Dear Friend of NOFA-VT,
I am writing to let you all know that I am retiring from my role as Executive Director in April 2019. When I started working at NOFA, I was 26, there was a retiring board of directors and I was handed the organization in a brown milk crate containing the financial report and hand-written membership list, and a file cabinet with historical files. Now, 31 years later, we have 20 full-time staff, an electronic data-base, a strong board and a strong voice. And I still have that brown milk crate.
When I recently reflected on why I have been inspired by the job for so long, it all boils down to my respect for organic farmers who nurture the land and work to grow good food for people near and far. When I started working at NOFA, I was hired as an organic certification inspector and I met the pioneering organic farmers. There is not a more inspiring bunch of farmers! I have been driven by wanting to provide organizational support for organic farms to thrive, and to increase access to local, organic food for all Vermonters. Now, many of those same pioneering farmers are also working on farm succession, and it feels fitting for me to transition at the same time. In fact, I am currently getting accredited to be an independent organic inspector, so I am coming full circle!
The predominant reason I have chosen to retire at this time is that I have stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, and as my disease progresses, it is time to give my time and energy to my health. I will always be a big fan of NOFA-VT and will be cheering from the sidelines. My role as Executive Director has defined my career and has been the center of my work-life balance. My kids grew up helping out at events and my husband and mother put on more envelope labels than you can even imagine. I am so appreciative of the richness of this career. I was recently inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award. This is the first time an organic representative has been honored, and I hope it opens the doors for long-standing organic farmers to be recognized.
A terrific search committee has been appointed and the enclosed letter from Board Chair, Andrew Knafel, has more details about that process. I am honored by their commitment to NOFA-VT to serve as the Search Committee to find my replacement.
Please feel free to contact me; there is nothing I love talking more about than NOFA-VT!
All my best,