Staff

For media or outreach requests, please contact Kim Mercer ([email protected]).

NOFA Vermont phone: (802) 434-4122


Kyla Bedard

Position: Certification Specialist- Dairy & Livestock

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 18

Kyla graduated from UVM in 2008 with a B.S in Environmental Science, focusing on Conservation Biology. After graduating she apprenticed on an organic vegetable farm which sparked her passion for sustainable agriculture. Afterwards, she worked for an organic dairy in Addison County and fell in love with cows and dairying. Kyla has spent the last 5 years in California working for a large organic dairy and smaller family owned farms as a farmer, administrative assistant and event planner.

Kirsten Bower

Position: Finance Director

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 16

Kirsten has worked with NOFA since 1989 in various roles and for the past 15 years has been NOFA Vermont’s Financial Manager. She has a BS in Forestry from West Virginia University and a Masters in Plant & Soil Science from the University of Vermont. She spent two years in Peace Corps in Ecuador working in agroforestry where she fell in love with the culture and language. She currently lives in Richmond, Vermont, with her husband, cat, and flock of hens, and can often be found tending her garden.

Erin Buckwalter

Position: Acting Director, Market Development Director

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 27

Erin joined NOFA-VT’s team in 2011, overseeing NOFA-VT's direct marketing and community food security programs. She is also a part of NOFA-VT's Farm to Institution programs team. She has been working and volunteering in a variety of capacities on food systems and sustainable agriculture issues in Vermont since 2005, including building and managing community gardens and managing a farmers market. In 2011, Erin completed her master’s degree in Community Development and Applied Economics at The University of Vermont, focusing on farm-to-school programs’ effects on children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. While not at work, Erin enjoys living and working on her family's homestead; preserving, cooking and eating yummy local foods; and being crafty.

Livy Bulger

Position: Educational & Outreach Events Coordinator

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 21

Livy Bulger hails from Southern Maine and first fell in love with Vermont in 2008 when she came to UVM to study environmental studies and food systems. While at UVM, Livy discovered that good food was a central tie to all people, cultures, and lifestyles and knew it would be what would drive her life's work. Livy has seven seasons of organic vegetable farming under her belt, as well as experience starting a farm to school program and connecting low income communities with locally produced foods. Most recently, Livy lived and worked in Portland Maine with New American farmers interested in pursuing agricultural livelihoods. In her free time Livy loves canning and preserving, jumping into oceans and lakes and traveling. Livy lives in Hinesburg with her partner Nick.

Nicole Dehne

Position: Certification Director

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 13

Nicole first came to Vermont in the summer of 1995 to work at the farm at the Mountain School in Vershire. After graduating from the University of Montana in 1997, Nicole returned to the Green Mountain State to receive her teaching certificate from the post baccalaureate program at the University of Vermont. During the summers she worked at Shelburne Farms and Shelburne Orchards, combining her interests in education and agriculture. A winding road brought Nicole from teaching 3rd grade in Guatemala to placing high school students on farms with Vermont Farm Youth Core to working for the certification program at NOFA Vermont. She started working at NOFA Vermont in May 2003, and has been here ever since.

Maddie Kempner

Position: Policy Advisor & Membership Coordinator

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 32

A native Vermonter, Maddie lived out West for several years before returning to her home state in 2013 and joining the wonderful team here at NOFA-VT. She has worked in various capacities in outdoor education, agriculture, and food policy in Utah, Colorado, and here in Vermont. In 2014, Maddie worked with the VT Right to Know GMOs Coalition to help pass Vermont’s GMO labeling law. She is passionate about advocating for positive food and farm policy change and thrilled to be doing so here at NOFA-VT. Maddie has a BS in Environmental Studies from UVM and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, infant son and two dogs.

Kim Norman Mercer

Position: Communications Director

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 15

Kim is delighted to be promoting the amazing work of NOFA Vermont. She has extensive experience delivering brand consistency, website upkeep, and promotional content. Kim has worked for Senator Bernie Sanders, the University of Vermont, The Shubert Organization in New York City, and The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH. She lives in Jericho, where she keeps chickens and a large vegetable garden, as well as unruly teenagers.

Jen Miller

Position: Farmer Services Director

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 14

After a couple seasons farming in California and Massachusetts, Jen came to Vermont in 2007 and spent the next five years working on and managing farms in the Intervale, growing diversified vegetables, pigs, and broiler chickens. Jen also spent time at the Intervale Food Hub, coordinating the subscription program and managing membership. In 2014, Jen completed her masters’ degree in Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont with a focus on USDA conservation programs and agricultural best management practices. After a few years providing business planning and educational services to beginning farmers in southern Vermont (an area which she now loves), Jen joined the NOFA team, excited to work statewide with farmers of all experience levels.

Abbie Nelson

Position: Food Systems Education Director

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 12

Abbie is involved in all aspects of local purchasing and professional development of school food service. She has been a teacher for over 20 years in regular and special education, and worked on an organic vegetable and flower farm. As part of NOFA Vermont and a VT FEED partner, she has been working in Vermont schools linking Food, Farm, and Nutrition education for 8 years. Her role has been focused on school food by connecting kitchen managers with local farmers, helping farmers with agricultural education on their farms, training school food service personnel, and teaching school staff how to introduce new foods to students.

Laura Nunziata

Position: Quality Assurance Specialist

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 29

Laura has worked for NOFA-VT's organic certification program since May of 2010, taking a brief hiatus during 2016. She started here as the Certification Program Assistant, worked for 4 years as the Processing Certification Specialist, and is now the Quality Assurance Specialist. In 2001, she earned her degree in Landscape Development and Ornamental Horticulture from Vermont Technical College. She lives in Williston where she loves to focus her energy on raising a family and studying traditional nutrition and wellness.

Grace Oedel

Position: Executive Director

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 17

Grace is passionate about making change through community building. She most recently served as Executive Director at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue + Community Center in Burlington, where she founded an early educational center and developed the community's focus on social justice organizing and community impact. Before coming to VT from Massachusetts, she founded and directed Dig In Farm, an educational working farm and training center for aspiring young women farmers, focused on the intersection of social and environmental justice. She previously worked on the education team of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) planning professional and educational opportunities for Maine's organic farmers. Early in her career Grace served as program director of a new Farm-to-Table program at the Woolman Semester School in Nevada City, CA, worked on an organic commercial vegetable farm, and as a student managed the Yale University student farm. She lives in Burlington, VT with her husband and two children.

Jennie Porter

Position: Community Food Security Coordinator

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 36

Jennie graduated from St. Lawrence University with a B.S. in mathematics and art history. A winding road of farming and non-profit work brought her to Vermont to complete a M.S. in Food Systems at The University of Vermont. Since graduating in 2015 she has completed a Permaculture Design Certificate in Nepal and has worked as a Farm to Institution Coordinator at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. When not in the office, she can likely be found exploring Vermont’s mountains, swimming holes, and bakeries.

Winston Rost

Position: Certification Specialist

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 11

Winston worked at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters / Keurig for 24 years, starting out as a part-time barista in the Factory Outlet in Waterbury, Vt and ending as the Farmer Relations Manager, working with coffee farmers all over the world. He has a BA in French from Davidson College and ended up living two years in France - one as a student and one as a high school teacher. With his wife and two young kids, they have a small farm in Duxbury with a sprawling garden, sheep, apple trees, and blueberries.

Brian Shevrin

Position: Certification Specialist

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 31

Brian graduated from Green Mountain College in 2014 with a B.A. in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems. In the years before, during, and after his studies Brian worked on a variety of vegetable, livestock, maple, and processing operations in Massachusetts and Vermont, with a focus on organic vegetable farming. Brian spends his time outside of the office biking, kayaking, and obsessing over food & cooking.

Jaime Silverstein

Position: Farm Business Advisor

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 33

Jaime joined the NOFA-VT farmer services team with a passion for local food systems and sustainable agriculture. She has a B.S. is Business Administration from Boston University and has worked conducting research on responsible investing practices, as well as spent time on urban farms in Boston, and small diversified vegetable and livestock farms in Vermont. She currently serves on the board of directors for Metta Earth Institute. Jaime is also a Kripalu-certified yoga teacher, and enjoys studying and practicing herbalism, gardening, and spending time outdoors with her pup Hemlock. She splits her time between Vermont and Somerville, MA.

Alice Smolinsky

Position: VOF Office & Database Manager

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 22

Alice graduated from Green Mountain College with a BA in environmental studies focusing on environmental education. She worked as staff at summer camps in northern Vermont during and after college. She spent time at Vermont Soap doing various jobs and projects, including submitting their organic certification application. Alice is on the organizing board for two Contra Dances in northern Vermont, and is learning how to teach and call dances.

Gregg Stevens

Position: Certification Specialist

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 23

Gregg earned a BS in Biology from the University of New Hampshire and earned his teaching certificate after completion of a post baccalaureate program at Rhode Island College. He taught high school science in Rhode Island for eight years before moving to Vermont in 2003. Gregg completed an apprenticeship program at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, and most recently was the farm manager at Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert, VT.

Kayla Strom

Position: Office Manager

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 10

Sustainable agriculture and food access have been the main threads weaving together Kayla’s education, work, and way of life for the past 8 years. After graduating from the University of Vermont with a degree in Community and International Development, Kayla went on to manage school food and farm programs in Hawaii for three years where she helped to break down barriers to accessing nutritious and affordable food by providing families with resources such as federal funding for school meals, education supporting gardening, and institutional collaboration with local growers. Kayla is excited to be back in Vermont continuing her passion for community food systems as NOFA-VT’s new Office Manager. When she’s not at our Richmond office, you can find her playing in the woods with her dog Indy, sipping tea with friends, or diving into another new craft project.

Becca Weiss

Position: Office Assistant & Share the Harvest Coordinator

Email: [email protected]

Extension: 20

Becca has been at NOFA Vermont since 2002 and has helped out with with the Farm Share Program, membership, the Apprentice Directory, the annual Winter Conference, in the certification office, and with the Food Education Every Day (VT FEED) program. Becca has an MFA in studio art and has worked in both her own studio and in environmental education since 1990. She has three grown children and a wonderful husband who share her love for gardening and nature.