A letter from FairShare’s outgoing Executive Director, Kiera Mulvey:
This December, I’ll be stepping down from my position as Executive Director at FairShare. It’s hard to believe that it has already been five years, and though five years is a drop in the bucket in the long history of MERF/MACSAC/FairShare, it has been an exciting, challenging, and inspiring time to lead this dynamic organization.
I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some of the most innovative, passionate, and dedicated farmers, farm members, staff, and partner organizations in the country (if not the world!). Together we’ve seen incredible growth in the CSA movement as coalition farms increased shares available from less than 5,000 in 2008 to nearly 10,000 in 2013. Since 2008, FairShare farms have increased acreage in production from 550 to 1,200 and gross farm sales are up by $2.5 million, resulting in long term farm viability and land dedicated to growing good food for our neighbors here in Wisconsin. That’s an important vote of confidence from our eater community.
Organizationally, our budget has tripled since 2008, drawing on community resources and support, cookbook sales, and project grants. Each year, we find creative ways to squeeze more desks into our space at 303 S. Paterson. Our staff has quadrupled to better serve our community of growers, to spend more time hitting the pavement in support of CSA, and to develop creative events and strategies to ensure that the Partner Shares Program continues to expand. I am continually awed by the tremendous talent and dedication of my staff, farm, volunteer and community colleagues.
FairShare’s new Executive Director will take the helm at a time when the organization is well positioned to build on our positive momentum. The exponential success of our cornerstone events Bike the Barns and the CSA Open House, our name change, and the achievement of formal 501c3 status last year, as well as this spring’s launch of our much anticipated second cookbook, Farm-Fresh and Fast, have created incredible momentum for positive growth.
FairShare’s next leader will continue to expand new rural outreach initiatives that work with farmers in their home communities to grow CSA markets. In this time of transition it is comforting to know that our vibrant and welcoming community will support that person in the same way that you have supported me as I got to know Wisconsin’s agricultural landscape and had the opportunity to learn so much from all of you. There is a link to the job posting and application instructions below.
My own road points east to be closer to my roots and the rocky soils of the East Coast to ensure that our newest family member knows the warmth of family and the salt spray of the Atlantic Ocean. Our actual destination is not yet known and will depend on finding the right mix of work, land, and lifestyle. Don’t hesitate to send along your ideas; we’re job & community hunting!
I am so grateful for the open arms and guidance shown by so many of you over the years. Your patience, wisdom, and expertise has made all the difference as I learned the ropes and looked to find my place in this dynamic, inspiring community of farmers and eaters. I am eager to follow FairShare’s many, many achievements and milestones in the coming years, and I look forward to watching the organization grow.