Lucinda Winter and Julie Allen (Lake Superior Chapter) at the 2021 Harvest Festival
Today marks one week since I started in my role as your new executive director, and what a week it’s been! I’ve begun getting to know SFA staff and partners, and have spent lots of time both virtually and in person with current ED Theresa Keaveny. I also had the opportunity to attend two excellent chapter events — a Climate Land Leaders conference at Sharing our Roots Farm in Northfield and Lake Superior SFA Chapter’s Harvest Fest in Duluth. Both events were fun, informative and inspiring, and a great opportunity to begin making connections with SFA chapter leaders, partners and members.
Many of you may be wondering what drew a former Executive Director for the nonprofit Minnesota Film and TV to seek a leadership role in sustainable farming. Fair question.
My husband grew up in Blue Earth and still has family there. Over the years we’ve seen firsthand a range of rural community challenges. Past video work with Associated Milk Producers, Universal Cooperatives (remember them?) and other agricultural clients took me to farms and processing facilities around the state. And as a foodie, I have always been a huge proponent of supporting local growers. I’d be embarrassed to tell you how old my Wedge Community Co-op membership card is.
My path to this organization was forged by video and virtual events assignments I produced during COVID for the Forever Green Initiative, the Plant Protein Innovation Center and for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture – MISA. Meeting with farmers, researchers and supply chain professionals whose life’s work is focused on regenerative agriculture sparked a deep interest in applying my skills and experience to supporting the success of their efforts.
My short-term plan is to take full advantage of the time I have with Theresa to learn the ropes of running this complex organization and to meet with the many funders, supporters, chapter leaders and funders with whom SFA enjoys solid relationships. I’m just beginning to realize the breadth of SFA’s work and I’m excited to learn more, but I’m realistic too — it’s like peeling an onion and will take a while.
I’m looking forward to meeting many of you in the coming months at SFA events and chapter annual meetings. Please reach out to me at email@example.com if you’d like to connect directly.
This column was originally published in the September 15, 2021 edition of Connect. Lucinda began working with SFA on September 7. You can read the official announcement of her hiring on our website.