As I settle into this position, a few of my top priorities have become clear:
(1) Continue our commitment to being an inclusive and equitable organization while focusing on our mission to train small-scale farmers in order to build sustainable local food systems. This commitment is critical, and it will take time. Thanks to the guidance we receive from community members and organizations, we are developing strategies that are specific, realistic, and measurable. We will continue to be transparent about our plans and hold ourselves accountable to this important work.
(2) Expand the reach of our programs by offering exciting, unique, and high quality learning opportunities for new and more experienced farmers. Thanks to our skilled farmer-educators, we have a wide array of programs and events scheduled for 2016 including the popular Draft Animal Practicum and two new technical courses on Managing for Better Soils and Grazing & Pasture Management. Also to come in 2016, a workshop on Scything and Appropriate Technology (stay tuned!…)
(3) Create a more financially stable organization by diversifying our funding sources. I am currently creating a Business Sponsorship Program that will provide opportunities for like-minded businesses and their employees to get involved in Groundswell’s work to foster an equitable and just food system.
Of all the work I do, my best days are those in which I get to meet and learn from Groundswell supporters. I welcome your ideas, input and feedback – on my work as the Director, or on the work of Groundswell as an organization. I encourage you to email or call me at any time. Together, we will continue building an equitable and sustainable food system that supports our farmers, our land and our community.