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ELA Chapin


Favorite Part of Job? I really enjoy seeing the staff I supervise have their own successes and grow in their positions. I also have found great satisfaction in learning about what it means to be an entrepreneur, having heard from so many farm and food business owners about their experiences and reading hundreds of their business plans! It is a unique perspective to understand with intimate detail what risks entrepreneurs take!

Most Inspiring Mentor: One of the greatest mentors I have had was my boss when I was a sailing instructor at Outward Bound. Wendy would always be there when I needed an ear, and regardless of what challenges she faced that day, she gave me the time and positive spirit I needed to keep going. I often think of how positive she was even in very difficult situations, and what a cheerleader she was for me.

Tell us something fun about yourself that few people know: Besides working full time and raising my two boys, I also am a lifelong dancer. I performed for 15 years with various African Dance troupes, including the Jeh Kulu Dance & Drum Ensemble in Burlington.

Favorite Hobby: I am a very serious gardener, following in my family's footsteps, growing most of the root crops my family of four eats in a year, and nearly all the fresh vegetables we eat from June through December! I'm also encouraging my son to develop his own agricultural enterprise at seven years old.

Favorite Vermont Escape: My favorite classic Vermont day is every fall when we collect apples from several neighbors' orchards, and then spend the afternoon at our local cider press making all the cider we need for the year!

Favorite Social Media: I can't say I would consider any social media my favorite... I haven't yet found my adoration for anything outside of direct human contact.

Favorite Website: Can't say....!

Vermont Business Person you would like to have lunch with:  Peter Pomerantz - A fellow rising star, he has a fascinating growing business, I think we have a lot in common, and I would love to know more about his work!

Career Highlights: Some of the highlights of my carreer to date include: rescuing an adult with a shoulder dislocation off an 80-foot rock face; sailing from Maine to Bermuda; starting a commercial compost collection system in Central Vermont to reduce organic materials going to the landfill; studying sustainable communities in Northern Sweden and finding endless similarities between there and my home state of Vermont; getting to know many of the most amazing food producers in this region; and growing and expanding the VT Farm & Forest Viability Program to its current scale and stature over the past eight years.

Community Involvement: I usually find myself delving deeply into some aspect of my immediate community, rather than engaging lightly in many things. In my 20s I volunteered for many different orgnaizations, and spent a lot of time as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician, something I'd like to get back to later in life after my children are a little older (I will need to spend some time re-certifying for this, and it is a significant time commitment, at all hours of the day or night!) In my 30s I have spent more time supporting certain orgnaizations as a board member... including being a board member for the Compost Assocation of Vermont, Jeh Kulu Dance & Drum Theater, Local Agricultural Community Exchange, and most recently as a board member for the Community Capital of Vermont. I love finding ways to serve my community - local or statewide - and am looking forward to finding community service activities that I can do and share with my kids to get them involved at a young age.


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