- Courtesy Of The James Beard Foundation
In August, University of Vermont graduate student Alisha Utter, 26, will receive a $20,000 grant from the James Beard Foundation National Scholars Program. She's the Northeast regional winner of the award, which will go toward her doctoral studies at UVM. An incoming UVM master's student, Olivia Peña, won the JBF's Mid-Atlantic grant.
Utter, who lives in Grand Isle, is starting her third year in a PhD program in plant and soil sciences. Her research focuses on growing practices and produce safety at small- and medium-scale farms in New England, and involves talking with farmers about resources, challenges and information surrounding those topics.
Utter currently works at Hen of the Wood in Burlington and is establishing a fruit farm called Arbor Farmstead at her home. She has worked at two area fruit farms, Allenholm Farm in South Hero and the Farm Between in Jeffersonville.
"I really respect the James Beard Foundation," Utter said. "For them to recognize the work I'm doing is really quite incredible. I feel honored."