Keynote & Speakers 


Keynote: Philip Ackerman-Leist

Monday, June 27
8:10 am - 8:50 am

altThe Green Space Between: Resource Conservation & Community Development
A resilient world is one in which natural resource conservation and community development cross-pollinate and hybridized visions blaze the path forward. The stories of this innovative thinking are unfolding all around us, some quietly and some with drama. The heroes are the collaborators; the only real villains are complacency and a lack of imagination. We’ll begin the day with some inspiring stories of communities that have created common ground between community development and environmental stewardship.

Bio:  Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at Green Mountain College, Philip Ackerman-Leist is the author of Up Tunket Road: The Education of a Modern Homesteader (2010) and Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems (2013). He is currently working on a collaborative book project with multimedia artist and co-founder of the Lexicon of Sustainability, Douglas Gayeton about the first municipality in the world to pass a binding referendum banning all pesticides. He and his family raise grassfed American Milking Devon cattle on their off-grid homestead and farm in Pawlet, Vermont. In addition to establishing Green Mountain College’s 25 acre organic farm, he also founded the nation’s first online graduate program in food systems. At home and as a professor, he tries to combine a farmer’s pragmatism with a teacher’s collaborative quest for the future. Sometimes it works.

Opening Speaker: Bill Schubart
Sunday, June 26
6:45 pm - 7:15 pm

altShift! The Changing World of Community Development, Economics, and our Natural Environment
Bill will address emerging changes in the world of community and economic development, in communities themselves, and in their natural environments. The old fashion ‘economic development toolbox” has rusted away. Today’s businesses are less and less community-based and harder to entice, tax, and regulate. The whole world is urbanizing and cultures are diversifying.  Millennials have different criteria for how they live, their work culture and compensation, personal values, and environmental stewardship. In order to effectively grow and ensure the well-being of our communities, we will need to foresee and understand changes coming our way. Are we ready?

Bio: Bill Schubart has lived in VT since 1947. He was educated at Phillips Exeter, Kenyon College, and UVM. He started Philo Records in 1972 and, in 1982, Resolution, Inc. Schubart has chaired VT Public Radio, UVM Medical Center, The VT Business Roundtable, The VT Arts Council, The VT Library Board, VT's Bicentennial Commission, The VT Folklife Center in Middlebury, The VT Journalism Trust, and currently serves on the Board of the ACLU-VT and chairs The VT College of Fine Arts. He is the author of five books of fiction: The Lamoille Stories I & II, Fat People, Panhead, and I Am Baybie. His new novel Photographic Memory was just released.  He is a long-standing VT Public Radio commentator and is a frequent public speaker and non-profit consultant. 


Closing Speaker: Deborah Markowitz, Secretary, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Wednesday, June 29
10:00 am - 10:45 am

altBuilding Community Resilience by Investing in Nature
Strategic investments in land conservation and restoration of our lands and waters can help communities better prepare for the impacts of climate change while also improving water quality and community health. Secretary Markowitz will talk about  Vermont’s innovative approach to developing new science, mapping and tools to foster policy and planning efforts that protect communities by preserving nature.   Having represented Vermont on the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience Markowitz, will also share a national perspective on the importance of looking to nature to bolster community resilience and health.

Bio: Deborah Markowitz is the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the state agency with primary responsibility for protecting Vermont’s environment, natural resources and wildlife and for maintaining Vermont’s forests and state parks.  Appointed by Governor Shumlin in 2011, Markowitz has shaped the environmental agenda of the state, focusing on the challenges of climate change, strategic land conservation, growing threats to forest health and integrity, and improving the water quality of Vermont’s lakes and rivers. Markowitz believes that given today’s challenges, we must find new and creative approaches to care for nature, build healthy communities, and support the working landscape for a sustainable future.

Markowitz served as Vermont’s Secretary of State from 1999 – 2010. A graduate of the University of Vermont (B.A., 1983), Markowitz received her Juris Doctorate degree from the Georgetown University Law Center (magna cum laude,1987).  She has been recognized for her leadership by being awarded an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellowship, and the Kennedy School of Governments’ Cahn Fellowship.

Secretary Markowitz serves as the Chair of Vermont’s Climate Cabinet and represented Vermont on the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.  She serves on the Executive Board of the Environmental Council of the States and on the Board of Advisors for the Georgetown Climate Center, for Antioch’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, and for the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.