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Leah Mayor
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Leah Mayor, Ph.D. is committed to building healthy and enduring communities. She brings extensive background in education and community development to variety of sustainability initiatives with a special focus on food and agricultural systems.

Recognizing the many connections between food, environment, people, and culture, Dr. Mayor’s work leverages the enthusiasm of a growing local foods movement to protect farmland, natural heritage, artisanal traditions, and our cherished ways of life.

She is founder and Principal of Taking Root, a small eco-tourism initiative devoted to stimulating local economies, building community viability and celebrating our connections to food and culinary history.

Entries by Leah Mayor

7 Insights for Unsticking When a Project Gets Stuck

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 11:12 AM

More often than not, consulting on a project requires being a dynamic "expert" on a wide variety of topics. This role can be a great balance between specialist and generalist that requires as much skill in organization, facilitation, and leadership (process-skills) as it does content-knowledge and expertise for task completion....

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Budget Luxury: Practicing for the Family Vacation

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 8:25 AM

Travel, like our home and our haircuts, is an expression of ourselves. So, what better way to bring our personal skills and family values to the fore than by booking travel where the destinations, transportation and activities reflect who we are? As a new wife, and an expecting mother, this...

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Farm-to-Institution: Next Steps in Supporting Local Food Infrastructure

(4) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 12:41 PM

As summer shifts into the colder seasons, gardeners in the Northeast turn to the age old traditions of preserving and extending the life of food; Fruit gives way to jam, tomatoes become sauce, vegetables are pickled, relished and frozen. Seasonality, and our responses to it, may be the single most...

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Tuthilltown Spirits: Redefining Agricultural Regions and Products

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 5:04 PM

Agriculture is extremely difficult business. It requires passion and hard work as well as a steady vision. It's what one of my colleagues calls a "real job," in a world of "make believe occupations." Today, only about three percent of Americans live on farms. But many, like Tuthilltown Spirits in...

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Bringing Home the Bacon: Labor and Self Reliance in Knowing Our Food

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2013 | 5:42 PM

Fourteen years of being a vegetarian gave way to living abroad in places where being a vegetarian would have traditionally been out of the question. After months in Mongolia, living as a vegetarian, I ran out of power-bars and I started to eat (more readily available) mutton. This experience significantly...

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The State of a City: Building a Community Garden in Bridgeport

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2013 | 8:58 AM

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

In last Wednesday's address to the state, Connecticut Governor, Dannel Malloy reminded citizens that, as we begin the new legislative session, 2013...

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Gratitude for Farmers and the Farmland That Provide for Us

(2) Comments | Posted December 3, 2012 | 8:45 AM

I have made it my personal mission to connect our growing love for local foods with our need for healthy communities. There really is no better time than the holiday season to think about the importance of farming traditions and honor their role in this time of celebration and gratitude....

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Summer Love: Farmers Markets, Community Heartbeat

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2012 | 11:16 AM

Summer is a time of barbeques, outdoor celebrations and a grateful welcome to tomatoes, snap peas and an abundance of lettuces and garden squash. Summer is also turning into a celebration of America's 7,175 farmers markets that serve as a centerpiece to thriving and promising landscape of a beloved local...

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Community-Based Work Requires Fearlessness!

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2012 | 11:44 AM

My life's work innocently started out under the banner of "transforming communities." Trained as an educator and an anthropologist, I found that in the beginning, the goals and ideas of this work seemed clear enough. Yet in practice, my career has brought me into very different communities to focus on...

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Farm City

(20) Comments | Posted February 17, 2012 | 4:17 PM

Alec Baxt claims to have gotten goose bumps from his first visit to Eagle Street Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Baxt is a native born and self described "New York City kid." His personal search for self reliance and sustainable community led him first to Alaska, then to French...

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Counting On Every Acre

(10) Comments | Posted January 22, 2012 | 7:10 PM

Within the world of an increasingly localized food movement, we are ever more familiar with buying a peck of heirloom apples, serving up a pound of grass-fed beef, decorating with a bouquet of seasonal flowers, and adding a pinch or a dash of our local agricultural products to any...

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Beyond the Plate

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2011 | 10:42 AM

It is an interesting time for agriculture. There is more demand than ever for healthy, fresh, local food. Organic and green consumers take pride in knowing their farmers, considering the seasonality of vegetables, and putting foods that they have never tried before on their plates. The move toward local food...

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Making Cheese at the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

(1) Comments | Posted August 10, 2011 | 7:13 PM

Few people have fueled my respect for cheese more than Nat Bacon, head cheesemaker for Shelburne Farms. Two years ago I spent some time with Nat on this farm, in the "make room," and it forever deepened my understanding of the hard work and elbow grease that goes...

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Grant Achatz: Foundation, Innovation, Every Moment Is New

(1) Comments | Posted May 18, 2011 | 12:45 PM

In graduate school, after long days of study, my favorite way to unwind was to read cookbooks, online recipes, and magazines devoted to cooking. Cooking made me feel creative. Immersed in an intangible world of research and chapters, I found solace in the tactile act of creating something from beginning...

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A New Generation of Farmers

(1) Comments | Posted May 11, 2011 | 12:45 PM

At age 39, Kylie Spooner put her Ivy League education to unexpected use. She moved into the farmhouse where her father, Dean Spooner, was raised. The late Henry Spooner, Kylie's grandfather, bought the two bedroom farmhouse in 1938 along with the small plot of land upon which the house sits....

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What Are the Next Steps for Local Food Movements?

(2) Comments | Posted April 28, 2011 | 2:20 PM

"A self-made man is as likely as a self-laid egg" -Mark Twain

Despite growing support for local food systems, America's farmland is at risk. Every minute of every day, we lose more than an acre of agricultural land to development. This loss has potentially devastating consequences for our economy, our...

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Zero Waste Total Impact: Transforming School Lunch

(13) Comments | Posted March 31, 2011 | 9:42 PM

Eight years ago, Gary Giberson, Founder of New Jersey-based Sustainable Fare and Director of Dining at the Lawrenceville School, set out to make the school's lunchroom more sustainable. This meant not only challenging the way that kids ate but also how they experienced lunch both as...

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Farm Tour: Search for an Authentic Life

(2) Comments | Posted March 23, 2011 | 11:38 AM

Travel, for many, is a search for an authentic cultural experience. Many a trekker, tourist, and seeker have found themselves going to greater lengths at greater cost to find unique and meaningful encounters; a momentary refuge from the day-to-day reality of a modern life. All over the world, lives have...

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In Honor of Women's History Month: Travel as a Catalyst for Change

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2011 | 11:00 AM

In honor of Women's History Month, I have been interviewing women who are leading the way in creative travel -- back road, off-the-map and Slow Adventures. The best part of seeking out women to interview is that I haven't had to look very far to find inspired women...

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Home Belongs to the Traveler

(8) Comments | Posted February 25, 2011 | 1:22 PM

The word tourism, first used in the early 1800s, was derived from the Latin 'Tornare' or Greek 'Tornos," meaning to circle. And like its root, tourism suggests movement around an axis point or home. Lately, I have also been thinking about travel as a cultural pilgrimage; a way to trace...

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