The Board of Directors for Gorge Grown Food Network (GGFN) announces that program staff Todd Dierker and Michelle McGrath have been selected to serve together as the new co-directors of the organization, effective immediately.
The board extensively evaluated the leadership needs of the organization, including consulting with close community partners, and concluded confidently that Dierker and McGrath will make a strong leadership team.
The board commented in a public letter, "We have had the pleasure of watching Todd and Michelle develop a partnership and working style over the past year and a half. We are excited to watch that teamwork continue to flourish as they work together to achieve the mission of our organization."
Dierker joined GGFN in 2006 as a steering committee member. He quickly began managing the Gorge Grown Farmers' Market, and he has overseen the tremendous growth and success of that market since.
In early 2011, he was promoted to programs manager because of his evolving leadership in conducting Gorge Grown programs. He has developed and negotiated key partnerships for the organization, and he will continue to serve as a partner liaison for GGFN in his new role.
McGrath joined GGFN in February of 2011 as outreach manager. Her primary position was to develop and oversee working groups for farmers through GGFN's USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grant (BFRDP). She also oversaw Gorge Grown's communications, volunteer management, farmer education, and event management. She managed the organization's grants during periods of transition, and she expanded her programmatic role beyond BFRDP.
She will continue to oversee BFRDP and other programs, to support community relationships, and to develop a strong volunteer base.
Dierker and McGrath are hosting a community gathering and public forum at Springhouse Cellar in Hood River on Sept. 19. In addition to handing out the first ever "Local Food Hero" community awards, this gathering will be a chance to learn more about where Gorge Grown is headed in 2013 and beyond.
Gorge Grown Food Network is a non-profit that was established six years ago to promote and support local food in the Columbia River Gorge.