Meet Our Staff
Professional Production Associate
Connor Gorham, of Rochester, NH, has worked for the CAE/VFVC since May of 2011. He has a BA in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute and has a passion for food that only few can match. Connor spent a 9 month internship in Boston, MA at a fine dining restaurant and more recently has spent the past two years working at Vermont Soy in preparation of landing a spot at the VFVC. Since May, Connor has received Better Process Control Certification at Cornell University to certify food products with specific FDA requirements as well as become a registered ServSafe Instructor and Test Proctor. This allows the CAE/VFVC to offer food safety courses and certification under Connor's tutelage. Connor has had a vision of working with food businesses and entrepreneurs for several years now and feels that he is living out his dream each and every day. Now living in Johnson, VT, Connor enjoys playing basketball, hitting the slopes, and spending time with his dog Bert.
Elena Gustavson joined the Center for an Agricultural Economy in June 2009, focusing on developing, implementing and managing programs for the CAE and VFVC. Most recently, she acted as Interim Executive Director for the CAE from October 2012 to February 2013 before welcoming Sarah Waring into the role. Elena has an extensive background in small business, food, food systems and community outreach that spans a 15 year period. In Vermont, she played a principal role in the development, launching and management of Pete's Green's Good Eats CSA, as well as managing the outreach, media and business of the farm. In 2007, Elena moved on to the "green" kitchen at Sterling College where she introduced a budget-friendly local foods menu, local sourcing plan and kitchen policy that was used as a basis for the college's current curriculum around food systems and local culinary tradition. In 2012, Elena joined the Vermont Land Trust, Board of Trustees. She continues to be an active member in her community as a volunteer, which includes serving as chair of Craftsbury Academy's School Life Association and hopes to retire as a "lunch lady". Elena lives in Craftsbury, slowly restoring her 1854 farmhouse with her three wonderfully energetic children and a very old dog.
George Keener joined the CAE in April of 2011 to take the position as Operations Manager of the Vermont Food Venture Center. He has extensive experience in operations and project management and a diverse background that helps him with the many caps he must wear in this position. This includes a strong mechanical and electrical background, international management of applications and service engineers, sales, marketing and business management. George and his wife Sandy are outdoor enthusiasts that moved to Vermont in 1974 where they have been organic gardeners and localvores ever since. They raised three daughters in VT that all currently live in the state and join their love of its agricultural roots, people and the outdoor opportunities it brings.
Vermont Small Business Development Center, Certified Business Counselor
As a partner staff with the Center for an Agricultural Economy, Heidi Krantz has been an independent business owner and consultant for over 30 years with extensive experience in personnel management and training, strategic planning and implementation and organizational development. Her education and career have led her on a "scenic" path including work with state and federal agencies, non-profits and private businesses. Heidi’s diverse background affords her a unique perspective on the challenges faced by her clients. Her background in experiential education and training provides resources to encourage clients to explore new ways of addressing their business needs and to develop responses intentionally. She was a founding owner of Umiak Outfitters in Stowe, VT. She left her position as the Community Development Coordinator for the Town of Morristown, Vermont to work with CAE as the Vermont Small Business Development Center Area Business Advisor for the Northeast Kingdom. Heidi and her husband are restoring an 1830’ s hillside farm in Craftsbury.
Traci Lamarche joined the Center for an Agricultural Economy the summer of 2011, bringing with her a wealth of accounting, financial and systems experience spanning 13 years. Prior to joining the CAE, Traci and her husband Andre owned and operated the Albany Market in Albany, VT for 8 years, all the while serving as the Assistant Comptroller at Sterling College from 2007 to the recent present. As a CPA from 1999 to 2007, Traci worked with both a public accounting firm as well as a consultant. Traci, who is an active member of her church, lives, gardens and rides bikes in Albany with her husband, two children Megan and Andrea and their dog Jade.
From Craftsbury, Vermont, Annie Rowell joined the Center for an Agricultural Economy in 2011 after graduating Middlebury College. As a political science major, her senior thesis looked at the formation of policy change in small communities, specifically looking at an effort in Craftsbury to incorporate more local food into the Craftsbury school menus, examining the interests of the Craftsbury community and the school itself. At Middlebury, Annie was a member of both the women’s soccer and track teams. In the spring of 2010, she spent four months in the D.C. office of Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy’s office. In addition to her work at the CAE/VFVC, she works part time as a licensed real estate agent for the Peter D. Watson Agency.
Prior to joining the Center for an Agricultural Economy in February 2013, Sarah Waring served as Program Director for the Farm & Wilderness Foundation, a 73 year old non-profit outdoor education organization. Sarah has also managed a comprehensive statewide campaign called Council on the Future of Vermont for the Vermont Council on Rural Development, has worked in the non-profit world in conservation, land use planning, and rural development, as well as for the Bureau of Land Management in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Glover, Vermont, Sarah earned her B.A. from Haverford College, and her M.A.A. from the University of Maryland. Although she has lived in various places on the East Coast and in the Rocky Mountains, Sarah is proud to call Vermont home.