About Us

  • Program Staff


    Liz Gleason, Program DIRECTOR

    LG PhotoLiz joined the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program in 2010, becoming Director in 2021. Liz oversees all program activities, funding awards, outcomes evaluation and reporting. She also fosters a robust set of partnerships with partner organizations across the state and leads fundraising efforts. She has a BA in Political Science from Williams College and has worked for a variety of farms and food-related non-profits in Vermont and Massachusetts. Liz fills her free time trail running, baking, and rock climbing.

    Contact Liz by email using firstname [at] vhcb.org



    Noth_2Mariah joined the Viability Program team in 2019. She manages VHCB's Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) as well as impact reporting, grant administration, and COVID Recovery initiatives. Mariah holds a degree in Community & International Development and Food Systems from the University of Vermont, and prior to joining VHCB, she worked as a community planner and in sustainable viniculture. Mariah is passionate about strengthening food systems, enjoys cooking and outdoor activities in all forms.

    Contact Mariah by email using firstname [at] vhcb.org or by calling or 802-828-1098.


    Calley Hastings, Program Manager

    Calley HastingsCalley Hastings joined the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program as the Program Manager in 2021.  Calley has her BA in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Agriculture from UVM. She started her family business, Fat Toad Farm, 14 years ago producing Goat’s Milk Caramel, has been through the Viability Program as a client and has been providing business/marketing planning to farmers across Vermont as a consultant. She taught farmer Holistic Management courses for years and has recently been serving as the Board President of the VT Specialty Food Association. She brings a wealth of experience and connections to the working landscape to this position. In her free time Calley enjoys photography, running and her Icelandic sheep dogs!

    Contact Calley by email using firstname [at] vhcb.org

    Betsy McGavisk, Program Coordinator

    Betsy HeadshotBetsy joined the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program in the spring of 2021. She manages our grants programs and the program's financial processes. Betsy is motivated by building a just and sustainable economy, has a BA in Community and International Development from the University of Vermont, and has previously worked as grassroots community organizer, baker, and pickler. Betsy lives in Burlington’s Old North End and spends her free time biking, cooking, and dancing.

    Contact Betsy by email using b.mcgavisk [at] vhcb.org or by calling or 802-828-5562.

    Jillian Conner, Program assistant Jillian Conner Headshot

    Jillian joined VHCB as the Program Assistant for the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program in 2022. She assists with all aspects of the program; supporting the business and succession planning programs, data management, and community outreach. Jillian graduated from Champlain College with a BS in Environmental Policy in 2015. Her vocational background ranges from starting a small diversified farm, working as a Vermont Town Clerk, and most recently, as a project manager in the carbon offset industry. Vermont's working landscapes and local economy are her guiding light. Jillian spends her free time in the woods running and biking, skiing with her dog, and dreaming about sheep.

    Contact Jillian by email using j.conner [at] vhcb.org or by calling 802-828-5587.


    Mark RaishartMark joined the Viability Program team in January 2023 as the Forest Program Specialist, working to grow and manage the Forest Landowner Transfer Planning Program.  Mark earned a B.A. and M.S. in Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College in 2002 and 2016, respectively.  Prior to joining the Viability Program, Mark worked for nearly eighteen years in natural resource-based education with a focus on agriculture, forest products, and ecosystem management at Smokey House Center and Stafford Technical Center.  He has also worked privately in commercial beekeeping, consulting forestry, timber-stand improvement, Christmas tree farming, and maple-sugaring.  Mark currently lives with his family in Addison County and manages his 70 acre Tree Farm and small-scale sugarbush of 500 taps. He loves canoeing, camping and hiking with his family throughout the northeast.

    Contact Mark by email using m.raishart [at] vhcb.org or by calling 802-828-3526.

  • Advisory Board

    Alyson Eastman, Deputy Secretary, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (Chair)
    Joan Goldstein, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Economic Development
    Colleen Goodridge, Goodridge Lumber
    Ashlyn Bristle, Rebop Farm
    Norah Lake, Sweetland Farm
    Sarah Isham, VT Agricultural Credit Corporation/VT Economic Development Authority
    Jenna Koloski, Vermont Council on Rural Development
    Dan Lerner, University of Vermont Extension
    Fred Kenney, Addison County Economic Development Corp.
    Michael Snyder, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation
    Gus Seelig, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board