Elyse Caiazzo’s passion for local food production leads to multiple awards

By Susan Johnson

Elyse Caiazzo, Assistant Director of the Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation

Elyse Caiazzo ’18 (Scarborough, ME), assistant director of the Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation (ILFSI), acted as a student ambassador for ILFSI at the Farm-to-Table dinners at the Stone Barn through summer and fall of 2017. Photo: Patricia Erikson.

She has a passion for sustainability and a knack for leadership. Elyse Caiazzo ’18, a double major in Environmental Science and Political Science, from Scarborough, Maine, has been chosen to participate in the 2018 Maine National Education for Women (NEW) Leadership Summer Institute through the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center this summer.

Elyse was one of 28 applicants chosen from a large, competitive pool of students internationally. Awardees were chosen based upon their passion for creating change in their communities.

“No matter what she does or how she challenges herself, Elyse exhibits seemingly boundless motivation, a strong work ethic, consistent enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn and grow,” said Kimberly Post, in her nomination of Elyse.

Elyse’s leadership extends to athletics and student governance. She is captain of the women’s lacrosse team, plays field hockey, and is a two-time GNAC All-Academic Team honoree. She has served as Student Senate vice president and chair of the Green Committee.

An advocate for sustainable farming, Elyse Caiazzo ’18 has transitioned from her role as student ambassador for the Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation (ILFSI) to its first assistant director.

Her leadership role with the Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation (ILFSI) started when she volunteered at the College’s farm and then started a job there. With her experiential learning on the farm, she began to advocate for small-scale farming and develop into her role as student ambassador for ILFSI. In this role, she communicated the benefits of the Institute to students and members of the public. This year, she has been working as ILFSI’s first assistant director.

Elyse’s passion for the environment also earned her the Heart & Soul Student Award from Maine Campus Compact, a coalition of 18 member campuses that leads a movement to reinvigorate the civic mission of higher education. Each year faculty, students, campus organizations, and community and corporate partners are recognized. Maine Campus Compact recognized Elyse’s efforts to call attention to issues of local and global importance.

Learn More at eatgoodlocalfood.org


The Institute serves as an innovation hub, promoting sustainable agriculture and local economic development. It will focus on New England’s food security and will support Maine’s food and beverage industry by providing workforce training, facilities for scale-up of home operations, business development, and collaboration of other supporting organizations.
Learn More at eatgoodlocalfood.org