Windham Grows, a project of Strolling of the Heifers, is a farm and food business accelerator ready to give the mentorship, education, tools, financing that promotes sustainability to help farm and food businesses grow in a renewable way.
The program is led by our Entrepreneur-in-Residence and a team of farm and food industry consultants that work one-on-one with entrepreneurs to help improve sustainability-focused business growth and viability.
We meet each business where they’re at, and work as a team to create specific goals and plans that help achieve desired results.
Windham Grows Leadership
Founder, Strolling of the Heifers
Orly is the founder of Strolling of the Heifers. Previously, she served as a learning specialist with the Windham Central Supervisory Union for 24 years. She has a BA in Psychology and Education from Boston University, and Master of Education degree in Psychology and Special Education from Keene State College. She also built a profitable private consulting business, training teachers in cutting-edge educational techniques.
Executive Director, Strolling of the Heifers
Lissa is the Executive Director of Strolling of the Heifers. Prior to joining the Stroll, Lissa was the Director of Capacity Building at the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust where she was responsible for marketing, fundraising, and more. She has worked in the non-profit sector for over 15 years, working for national organizations like the American Cancer Society and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Lissa also worked as a staff reporter for a local newspaper in New York. She moved to Vermont in 2017 with her husband, two children, and four pets and loves the country life!
Program Manager, windham Grows
Peter comes to the Strolling of the Heifers after many years working as a landscape construction project manager. He is also an experienced bike tour planner, and has organized and run many successful charity bike events. As project manager for Windham Grows he is looking forward to using his skills to help our farm and food cohort participants thrive and create new jobs in our community and statewide.
As Windham Grows program manager Peter will also be working on the Farm to Table Culinary Apprenticeship Program, Slow Living Summit, Tour de Heifer, and the small business accelerator. In his role with the Strolling of the Heifers he enjoys contributing to an organization that provides so many benefits to the Town of Brattleboro and the State of Vermont.
Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Windham Grows
Jim co-founded three socially responsible businesses focused on energy and waste management automation systems, and workforce development. Jim was a co-founder of Ruralogic, a “re-shoring” firm created to counter the trend in outsourcing US jobs to third world countries, He helped bring 2,900 high-tech jobs to rural Louisiana and Pennsylvania that would have otherwise gone overseas.
Strolling of the Heifers General Manager
Anne works enthusiastically with the full range of the Stroll’s work, from the annual parade and festival to the Farm-to-Table Culinary Apprenticeship Program, to the Slow Living Summit, Windham Grows and our River Garden events. Anne is particularly excited about the Stroll’s emphasis in supporting local farm and food-related entrepreneurship and internship programs.
Windham Grows Outreach Coordinator
Outreach Coordinator, Jennifer Brandt, brings years of marketing experience for a variety of clients ranging from Sony to small non-profits. Jennifer’s extensive marketing experience gives her access to a vast professional network of marketing and creative heavy-hitters that can be assembled for projects with even the most daunting marketing and creative challenges. Her passion for sustainable food systems makes her work with Strolling of the Heifers more like a dream than a job. While not working on organizing spectacular events or creating new marketing materials for clients, you can find her exploring new food around the world whether it be via food stall, beach shack and even the occasional high-end meal.
Farm Cohort Business Consultant
Annie Harlow has spent the past 35 years rooted in food. Fifteen of them as a buyer and seller in Vermont where she helped create a foundation for local food demand at City Market/Onion River Coop, Black River Produce and at area institutions. As an independent retail and operations consultant, Annie has helped farm and food businesses grow to understand food operations, marketing and distribution variables for scaling up supply to meet market demands or vice versa.
Current work includes expanding sales for farmers, independent grocery and coop stores with various types of training: on-farm and in-store support, and a monthly e-newsletter highlighting a stream of consciousness approach to improving operations and profitability. Annie specializes in organizing workshops, seminars and forums designed to increase food-business acumen and relationships among producers, buyers and distributors.
She has served on many local and regional boards and in advisory roles including the Addison County Relocalization Network, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, The Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets, Healthcare Without Harm and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. She lives in Bristol, Vermont and is an avid gardener in the Alan Chadwick tradition.
Farm Cohort Business Consultant
Rose Wilson has provided market development and business strategy services for more than 15 years to the farm and food sector. Over 350 clients ranging from national NGO’s such as Healthcare Without Harm to state agencies, established companies such as CROPP/Organic Valley to emerging brands such as Kingdom Creamery of Vermont, and small, mid and large scale farms of all varieties have hired Rose for market development, enterprise analysis, feasibility studies, and business planning and valuation. In addition, Rose is an excellent grant write and has secured more than $4 million in financing and grant funding for her clients.
Rose brings a broad set of hard and soft skills to each client and project. She is a member of the NOFA VT Revolving Loan Fund Advisory Board, the Vermont Farm Fund Advisory Board, and the Vermont First Advisory Board.
Rose’s mission is to make a difference on a local level: building strong, sustainable, local economies; encouraging a sense of community; and minimizing our collective impact on the environment. Rose’s passion is seeing her clients succeed. Prior to launching her consulting business, Rose was Business Development Manager for Harpoon Brewery; a National Sales Manager for Geographic Data Technology, Inc. (Tom Tom); and the Main Street Manager for Windsor, Vermont, a nationally designated Main Street Community.
Food Cohort Business Consultant
Annette Rexroad believes that we should all live a life that takes us from ordinary to outrageous. As an entrepreneur, mother, homeschooling parent, and former academician, Annette has spent nearly two decades balancing a growing business with a growing family alongside her husband and best friend, Rex. With a Master’s of Public Health in Public and Community Health Services and a Doctorate of Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health in hand, Annette moved to Vermont to work between state government and academia improving the health of women and children in Vermont and nationally. Burnt out from the rigors of academia and starting to have children of her own, she and her husband decided to throw caution to the wind and turn his grandmother’s recipe for a salty sweet chocolate snack mix into a business. Founded in January 2006, Rex’s Outrageous Road Crew Crunch began on a dirt road in Jericho, VT and continued its journey across county roads to state highways and finally interstates – with all sorts of speed bumps and detours along the way. In 2015, Annette and her husband were presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity and sold Rex’s Outrageous, where they remained active partners in the national & international rollout of the company as the Innovation Team and Brand Ambassadors through 2018. Since helping others has always been at the core of who she is, Annette felt it only natural to help other entrepreneurs navigate the ups and downs of growing a business by joining forces with the Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE) to provide consulting services to women entrepreneurs in the start-up and early growth phases of their businesses. Over the past several years, she co-created and co-facilitated the Power Forward Accelerator program at CWE which gives women entrepreneurs the tools to build a strategic growth plan. She also joined the Windham Grows Accelerator Program over the past year to share her knowledge with other growing specialty food businesses in New England. To reach a broader audience of startup and early growth entrepreneurs, Annette and her husband are currently building an online platform to offer specialty food courses to entrepreneurs who may not have easy access to accelerator programs in their own communities around the country. In her down time, Annette is always searching for reasons to travel in her family’s truck camper or hop on a plane to a foreign land. When not on the road, Annette lives in Essex Junction, Vermont with her husband, three active and hungry boys, and their two rescue dogs.
Farm & Food Cohort Business Consultant
Columinate – With over 40 consultants, Columinate is a national consulting cooperative serving mission-driven organizations, including food co-ops, electric co-ops, healthcare organizations, credit unions, schools, and nonprofits. Founded in 1994, Columinate focuses on our clients’ most critical issues and opportunities, which include strategic planning, marketing, leadership development, retail operations, technology, feasibility and viability, governance, as well as diversity & inclusion. We bring a deep understanding and extensive expertise, while providing a holistic approach to solving problems and creating opportunities for our clients.
Helping people add value to their work while building deeper connections to their communities through food and cooperation continues to inspire and motivate my work. I look forward to collaborating with organizations and individuals to develop their operational systems and grow their business through creative merchandising , margin control, and sound management practices.
With over 25 years of experience in the organic and natural foods industry focusing on retail systems and operations management, I have advocated a dynamic approach to merchandising, sales promotion, and exceptional customer service.
Strolling of the Heifers prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation,
religion, age, disability, marital or family status. Strolling of the Heifers is an equal opportunity employer.