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Olivia Peña

Food Security Specialist

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Olivia is proud to be a part of the Food Security Team as a Food Security Specialist. Within this role, Olivia conducts educational outreach and trainings on 3SquaresVT (known nationally as SNAP) for service providers, advocates, and community organizations throughout Vermont. Her work focuses on supporting low-income Vermonters to enable them to access more and better foods for themselves and their families through 3SquaresVT and other federal nutrition assistance programs. Her specific interest areas for increasing food security are working families with children, rural communities, and New Americans. Olivia values taking a collaborative approach to addressing food insecurity by working with community partners, and state and federal representatives.

Before joining the Hunger Free Vermont team, Olivia studied at the University of Vermont (UVM). During her undergraduate career, she majored in Food Systems with a concentration in Animal Science, and minors in Nutrition & Food Science and Community & International Development. Olivia continued on to receive her Masters of Science in Food Systems at UVM in 2018, researching community engagement and participation in the Farm Bill policy development process.

Olivia brings experience from working across the food system. She has worked in Senator Leahy’s Vermont offices, supported various research studies at national and international scales, and was involved in the Real Food Challenge by working with local farms to increase the amount of sustainable food on campus at UVM. Olivia is eager to be working with empowered communities across Vermont through such a transformative organization.