Jeff Carpenter and his wife, Melanie Carpenter, own and operate Zack Woods Herb Farm in Hyde Park, Vermont. They have recently co-authored the book, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer published by Chelsea Green.
Jeff Carpenter has farming in his blood. Descended from generations of Vermont farmers, Jeff deepened his love and understanding of plants through an apprenticeship with Rosemary Gladstar and as the co-owner of Sage Mountain Herb Products. Since those early days, Jeff’s work as a farmer, agricultural consultant, educator, and researcher has focused on the cultivation and marketing of medicinal herbs. Jeff also partners with Rosemary Gladstar in hosting the International Herb Symposium. His passion for the green world is evident as he spends his days working in the fields and in the community.
Julia Alvarez has bridged the Americas many times. Born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic, she is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist, author of world-renowned books in each of the genres, including How the Garca Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies, and Something to Declare. She is the recipient of a 2013 National Medal of Arts. She lives on a farmstead outside Middlebury, Vermont, with her husband Bill Eichner.
Julia and Bill own an organic coffee farm called Alta Gracia in her native country of the Dominican Republic. Their specialty coffee is grown high in the mountains on what was once depleted pastureland. Not only do they grow coffee at Alta Gracia, but they also work to bring social, environmental, spiritual, and political change for the families who work on their farm. They use the traditional methods of shad-grown coffee farming in order to protect the environment, they pay their farmers a fair and living wage, and they have a school on their farm where children and adults learn to read and write.
Madeleine M. Kunin was the first woman governor of Vermont, and served as the Deputy Secretary of education and Ambassador to Switzerland under President Bill Clinton. She is the author of Living a Political Life (1995) Pearls, Politics, and Power (2008)and The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family (2012). She is currently a Marsh Scholar Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont where she lectures on history and women’s studies. She also serves as president of the board of the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), a nongovernmental organization that she founded in 1991. She lives in Burlington, Vermont.
Peter has become a leader for the American conservation movement by creating a life in conservation as photographer, writer, and storyteller about the relationship between people and place. For the last fifteen years, Peter has focused his energies on bringing together and strengthening the worlds of environmentalism and social justice and offering those professions his experience with story, facilitation, contemplative practice, and relationship to nature. Peter is always learning and innovating across the boundaries of profession, culture, and home, and this has made his work influential to the different fields of leadership development, sustainability, philanthropy, and conservation. You might find him teaching spoon-carving on a city street, or giving a keynote address on courage at a national conference, or helping to heal a fracture within a community, or photographing a lost art. What he cares most about is strengthening people’s connections to one another and the land that sustains them, the most visible and important example being his family’s farm and tapestry in the Mad River Valley of Vermont. He is the co-editor of Our Land, Ourselves, author of The Great Remembering and What Is a Whole Community, and co-author of Coming to Land in a Troubled World, and collaborated with William Coperthwaite as the photographer for A Handmade Life. You can learn more about him at Peterforbes.org.
Philip Ackerman-Leist, author of Rebuilding the Foodshed and Up Tunket Road, is the Dean of Professional Education and the School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College. He and his wife, Erin, farmed in the South Tyrol region of the Alps and North Carolina before beginning their nineteen-year homesteading and farming venture in Pawlet, Vermont. With more than two decades of field experience working on farms, in the classroom, and with regional food systems collaborators, Philip’s work is focused on examining and reshaping local and regional food systems from the ground up.