Manager of the Catawba Sustainability Center
Adam Taylor is the manager of the Catawba Sustainability Center (CSC), Virginia Tech’s 377 acre farm located in the Catawba Valley. The CSC is a unique partnership between Virginia Tech and Roanoke County that strives to advance environmental stewardship, community engagement, and economic growth by providing a living, learning environment for the teaching and demonstration of sustainable practices in land management, agriculture, and economics. Adam works with Virginia Tech faculty members and graduate students to implement and maintain research projects and demonstration plots on the ground at CSC.
Adam is a native of Tazewell County Virginia, and earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies at Emory & Henry College, and a Masters of Agriculture at Oklahoma State University. He has worked as a farm intern for author Barbara Kingsolver and husband Steven Hopp on their 100+ acre farm in Meadowview, VA producing vegetables for restaurants, and tending to sheep, turkeys, and chickens . He also served two years in the Peace Corps as a Forestry Extension Agent in Mkushi, Zambia installing demonstration plots and leading workshops on conservation agriculture in an effort to increase food security and prevent deforestation. He worked with local community members and introduced sustainable agricultural practices for row crop production, incorporated agroforestry tree species into their production methods, established tree plantations, and led bio-intensive gardening workshops. While at Oklahoma State, Adam designed a beekeeping course for Guatemalan farmers, and worked with them to establish a beekeeping cooperative on the ground in Cuilapa. Before joining the ranks of Virginia Tech, Adam worked as a project coordinator in West Virginia for both the WV Farmers Market Association and the WV Food & Farm Coalition. There he designed and delivered agricultural workshops geared toward production for direct to consumer markets, as well as advocated for state policy change to support the state’s local food economy.
Adam is also an avid hiker. He completed the 2,100+ mile trek of the Appalachian Trail in 2009. In his free time, Adam works with his life partner Elizabeth, and hound dog Hank to produce vegetables, as well as raising meat and egg laying chickens for sale at local farmers markets and restaurants. When the day’s work is done, you’ll likely find Adam sipping on a local micro-brew, picking a folk or bluegrass tune on his guitar or mandolin.