Vermont Agrarian Commons Board
Molly Anderson (she/her) is a professor at Middlebury College’s Academic Program in Food Studies where she teaches courses in agreocology, food systems, commons theory, and food justice. Molly has worked as private consultant for Oxfam America and at Tufts University, where she was the founding Director of Agriculture, Food and Environment Graduate Program in the School of Nutrition Science & Policy and directed Tuft’s Institute of the Environment for two years. Molly is particularly passionate about the ways that commons theory can be mobilized to imagine and create alternative structures to the private property model, and finds inspiration for these possibilities in among other places her favorite science fiction novels.
Gillian Kapteyn Comstock
Gillian Kapteyn Comstock (she/her) is the founding co-director of Metta Earth Institute and the Metta Earth project, where she offers mentorship and leadership training which integrate regenerative farming, contemplative practices, community living, and sustainability education. As a holistic psychotherapist, yoga guide, and permaculture designer Gillian draws form psychology and Jungian imaginative possibilities. Gillian has been committed from a young age to the value of a gift economy and the practices of caring for children, beings, and land.
Russell Comstock (he/him) is a founding co-director of the Metta Earth Institute and the Metta Earth Farm where he is dedicated to the sustaining value of land based community, land stewardship, and the integrative knowledge of Being. Russell has been stewarding land with Metta Earth in Lincoln, Vermont for the past fifteen years. He hods an MA in Contemplative and Ecological Leadership, a BA in Human Ecology, and certification in both Interdisciplinary and Jivamukti Yoga.
Hans Estrin (he/him) Hans brings to this project over three decades of teaching experience, and over a decade of collaborative development work with diversified produce growers in Vermont and New England. Hans co-developed the University of Vermont’s Practical Produce Safety Program and since 2014 has led and coordinated the Community Accreditation for Produce Safety (CAPS) with the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association. As an On Farm Readiness Review lead for the University of Vermont Extension, Hans provides on-farm technical support to help Vermont growers meet market expectations. As a core member of the University of Vermont’s Ag Engineering’s Post Harvest Project Planning Team, Hans is often on produce farms, supporting Vermont growers to pragmatically integrate efficiency, profitability and food safety into their production systems. Hans further supports the development of local produce markets and businesses. He co-founded the Windham Farm and Food Network (now Food Connects), helped launch VT Dinners and Manadnock Menus, and has supported the start-up of other Vermont Food Hubs.
Galen Fulford (he/him) Galen is Co-Founder and Managing Director at BioMatrix Water where he works to develop ecosystem infrastructure which addresses wetland habitat restoration and water quality enhancement in functional, attractive, and sustainable ways. Galen brings expertise in ecological design and engineering, habitat restoration, water quality management, and wetland ecology to his work on the Vermont Agrarian Commons Board.
Francine Miller (she/her) is a senior staff attorney and adjunct faculty member at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School (VLS), where she supervises students in the Food and Agriculture Clinic and leads a variety of projects. Fran focuses predominantly on farmland access, overseeing the expansion of CAFS’s Farmland Access Legal Toolkit to better serve historically marginalized communities. She also serves private clients through CAFS and the clinic, particularly regarding collaborative and community land ownership and business formation. Fran spent many years as a trademark and copyright lawyer, obtained her LLM in Food and Agriculture Law and Policy at VLS in 2017, and moved to Vermont from New York City in September 2019 to work at CAFS.
Alison Nihart (she/her) is the Vermont State Director for Rights & Democracy Project where she works on progressive political change and electoral organizing. She holds a masters of Natural Resources from the University of Vermont (UVM) where she studied urban agriculture policy. Alison has also worked with the UVM Food Systems Initiative and as Strategic Implementation Specialist at UVM Extension. Alison brings a deep passion for cooperative economic models to the Vermont Agrarian Commons Board.
Amber Tamm (she/her) is a farmer, floral designer, farming educator, and community organizer who brings expertise in urban agriculture, farmworker advocacy, agroforestry, floriculture, and permaculture to her work on the Vermont Agrarian Commons Board. Amber was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She spent eight years working and organizing around the country on migrant farmworker crews and brings a deep passion for migrant workers rights and housing security to this work. Since then Amber has organized for community land access, mutual aid, and food sovereignty in Brooklyn and beyond.
Josephine Watson (she/her) is Legal Coordinator at Regen Network Development and brings a background in climate change adaptation policy, regenerative agriculture, and Contract, Conservation Agriculture, and Business Organizational Law to the Vermont Agrarian Commons Board. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Tufts University and a JD from Vermont Law School where she studied how to move governance models towards participatory democracy strategies to generate policy and programming that meets real community needs, especially as they pursue food systems reform and struggle to adapt to climate change impacts. In addition, she brings expertise conducting land-based climate solutions research and has worked as a regenerative agriculture consultant.