In this monthly feature, we recognize one of our member as a way to celebrate all the incredible people who make the NOFA-VT community what it is. This month we connected with Jean Hamilton, a longtime member, past staff person now food systems consultant, to talk grounded and heartfelt programming, the importance of knowing your farmer, and life-changing potlucks.
Why are you a NOFA-VT member?
I can whole-hardheartedly say NOFA-VT has changed by life. From my first winter conference (complete with epic potluck), through 5 fun filled years of working at NOFA-VT, on to today, NOFA-VT has kept me close to the land and connected to my favorite kind of people, farmers!
What do you value most about NOFA-VT’s work?
I have always appreciated NOFA-VT's leadership in developing programming that is grounded, creative, and heartfelt
How long have you been a member?
I have been in love with NOFA-VT for 20 years. And I've been a member for over 10 years.
How do you identify - an eater, gardener, homesteader, farmer, a hybrid, etc?
I'm a hybrid! Eater, gardener, and farmer enthusiast.
How have you been involved with NOFA-VT in the last year?
As a food systems thinker, sometimes I work on contract with NOFA-VT as a farm viability consultant and market researcher. One of my favorite ways I was involved with NOFA-VT last year was helping to organize the 2019 Farm Hop to honor Enid. Wasn't that awesome?
Why does organic matter to you?
Toxic food has never made sense to me. How do we let that happen? I'm a big supporter of all types of ecological food production, and I have a special appreciation for the planning, documentation, and communication opportunities that come with organic certification. Having worked side by side with Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) for a number of years, I really appreciate the incredible humanity, care, and support that VOF brings to Vermont's large community of certified producers and processors.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-VT this year?
That's awfully hard for me to say! I am rooting for NOFA-VT's new leadership team and looking forward to supporting them as a NOFA-VT member.
What three characteristics make up a resilient community?
Compassion, relationships, and creativity.
Favorites spring food?
I love sugar season. I love spanikopita with spring spinach. Asparagus is grand. I wish more people ate nettles - I blanch them and freeze for winter tortellini.
What's the activity you're looking forward to most post-COVID?
Hugging my friend Libby and sharing meals with friends.