“Farms will, now and always, be our salvation,” said Theresa Snow ‘01. Snow practices what she preaches, as she is the founding director of Salvation Farms in Morrisville. Salvation Farms is an organization dedicated to build increased resilience in Vermont’s food system through agricultural surplus management. Snow took time out of her schedule to talk about Vermont’s best kept secret, reducing food loss on farms, and more.
How did you first hear of Sterling College? I was three years out of high school by the time I decided to go to college. I grew up in the area, and I thought I could become educated through life and through travel, but I was confronted with life’s realities.
I watched my grandmother pass, and it really hit me—it made me consider, “What am I doing?” Life is one shot. I was working local jobs, but it wasn’t where I wanted to go—it made me think there’s more for me to do.
I’ve always had a perspective that challenges the status quo—my mom knows this and showed me a Sterling viewbook. “Let’s visit!” she said, and within nine months, I was a student! Sterling is Vermont’s best kept secret!
What faculty were important to you? I think Jeff Bickart [starts to tear up] —he was definitely kind of an adversary, actually—but something about the way Jeff chose to live his life was really inspiring. He really embodied living his convictions. Also, John Zaber, Ned Houston, Alison Van Akkeren—they’re all family!
Tell us about Salvation Farms. I do my work because I believe in sustainable agriculture, and because I believe in social change. We were born out of Sterling College—we did a pilot year with Sterling agriculture students. I founded Salvation Farms originally in 2005 with a partner. We focused on going to farmers, getting foods that would go to waste, and bringing [the foods] to the community. In 2008, it became a part of the Vermont Food Bank, and we were able to capture over 88,000 pounds of food in the greater Lamoille region that would otherwise go to waste.
I then decided to re-launch Salvation Farms on its own, away from the Vermont Food Bank, and we were federally recognized last May.
What advice do you have for current students? To question the status quo. To continue to challenge. Do these things in a respectful way. If you’re sitting around with people who agree with you [all the time], you’re not building momentum. •
Salvation Farms can be found online at salvationfarms.wordpress.com.