Volunteer Spotlight: Leigh Steele


Our community is at the heart of everything we do! This year, we’re sharing stories from some of our amazing volunteers and donors about their commitment to sustainable agriculture and conservation. Here’s our conversation with longtime Intervale Center volunteer, Leigh Steele:

How long have you been volunteering with the Intervale Center?

I don’t even remember at this point – at least 5 years! I have really enjoyed working with Seth at the Conservation Nursery. He’s really fun to be with and I enjoy spending time in the Nursery’s greenhouse in March planting cuttings and seeds, and watching it fill up with new trees!

What’s your favorite part about volunteering?

I love getting to know the staff, interns, and Americorps staff. The Intervale Center seems to draw really great people! I’m thrilled that young people are excited about getting into farming and conservation. That gives me hope for the world!

What other ways to you engage with the Intervale?

I have strong ties to the Intervale! I joined the Intervale Community Farm right from the beginning and love getting my vegetables from them year-round. I go cross-country skiing in the Intevale every winter and enjoy birdwatching as well.

What compelled you to get involved?

I’m worried about conservation in general, especially agribusiness and monoculture farms that are destroying the land. I attended the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing and heard Vandana Shiva speak about food security and the importance of protecting seeds and soil. It was a major educational experience that really changed me. Many years ago, when I discovered the Intervale and its collection of small farms growing food for Burlington area residents, I got really excited. You really can be a locavore here!

Abby Portman