Side Dishes: Burlington agriculture hub promotes from within
Glenn McRae, the soft-spoken executive director of Burlington’s Intervale Center , has stepped down. Why the change? “I’m taking a nap,” jokes McRae by phone. “I am available to be the next secretary of agriculture if so called.”
He’d have to ask for time off from the United Nations, where he’ll return to a long-dormant project of developing model hospital and health-clinic practices that aim to reduce pollution without compromising care. A faculty member in the University of Vermont’s Master of Public Administration program, McRae says he’ll stay in Vermont and continue his agricultural work as he helps expand the university’s food-systems curriculum.
McRae is busy training his successor, Travis Marcotte, currently the Intervale’s director of programs. The fourth-generation Vermonter and Charlotte native will take on McRae’s role in January. “We’re all very excited,” says development coordinator Joyce Cellars. “It’s a really positive change and transition.”
An Intervale staffer since 2006, Marcotte has been the driving force behind Success on Farms , a highly respected statewide farm business-planning program. He also fostered the nationally recognized small-farm incubator program and the creation and growth of the Intervale Food Hub , which delivers healthy local food to Burlington-area workplaces.
According to McRae, “Most of our trajectories are pretty well set and in good growth mode.” Marcotte will continue his work on those programs while taking over others.
For the Food Hub, a big change is in store: It will move its headquarters to the property’s former dairy barn. Marcotte’s job will be to preserve the historical elements of the last dairy that operated in Vermont while making room for the 21st-century program.
Look for new farms at the Intervale, too. Marcotte will take charge of moving the controversial compost program to Williston’s Chittenden Solid Waste District, leaving room for fresh agriculture on a dozen acres.