Kristin Kirkpatrick: December message

Together We Grow members,

Somehow this year is already coming to an end, and this is our final newsletter of 2020. And what a year it has been! As I am reflecting on the challenges we have faced and the ways that we have responded, I sit here drinking my coffee, pecking at my keyboard, stewing in awe at your fortitude and adaptability. I am heartened by our collective will to remain undaunted and to be stewards of our own resilience.

To say this year has been hard is an understatement. For me, personally, it’s been a wild time to join the effort leading an emerging organization. The start-up, forming stage of an organization is always a period that is challenging and messy. Add a pandemic, contentious politics, a global economic crisis, a handful of natural disasters, and a cresting demand to rewrite our social contract with one another and to reach for that more just and equitable world we all want to see, and well, it’s been one heck of a way to start.

But, as I think about the progress we have made and the work ahead of us we have committed to, I am energized. We have come together to tackle some tricky issues, and I am so hopeful for the impact we will create within our organizations and the industry at large in 2021. Together We Grow’s mission is more critical now than it ever has been. And so, as we all look forward to turning the page into a new year, I want to close out this one with gratitude.

One thing I am grateful for is our new look! You’ll note our new logo at the top of this newsletter. My colleague, Jen Smith, at the CSU System created our new logo, which she affectionately refers to as “cornigami.” Our bold, modern look is inspired by an aerial view of agriculture fields, plant growth, and the ancient symbol for fertility. Look for a full rebrand of our communications structure in 2021.

I am also thankful for Together We Grow’s board — and want to thank Deborah Borg and Melissa Harper, in particular, for stepping up to lead us forward this year. I am so thankful for Chancellor Tony Frank at the Colorado State University System — another visionary who is building the world anew — and the incredible CSUS team that has embraced Together We Grow and dedicated their time to our success, including Jenny Frank who is the magic maker behind these newsletters. I am grateful for Tiana Kennedy, Daiana Endruweit, Wanda Jackson, Ebony Webber, Dr. Pamala Morris, Dr. Quentin Tyler, Philomena Satre, and Demetha Sanders for stepping up to co-chair our workgroups so that we can move our industry forward and create a sense of belonging for all identities in agriculture. I am thankful for Kemba Marshall, Mark Stewart, Zach Wheatley, Sam Hotshouser, and Janelle Duray for stepping up as champions for subcommittees. And, of course, I want to thank Secretary Tom Vilsack and Mike D’Ambrose for dreaming up this effort and delivering us to where we are today. And to each of our members, thank you for lending us your time and your talent, for sharing your expertise, for making connections, and for traveling this journey together.

Here’s to 2021!



This message was included in Together We Grow’s December newsletter. Subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, Executive Director, Together We Grow

Kristin Kirkpatrick is the Executive Director for Together We Grow and the Center for an Enhanced Workforce in Agribusiness, located at Colorado State University. In this role, Kristin works alongside a consortium of many of the world’s largest agribusiness interests, including members of industry, non-governmental organizations, higher education, and government institutions. Together We Grow is focused on building a skilled, diverse, and inclusive agricultural workforce that can power the innovation needed to feed the future.   

Kristin has always had a passion for systems change that creates more equitable opportunities and has done this work through the lenses of public health, policy advocacy, and community development. Most recently, she helped lead Kimbal Musk’s national nonprofit Big Green, which integrates food literacy education into school curriculums across the country.

Kristin has been an instructor with the Colorado School of Public Health at CSU and served as Chief of Wellness Planning for Bellisimo Development Inc., helping lead the master planning, design, and actualization of the award-winning Bucking Horse and landmark Jessup Farm projects in Fort Collins, Colo. She earned a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science from CSU and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Colorado.