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National Organic Program
NOSB Members: Jean Richardson  
Jean Richardson
Consultant and Maple Syrup Producer | North Ferrisburgh, VT
Consumer/Public Interest | January, 2012 – January, 2017


Jean is Professor Emerita, University of Vermont, where she taught Environmental Studies and Environmental Law. She currently works with her family to produce certified organic maple syrup, and is an independent inspector of organic farms and processors, as well as providing consultation on rural land use planning and serving as a Justice of the Peace.

Dr. Richardson’s research included work on the impact of long distance transportation of air pollution on dioxin uptake in dairy feeds and milk, and a major rural development project, Environmental Partnerships in Communities (EPIC) which included considerable research on pasture management. The ten year EPIC project which Jean directed also provided extensive technical assistance to farmers on pasture management and on sustainable livestock systems, encouraging new farmer-run organizations which continue today. Lessons learned can be found in her book “Partnerships in Communities, reweaving the fabric of rural America”, Island Press, 2000. She also taught as an Adjunct Professor at the Vermont Law School, Environmental Law Center, and in the 1970’s and 80’s she and her first husband ran an electric fence franchise, and sheep farm.

Jean has extensive state, national and international experience over several decades, including: Environmental planning and policy in the Lake Baikal region of Russia; A founding Director of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, providing former Soviet Bloc countries with templates for environmental policy and law; Founding Director of the New England Environmental Policy Center which now provides Agricultural Mediation; Appointed by President Clinton to the Joint Public Advisory Committee in the Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC) in NAFTA where she took a leadership role in developing the language and policy for Citizen Submissions; Facilitated establishment of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in North America, and negotiated the certification standards for the New England forests; Appointed by Governor Dean of Vermont to the State Environmental Appeals Board and by Governor Shumlin to the District Environmental Commission on which she currently serves; Provided expert testimony to the State Legislature on numerous occasions, including the definition of soils which provides language facilitating soil protection and conservation when tracts of land are being developed.

Education: B.S University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Geography, Dissertation on agriculture in the Somerset Lowlands; M.S. and Ph.D. in Biogeography, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dissertation on the Domestication of Pecans; Post- Doctoral Law Clerkship, State of Vermont.

Jean lives in an old house on a trout stream surrounded by sugar maple trees, a small orchard, berries, vegetable gardens, perennial beds, and thousands of daffodils in spring.

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  Last Modified Date: 07/24/2013