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Food Connects Welcomes New Development Director

Food Connects is excited to welcome Lissa Harris to their Development team as their new Development Director. This new position will strengthen Food Connects’ fundraising efforts, create and execute the organization's Annual Development Plan and Capital Campaigns, and support the organization’s continued growth.

Lissa officially joined the team in July after previously working with the Food Connects team on various projects throughout early 2021. Before joining the Food Connects, Lissa held positions at Strolling of the Heifers and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, responsible for marketing, fundraising, and more. “I realized very quickly that Food Connects is primed to be a leader in the establishment of a new food system that relies less on mass production and more on added value to our community,” says Harris. “The organization is collaborative by nature. One of the reasons I moved here from New York was the access to farm-fresh food and a culture that values healthy eating and a focus on earth-affirming growing practices.”

At Food Connects, the Development team fosters connections between the organization, businesses, and community members and engages the community in dialogues around strengthening and improving our local food economy. As a nonprofit organization, Food Connects relies on the generous support of community partners to continue its mission to build “Healthy Families, Thriving Farms, and Connected Communities.”  “Non-profit work is full of passion for the mission, and I'll use that drive to create enthusiasm for the work that Food Connects does,” says Harris.

And Food Connects is thrilled to have Harris’s experience and enthusiasm as they mature as an organization. “Working with Lissa on community projects, I realized very quickly that we needed to make her a permanent part of the team,” says Executive Director Richard Berkfield. “We feel lucky to have her expertise to draw from.”

“Food Connects is really poised to be at the center of a different kind of food system, one that doesn't rely on large corporations,” says Harris. “Going to my favorite restaurant and knowing that some of the ingredients they cook with are grown right here in Vermont, or New Hampshire makes all the difference. I want to use my experience in development and fundraising to make sure Food Connects has the capital it needs to grow and expand its markets so more people have access to healthy, nutritious food.”

Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems. The Food Hub aggregates and delivers from over 150 regional farms and food producers to over 150 buyers in southeast Vermont, southwest New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. Their educational services focus on Farm to School programming. Acknowledged as a statewide leader, the program supports over 30 schools to increase local food purchasing, school meal participation, and food, farm, and nutrition education. Together these core programs contribute to a vibrant local economy by increasing local food purchases by schools and improving students’ nutrition and academic performance. Food Connects is frequently hired to provide leadership and consulting services for efforts to support food systems initiatives throughout New England and act as a catalyst for change.