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Food Projects Coordinator Sara Trunzo Wins Environmental Leadership Program Fellowship

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Unity College Farm and Food Projects Coordinator Sara Trunzo has won a prestigious fellowship with the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP).  Chosen as one of only 17 Fellows in the 2013 New England Regional Network, Trunzo, a 2008 alum of Unity, joins a diverse national network of nearly 600 Senior Fellows from academia, business, non-profit, and government. 

According to the ELP website (http://www.elpnet.org), “The mission of the Environmental Leadership Program is to support visionary, action-oriented, and diverse leadership for a just and sustainable future.”  ELP does this through leadership trainings, regional and national networking, and deliberate mentoring and peer advising opportunities.  During her fellowship year, Trunzo will participate in three focused training retreats while collaborating with other leading-edge environmental and social change advocates from across sectors.

“Sara is the perfect fit for this fellowship,” said Jesse Pyles, Unity College Sustainability Director.  “She is an accomplished professional in the food scene in Maine, with an unwavering commitment to community food security in Waldo County.  Sara is a skilled networker and I have no doubt that she will use this experience well to strengthen her work here at Unity.”

Trunzo has been instrumental in the development of recent campus and community agriculture programing, among other things leading the integration of the food bank farm project, Veggies for All, with campus food production.  Veggies for All, a project of the Unity Barn Raisers hosted at Unity College, annually grows about 13,000 pounds of produce, primarily for distribution through the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry.  Trunzo was also instrumental in the partnership that made Unity College the first institutional customer for Maine’s Own Organic Milk (MOOMilk), an organic dairy company formed to promote farm preservation and economic development in Maine.

“Sara’s vision for community food security really sets our campus and sustainable agriculture programs apart,” said Doug Fox, Director of Unity’s Sustainable Agriculture degree program.  “We’re not just teaching organic methods and soil chemistry, we are exploring food systems and hunger in our area. Sara’s engagement on these issues has created incredible opportunities for student learning in and out of the classroom.”

Trunzo has served on multiple boards and advisory committees including the Food Pantry and the Unity Barn Raisers.  She’s been an active participant in the statewide Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute, Slow Money Maine, and she currently serves as President of the Waldo County Extension Association.  In 2012, Trunzo was named the Unity Area Rotary Club’s Volunteer of the Year and received the Paul Harris Fellowship for her exemplary collaboration to advance food security in the greater Unity community.

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including its focus on sustainability science; its ground-breaking “green” innovations such as the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world; and for being the first college in the United States to divest from investments in fossil fuels, igniting a growing national movement in higher education.

Unity College is a private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013