Messages For MOFGA Supporters From Executive Director Russell Libby And Board President Barbara Damrosch
October 16, 2012
After 17 plus years as MOFGA's Executive Director, it feels like the right time to be moving to new challenges in my life. I’m excited about the possibilities of MOFGA's newly-created Senior Policy Advisor position, and honored that MOFGA's has offered me a chance to continue working in this role. Therefore, I am resigning as Executive Director, effective with close of business on Friday, November 2, 2012.
I’m not sure how many of you know that I was a finalist for the Executive Director position once before, about 30 years ago. The interview was fun, I made some connections that have lasted all the way to the present -- and luckily, I wasn’t offered the job! That led to joining the Board in the fall of 1983, serving on the Executive Committee and other committees for a decade plus. When the position opened again, in 1995, I was eager to step forward, and I think it has been a good match for both me and for the organization.
This summer, I did an exercise where I looked at past accomplishments, and where I thought the organization is going in the future, and I have to say that the piece I’m proudest of is that we have been able to bring together a highly competent staff who are helping to change Maine agriculture, day by day. We have infrastructure that we could only dream about 30 years ago -- the Common Ground Education Center -- which is so full of possibilities that it can, and will, shape much of what we are doing in the future. But we also have brought literally thousands of people into the organization, trained many new farmers, and continued to push on a wide range of policy initiatives.
That is far beyond the work of any one person. It is the result of all of us, and hundreds more, working together. As MOFGA continues to lead in the creation of a more local, more organic food system in Maine and beyond, that is the legacy we will all leave.
I also want to say how fortunate we are to have Heather Spalding ready, and willing, to step forward as Interim Executive Director. Heather is a person who gets things done, and does them right. My years at MOFGA would not have been nearly as productive, or as fun, without the chance to work side-by-side with her for the past 15 years.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve all of you, through the years and moving forward.
From Barbara Damrosch On Behalf Of MOFGA's Board Of Directors
For as long as I’ve been involved with MOFGA, Russell has been its head, heart and soul, and it is with deep gratitude for these years of leadership that the Board embraces his new role. We are thankful that he is willing to continue to lend his wisdom to all our endeavors.
Our organization has grown a great deal under Russell’s care, and its influence has spread far beyond the borders of Maine. His work on food policy has given the organic farmers and gardeners of our state a voice in Washington, and on the national stage in general. Everybody knows about our Common Ground Country Fair, of course, but increasingly our actions, projects and policies, year-round, are watched and imitated as well. To young people, our hope for the future, Maine has become known as a great place to farm.
In anticipation of stepping back a few paces, Russell began to smooth the transition some time ago, shifting certain responsibilities and making several outstanding hires. He guided some land acquisitions that eased our immediate growing pains, while at the same time keeping us on a firm financial footing. We are overjoyed that he will continue to steer our policy work, and that he will be available to offer us the sound advice, on matters large and small, that we have all so appreciated, for so long. Ask Russell a question and you will always get a sage and candid answer.
Russell, hats off and three cheers to you!
President of the Board
The Maine Organic Farmers And Gardeners Association