growth in the local foods movement since then, “the Stroll” has expanded to a full weekend which is annually rated one of Vermont’s Top Ten Summer Events (and was rated one of America’s Top 10 Summer Festivals in 2013, and one of North America’s Top 100 Events in 2014). Over the years, Strolling of the Heifers also launched educational programs, a microloan fund, and farm internship program for youth, which are now all carried on by other organizations; the farm/food business planning competition; the Locavore Index; Farm to Table Apprenticeship Program; Windham Grows; and now the Farm/Food Innovation Center at the River Garden. Orly was named the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year in 2010, and in 2013 she received the Vermont Community Leadership Award from the Vermont Council on Rural Development. She received the Vermont Land Trust's Rick W. Carbin Community Conservation Award in 2018. Under Orly’s leadership, in 2006 Strolling of the Heifers received the Harvest Wave of the Future Award from Glynwood.
Jim Verzino

Jim Verzino

Windham Grows Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Jim is the Director and Entrepreneur in Residence of Windham Grows, a business accelerator that was created by the Strolling of the Heifers and is designed to nurture the next generation of innovative food and agriculture entrepreneurs. Prior to running Windham Grows Jim co-founded three socially responsible businesses focused on energy and waste management automation systems, and workforce development. Jim was a co-founder of Ruralogic, a "re-shoring" firm created to counter the trend in outsourcing US jobs to third world countries, He helped bring 2,900 high-tech jobs to rural Louisiana and Pennsylvania that would have otherwise gone overseas.
Jennifer Brandt

Jennifer Brandt

Slow Living Summit Coordinator

Slow Living Summit Coordinator, Jennifer Brandt, brings years of marketing experience for a variety of clients ranging from Sony to small non-profits. Jennifer’s extensive marketing experience gives her access to a vast professional network of marketing and creative heavy-hitters that can be assembled for projects with even the most daunting marketing and creative challenges. Her passion for sustainable food systems makes her work with Strolling of the Heifers more like a dream than a job. While not working on organizing spectacular events or creating new marketing materials for clients, you can find her exploring new food around the world whether it be via food stall, beach shack and even the occasional high-end meal.