Lee Warren named new executive director of Organic Growers School
The Organic Growers School announces the appointment of Lee Warren as its new Executive Director. Organic Growers School works to advance organic agriculture and sustainable living in the Southern Appalachian region by gathering people to teach, learn, and celebrate together.
Organic Growers School as the next Executive Director,” Warren said. “The organization’s vision of a mutually supportive network of thriving communities and prosperous farmers throughout our region is a vision close to my heart and the dedication and passion on the part of the board, staff, and participants is an inspiring climate to step into. While there are certainly challenges for non-profits in today’s economic climate, I believe we will be able to reach our goals of expanding programming to more organic growers, from container gardeners to farmers, because Organic Growers School fills a much-needed educational niche and enjoys tremendous support in the local community. I feel privileged to have the chance to work on such an timely and important endeavor.”
Lee Warren has been homesteading and farming in the region for more than 15 years. She is the co-founder, in 2004, and manager of Imani Farm, an organic, cooperative farm focused on pastured egg production. She held the position as Program Coordinator for the Black Mountain-based Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference for eight years and Promotions and Marketing Coordinator for this and other local companies. She is also the co-founder of Village Terraces CoHousing Neighborhood at Earthaven Ecovillage, a 320-acre permaculture community in the Appalachian mountains of Western NC.
The new Executive Director replaces Meredith McKissick who held the position as Director and then Executive Director for more than 10 years. McKissick, who, along with her husband Casey, runs Foothill Farm & Butchery, which opened an on-site butchery and deli in October of last year on State Street in Black Mountain. The shop serves retail and wholesale customers throughout Western North Carolina with much of the meat coming from the McKissick’s own farm, supplemented by other local farms. McKissick will stay on with the Organic Growers School as Spring Conference Coordinator for the 2014 Spring Conference, taking place on March 8 & 9.
“We are very grateful to outgoing Executive Director Meredith McKissick for her sizable contribution to the regional sustainable agriculture movement, both through her own personal commitments to farming as well as to her service as our Executive Director and Spring Conference Coordinator for so many years,” says Ruth Gonzalez, Board President of Organic Growers School. “We’ve loved working with Meredith and wish her well with her new business.”
Lee Warren, who took up the position on December 30, 2013, is the first full-time Executive Director for the organization. The organization’s strategic plan includes an expansion of programming in an effort to educate, inspire, and support people to farm, garden, and live organically.