Helen Labun - Executive Director
Helen has worked on rural economic development issues in Vermont since 2004. She previously directed programs in the creative economy and in rural broadband expansion for the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and managed market development projects as the Food Policy Administrator at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Before joining VFN as Executive Director in June, 2017, she ran Hel’s Kitchen restaurant and was the events manager for Bear Pond Books in Montpelier. Helen received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, an MSc in Community Development and Applied Economics from UVM, and an MFA in creative nonfiction from Lesley University. Helen wrote feature stories for Vermont’s Local Banquet, has been a VPR commentator for the past decade, and serves on the Board of the Summit School of Traditional Music in Montpelier. She would like to pre-emptively dispute anyone’s claim that they are a faster Nordic skier than she is (although she has recently been distracted by Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a sport which is immune to the fickle weather). Helen is originally from Newbury, VT.
Zea Luce - Membership Manager
Zea brings a wealth of experience from various regions of our country to her job working with the VFN membership. She grew up on a small farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and now lives in an eco-village in Vermont. After receiving a degree in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College, Zea's worked for a range of non-profit, for-profit, and governmental agencies conducting outreach and education around zero waste and sustainable food systems. In the Santa Clara Valley of CA, she coordinated a large farm-to-school program and co-led a regional Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign, member-based local foods marketing not unlike the Vermont Fresh Network's mission. There, she spearheaded a local food month proclamation and published the region’s first local food guide.
Zea has managed an educational farm in the Silicon Valley, a Master Composter Recycler program in WA State, has taught middle school French in NH, and holds certificates in agroecology and permaculture design. She currently serves on the board of her local food cooperative. When not behind a computer, Zea can be found maintaining her extensive garden, tending sheep, growing shiitake mushrooms, playing the French horn, or enjoying Vermont's outdoor activities.
Tara Pereira - Communications Director
Tara has worked in communications for over 20 years. She joins Vermont Fresh Network from Marketing Partners in Burlington where she developed and implemented content and communication strategy plans for Vermont nonprofits.
Tara began her career in the San Francisco Bay Area working in television, where she brought her love of food and storytelling together at Bay Cafe - a show devoted to the food and farms of the Bay Area. After moving to Vermont, Tara joined WCAX-TV in the creative services department where she won awards for her broadcast promotion and commercials. She later started her own company offering online video and marketing consulting to local businesses and state agencies. Tara received a BS in Mass Communication from Emerson College, and earned a Professional Certificate in Digital Marketing from Champlain College. During her time in Vermont, she has run a dessert catering business, a wholesale cookie company and a food blog & online shop devoted to Vermont products.
Tara and her family recently moved into an old farmhouse in Westford, and she is excited to start planting fruit trees and building raised beds. Tara enjoys baking, photography and exploring farmers markets around the state. She is originally from Little Compton, RI.