Wes King, Executive Director
Dear friends, colleagues and allies:
I have some exciting but somewhat emotional news to share. At the end of the year I will be leaving Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) and moving to Washington, DC; where on January 4th I will be starting a new position with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition as a Policy Specialist working on Marketing, Food Systems and Rural Development issues.
Fortunately, I am leaving ISA in good hands. Starting in December, Lindsay Record, currently serving as Program Director for ISA, will be returning to full-time work as our Executive Director (E.D.). Lindsay has been with ISA for almost 10 years, longer than anyone on staff, and previously served as E.D. for 4 years before stepping down to focus on raising her young daughter and son, at which point I stepped into the E.D. position. She is, and remains, one of the most capable and committed people that I know. Lindsay studied Policy Advocacy and Social Justice at the School for International Training and received a B.A. from Arizona State University with concentrations in Anthropology and Sociology. Throughout her studies, she kept her connection to the land by working on farms in Arizona, Illinois and New Hampshire, and she continues to live out her mission to promote local food and sustainable farming every single day- experimenting with food preservation, raising and pressing apples for cider, and working with her husband and two children to grow and diversify their small family farm. Lindsay is now in a position in her personal life in which she is ready to return to the role of Executive Director. Her commitment to building Illinois Stewardship Alliance, our programs, partnerships, and connections over the last decade has been invaluable, and I am confident that with her experience and leadership ISA will continue to grow.
In addition, to carry on with ISA’s policy advocacy work, we hired a new Policy Associate named Rebecca Osland. Rebecca started work at ISA on October 12. I will be spending the month or so training her and transitioning her into the position. Rebecca is a past ISA board of directors member and Rebecca previously worked as a solo attorney, advising local foods businesses and organizations and giving presentations on farm legal issues. Prior to, and throughout, her service on the board, she provided pro bono legal analysis and legislative drafting on several ISA policy matters. Rebecca completed a B.A. in political science at the University of Chicago, followed by an LL.M. in tax law and J.D. at Northwestern University.
While her interest in food and farming began on the consumer side, she has increasingly sought hands-on experience producing food—from home gardening to community gardening, and, recently, working part-time on an organic vegetable farm. Her hobbies also include backpacking, fermentation, and making herbal remedies. Rebecca feels that her mission is to nurture personal and community empowerment, and she views local foods—and, more broadly, local resource stewardship and economic self-determination—as essential to a more just, healthy, loving, sustainable, democratic society.
It has been a pleasure working with all of you to promote local food systems and sustainable agriculture over the last 6 years. It was a hard decision for me to leave Illinois, my home, and Illinois Stewardship Alliance, which has been like a second family for me; but I take solace in knowing that we have a great team in place to continue on with the important work of ISA and just as importantly I am happy that through my job in DC I will be able to still work with some of you and continue to fight for family farms, local food, and sustainable agriculture. If you would like to stay in touch you will be able to reach me at my ISA email until December 11th, afterwards I can be reached at my personal email firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook, on twitter @WAKing14 or you can follow me on Instagram @DIY_Foodie.
Illinois is my home and my middle name is Abraham, so it is only fitting that I end with a Lincoln quote/excerpt from his 1861 farewell address when he left Springfield, Illinois, to start his inaugural journey for Washington, D.C:
“My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century… I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return… Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”