In August, Salvation Farms welcomed Karissa Smith and Julia Scheier as full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members. The new volunteers will spend a year with Salvation Farms, building capacity in the organization’s programs. Karissa and Julia each bring recent experiences on farms and in small organizations as well as a keen interest in Vermont’s food community to their new roles.
With a mission to build food system resilience in Vermont, Salvation Farms manages the surplus produce that farms aren’t selling, reducing food waste on farms and feeding some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Salvation Farms coordinates two main initiatives, the Vermont Gleaning Collective and the Vermont Commodity Program. Each will benefit from a VISTA member’s focus this upcoming year.
Karissa comes to Salvation Farms with a background working in garden and farm organizations in California, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Her service is geared toward strengthening Salvation Farms’ organizing and facilitating role in the Vermont Gleaning Collective. Her attention toward the trainings, tools, and direct support that Salvation Farms gives to each regional member organization will streamline their capacity to harvest and distribute extra fruits and vegetables.
Julia is an SIT Graduate Institute student working toward a Masters in Sustainable Development. She will coordinate and support the growth of the Vermont Commodity Program, exploring partnerships to lead to a thoughtful expansion of Salvation Farms’ efforts to package, lightly process, and preserve excess farm-fresh produce. Her service will pave the way for increasing the volume of nutritious—and conveniently packaged—produce made available to institutional meal sites and charitable food access sites.
To learn more about Salvation Farms’ mission and programs visit www.salvationfarms.org.
Photo: Karissa and Julia process surplus, gleaned beans at Meals on Wheels of Lamoille County as part of an orientation to their AmeriCorps VISTA service year with Salvation Farms.