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Eric Rozendaal Memorial Award

An award that honors Vermont farmers

The Eric Rozendaal Memorial Award is given annually to a farmer who honors the legacy of Eric Rozendaal—a thoughtful, creative, and entrepreneurial farmer. The award was created by Eric’s family and friends and is managed by the Vermont Land Trust. One $5,000 award will be announced at each of our annual meetings through 2028. Applications are accepted between January 1 and June 30 for each year’s award.

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Eric was a pioneer of the local food movement in Vermont

He was one of the first to sell directly to restaurants, stores, and hospitals. He was also an early advocate of growing food in greenhouses to extend Vermont’s farming season. 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

He tried new crops like artichokes, making donuts, and increasing the value of his produce, such as offering peeled and cubed 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 real connections with his customers and employees, and was known for freely sharing what he knew with others.

This award honors his legacy

The Vermont Land Trust began working with Eric in 2001 when he purchased the 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. (Read his obituary here.)

His family and friends established an award fund in his honor, which is managed by the Vermont Land Trust.

Award Eligibility and Selection

Eligibility Guidelines

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 own a farm. Members of the award selection committee and current VLT staff and board members are not eligible to apply, nor are their immediate family members (including spouses, civil union partners, parents, siblings, children or any other relatives residing in the household).

Selection Criteria

The project should exemplify:

  • Land stewardship: A demonstrated commitment to building healthy soils and protecting natural resources.
  • Giving back: A commitment to giving back to the community and to fellow farmers. This could be through mentorship, community engagement, or other activities.
  • Entrepreneurism: A demonstrated entrepreneurial approach to farming. This could include introducing new farm products or developing new markets.
  • Use of award funds: A clear description of recent or planned project(s) on the farm related to the award criteria that will be supported by the award funds.

Please note that award money does not need to be used for a new project created specifically for the award. The funds can be applied to a current project or one that has been recently completed. However, the funds must be directly applied to the project described in the application.

Those who apply but do not receive it are encouraged to reapply in future years.

Selection Process

A Selection Committee consisting of leaders in the Vermont agricultural community will review and score all eligible applications and select a final awardee. The 2021 Selection Committee members were:

  • Nicole Dehne, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
  • Travis Marcotte, Intervale Center
  • Jon Ramsay, Center for an Agricultural Economy
  • Keenann Rozendaal, family representative
  • Rebecca Roman, VLT Project Director

Award Announcement and Publicity

Each year’s awardee will be announced at that year’s Vermont Land Trust’s annual meeting. Applicants must indicate that they understand that VLT will also publicize the awardees, and, if chosen as an awardee, they must agree to cooperate in publicity initiated by VLT. Publicity may include press releases, newsletters, and website and social media posts.

Application Information

How To Apply

We ask that people apply for the award online. However, we offer the option of mailing your application if requested – please contact Jessie Jessie Estes for more information. You may also want to review a PDF version of the 2023 application before applying online.


Award Application Deadline

Applications are accepted between January 1 and June 30 for each year’s award. The deadline for 2023 is 11:59 pm Eastern Time on June 30, 2023. Applications received after this will be asked to resubmit the following year.

**Apply here**

Past winners of the Eric Rozendaal Memorial Award

2021: Christine Bourque

The 2021 award went to Christine Bourque of Blue Heron Farm in Grand Isle. Christine’s award helped subsidize CSA service to 85 families and food programs and donations to the community.

2020: Amanda Andrews and Tom Gilbert

Thanks to a generous donor, there were two awardees in 2020: Amanda Andrews of Tamarack Hollow Farm in Plainfield and Tom Gilbert of Black Dirt Farm in Greensboro Bend. Amanda’s award supported food donations and the development of a contact-less produce box program and reach customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom used the award to share composting knowledge and skills with others, hosts field trips, and donate food and compost.

2019: Corie Pierce

The first Eric Rozendaal Memorial Award was given in 2019 to Corie Pierce of Bread & Butter Farm. Corie’s award supported ecosystem health and community engagement on her 143-acre property.

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