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A Letter from Lauren

Dear Food Roots Supporters, Partners and Friends,

I want to share the news with you that I will be moving on from my role as Executive Director of Food Roots, with my last day being June 30, 2023. You can read a message from our board of directors with more details about the transition here.

This is a bittersweet decision that I have spent much time and consideration in making. It has been such a meaningful experience, from my early days working side by side with our founder and our volunteer board of directors, to the fast paced and busy program growth during more recent years with an amazing crew of staff and board. I feel truly blessed to have shared this time and this work with you.


I was brought to Food Roots and to the Tillamook community over twelve years ago by the organization's late founder, Shelly Bowe, who quickly became my mentor in community food systems work and a dear family friend. Her food systems vision and values that created Food Roots have been a guidepost for me during these past eight years and I will always be grateful to Shelly for her impact in my life and in this special community.


I am immensely proud of Food Roots’ accomplishments and of my teammates with whom I have had the absolute privilege of working with over these years. Together, Food Roots has designed and delivered innovative and scalable community food systems programming including farm to school youth education, food equity and wealth building programs, and collaborations with strategic partnerships that have resulted in many impacts for our rural north coast community. Through these programs, we have brought over $645,000 in business startup funding directly to our community’s beginning food entrepreneurs; facilitated over half a million dollars in sales for small-scale farmers/food producers; increased access to this nutritious locally grown food for food insecure households by over 2000%; and have connected 1,000 Tillamook County students annually with opportunities to cultivate school-based gardens, taste local food and become proud of the amazing people who produce this food!

Food Roots has also strengthened its organizational capacity; more than doubling our annual operating budget and tripling our number of team members. We have thoughtfully strengthened Food Roots’ sustainability as a non-profit organization through human resource and administrative developments, new funding streams including state and federal grants, steady donor contributions, and social enterprise revenue through our food hub marketplace. During this time, Food Roots has also grown as an employer within this community, nourishing a workplace culture that values whole people and the many facets of daily life.


I will be working closely with Food Roots’ board and staff to support a smooth transition. I am confident that Food Roots' highly capable team of staff and board members will carry the organization into a new chapter of success.


As for what’s next for me, I will be enjoying a period of rest, spending time with my family and allowing space to be creative in new ways. I will also be making time for reflection to determine how and where I want to focus my energies in this next chapter. I hope that we will have the opportunity to collaborate together again in the future.


With gratitude in all we have accomplished together,


Lauren

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