Jeff Roberts - Incumbent

I have lived in Montpelier since 1995 and joined Hunger Mountain Co-op immediately.  

I consult with farmers and producers and speak frequently in Europe and the United States on artisan food, sustainable agriculture, and the working landscape. I co-founded the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont and wrote The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese. For 15 years, I taught the history and culture of food at the New England Culinary Institute and was a visiting professor at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Science. My recent book, Salted & Cured: Savoring the Culture, Heritage and Flavor of America’s Preserved Meats traces the history and culture of dry-cured meat from 1630 to the present.  

I was a meteorologist, museum curator, associate dean at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and vice president at the Vermont Land Trust. My board activities include Slow Food International and US as national director and also director of the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Fresh Network.  

Recent initiatives include gastronomy and cultural tours in the Italian regions of Molise, Piemonte, and Sicily. I am currently working to create Vermont’s first American Viticulture Area. 

I feel fortunate to live in a place with a successful food co-op like Hunger Mountain Co-op. Earlier this year, I joined the board to complete an open term. If anything, my brief tenure taught me how much, beyond its committed staff, the Co-op depends upon volunteers to make it a success. Hunger Mountain Co-op has an amazing 50-year history and its track record during the pandemic was exemplary. In my opinion, over the next five, let alone 50 years, the challenges and opportunities require a diverse group of board members to support the general manager and the entire staff. 

I rely on the Co-op as my go-to source for locally grown and produced food and celebrate its presence throughout central Vermont. After decades as a member, I want to give back to the Co-op, so my family, friends, and neighbors may enjoy its benefits in the future.  

My work experience covers a wide array of businesses, organizations, and governments. During my career, I worked with diverse charitable organizations as a staff member and served on many boards of directors both local and international. For the past 30 years, I consulted with an array of nonprofit groups and for-profit businesses, including farmers and artisan food producers. 

While enjoying broad knowledge, I am a life-long learner and service on the council extends my commitment to education and teaching about the future of co-ops in our society. 

The Co-op’s informed response to COVID, its aftermath, and climate change highlight both challenges and opportunities. In my opinion, the challenges facing central Vermont, as well as the state, country and planet, may provide opportunities to improve our lives and future generations. I see several key issues: 

Inclusion and respect 
At a time when the world appears dysfunctional, how can Hunger Mountain Co-op help find common ground? From multi-generational Vermonters to new arrivals, the Co-op helps us recognize and celebrate a mutual humanity and future through food. As members, we can contribute ideas, time, and support to strengthen the local community and open doors. 

A warming state 
For more than a century, Vermont looked to an agricultural base built on dairy and maple syrup. Over the past 30 years, a multitude of small farms, artisan and craft food producers emerged, highlighted by beer, cheese, cider and other value-added enterprises. How these businesses survive will challenge Hunger Mountain Co-op into the future. Our ability to encourage expanded local production and access to high quality food will confront us going forward. Vermont’s BIPOC community provides ideas and unique histories to help make informed decisions about where our food will come from. 

To view Jeff's introduction video, click here.

  

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