The Eric Rozendaal Memorial Award
The Eric Rozendaal Memorial Fund was created through contributions from Eric’s family and friends and is managed by the Vermont Land Trust. The fund provides an annual award to a farmer who honors the legacy of Eric Rozendaal — a thoughtful, creative, and entrepreneurial farmer.
We have chosen to focus the 2020 award on farmers who exemplify Eric’s values of giving back and entrepreneurism, specifically related to the pandemic and issues of racial injustice in Vermont.
Eric was a pioneer of the farm-to-plate movement in Vermont, one of the first to sell directly to restaurants, stores and hospitals, and was also an early advocate of greenhouse growing. A staple at the Burlington Farmers Market, he often walked around to chat with other vendors in his booming voice; he also sold his products at a food fair in New York City. Eric was innovative, trying new crops like artichokes, making farm-fresh donuts, and adding value by peeling and cubing butternut squash. Though he was keen to crunch numbers, he also believed in good land stewardship and personal relationships. He improved the soil on his farm, built enduring connections with his customers and farm laborers, and was known for sharing his knowledge with others.
The Vermont Land Trust began working with Eric in 2001 when he purchased the conserved Rockville Market Farm in Starksboro. Over the years, he provided valuable advice to the land trust as it expanded efforts to help new and beginning farmers.
In July 2018, Eric passed away at the age of 51.
About the Award
The Eric Rozendaal Memorial Award will honor a Vermont farmer who exemplifies Eric’s values of land stewardship, giving back, and entrepreneurial farming. One $5,000 award will be announced at each of the Vermont Land Trust’s annual meetings from 2019 through 2028.
The awardee must be a resident of Vermont, be actively managing or working on a commercial farm operation in Vermont, and have not received the award in the past. The applicant does not have to be a farm owner. Current VLT staff, VLT Board members, members of the Selection Committee and the immediate family members of VLT staff, VLT Board members and members of the Selection Committee are not eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted between January 1 and June 30 for each year’s award. Note: In 2020, the application deadline is extended to September 18.
- Land stewardship: A demonstrated commitment to practices that support soil health and conservation of natural resources.
- Giving back: Through mentorship, community engagement, and other means, a commitment to finding ways to give back to local communities and to the broader community of farmers in Vermont.
- Entrepreneurism: A demonstrated ability to innovate through the introduction of new farm products or the development of new markets for farm products.
- Use of the funds: A clear description of recent or planned project(s) on the farm related to the award criteria that the funds can support.
A Selection Committee consisting of leaders in the Vermont agricultural community will review and score all eligible applications and select a final awardee. The 2019 Selection Committee members were:
- Ela Chapin, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board
- Nicole Dehne, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
- Travis Marcotte, Intervale Center
- Will Raap, Gardener’s Supply
- Jon Ramsay, Center for an Agricultural Economy
- Keenann Rozendaal, family representative
Applications for the annual award must be received between 12:01 am on January 1 and 11:59 pm Eastern Time on June 30. Note: The 2020 application deadline has been extended to September 18. Applications received outside of this date range will be asked to resubmit during the application window.
How to Apply
We encourage people to apply online; however, we offer the option of mailing in your application as well. Please visit our application information page to get started.
Each year’s awardee will be announced at the Vermont Land Trust’s annual meeting. The 2019 awardee was Corie Pierce of Bread & Butter Farm.
Photos of Eric and his farm courtesy of photographer Natalie Stultz.