Our organization has gone through a year of heavy transition. Throughout 2021, Friends of Family Farmers re-evaluated internal operations, including staff roles and policies, while also applying an equity lens to our organizational structure. During this time, our staff continued to do exemplary work. FoFF’s successes in the challenging 2021 legislative session, and growing our technical assistance and public education programming, indicate the FoFF team is equipped to run the organization and are capable of doing so in an innovative way. We are excited to announce that after eight months of strategizing and evaluation we have decided to implement a shared leadership model with three co-directors at the helm of the organization.
The collaborative power sharing between our Organizational Director, Administrative Director and Policy Director will help FoFF start this new chapter with measured, thoughtful, and strategic decision making that accounts for the advocacy work that FoFF was founded on, the supplemental program work we are so proud of, and the necessary internal structures that keep our organization strong so we can remain a reliable force in the local food movement. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and when presented with challenging organizational changes at the beginning of the year, our staff stepped up to pick up slack and keep our work on the path chartered by our strategic vision. This new leadership model acknowledges the work already being done within our organization and empowering the talented folks we have on board to continue to drive our organization forward. The need for organizations like ours has never been greater and we are thrilled to move forward with this new structure.
The role of Organizational Director will be filled by current Development Director and Oregon Pasture Network Program Manager Alice Morrison. This position will retain development responsibilities and be the main point of contact for our members and funding partners. Alice will also put her Masters of Nonprofit Management to use in assisting with board relations, facilitating strategic visioning and organizational development and managing partnerships in our valuable coalition work. Alice will begin this work now and transition out of the management role for the Oregon Pasture Network by the end of 2021.
The role of Administrative Director will be filled by current Oregon Farm Link Program Manager Natalie Danielson. Natalie will retain management responsibilities for Oregon Farm Link while reducing her Central Oregon Community Organizer responsibilities to make room for this new role. As a small organization, we do not require a full time administrator, but rather someone with the institutional knowledge, insight and skills to make sure we are working within our means and making strategic decisions. The Administrative Director will maintain financial and legal compliance for the organization, spearhead all internal policy setting, handle HR concerns, and make sure that FoFF operates at an appropriate capacity. This role will ensure that FoFF is focused on advancing our mission while taking care of our staff and ensuring a stable future for FoFF so we can continue to serve our community.
Although the role of Policy Director has existed at FoFF for many years, through the restructure and introduction of our lateral leadership model, this position has changed. This part time role, with room for growth, will direct policy priorities, and work with the Director Team to chart FoFF’s course and develop advocacy organizing capacity. We will be hiring for the Policy Director role in 2022. Amy Wong, our current Policy Director, will be leaving FoFF on November 5, 2021. Amy’s departure is driven by a desire for greater work life balance and a narrower policy focus. Amy is supportive of FoFF’s new leadership structure, which she believes is an empowering move. Although we are sad to see her go, we appreciate the things Amy accomplished while at FoFF and she will continue to be an ally.
Amy came to us in June of 2020 after working as Chief of Staff for Senator Jeff Golden. Amy’s knowledge of the legislative process, commitment to building a resilient regional food system while supporting Oregon’s agricultural communities, and her collaborative approach helped FoFF take action on our priorities and build strong coalition ties.
Thanks to Amy’s efforts and leadership, we were able to accomplish the following:
- Passing HB2785, which established a Grant Fund to increase Small Scale Meat Processing in Oregon.
- Blocking SB 1515, the Bovine Manure Tax Credit, saving Oregon taxpayers $15 million, which otherwise largely would have gone to Oregon’s biggest factory farm, owned by an out-of-state multi-millionaire.
- Helped pass more funding for Double Up Food Bucks, the win-win farmers market SNAP matching program, which provides increased access to healthy food for low-income Oregonians, while supporting Oregon family farms in the state.
- Brought Small Producer Perspectives to the State Meat Inspection Program, which was approved by the legislature in 2020 and will provide a state run counterpart to the USDA inspection program, expanding meat processing infrastructure and options in Oregon.
- Continued to educate legislators on the economic, environmental, and health benefits of growing Oregon’s organic industry.
We are grateful for Amy’s service with FoFF (which started over ten years ago as a volunteer!) and she will continue to support our Director Team by advising on the transition process to help set up our next Policy Director for success. She is excited to see FoFF moving in a progressive direction and wants to welcome a new leader to move forward with the organizational model she helped build.
Amy will continue to serve on the Board of the Oregon Organic Coalition, and as an advisor to Cultivate Oregon, both of which will allow her to pursue seed policy work. We are grateful Amy will also keep FoFF apprised of policy opportunities through these channels.
We wish Amy all the best in her future endeavors and we are so grateful to have advocates like her in the food system. Amy will continue to check her FoFF email intermittently until November 5th. Please join us in warm sendoff and reach out to the Director Team or Board with any questions about the new leadership structure.
Stay tuned for more information and the job listing for a new policy position coming at the beginning of November!