Kristin Kirkpatrick: June message

Together We Grow members,

In my garden, the seeds we planted weeks ago have sprouted, growing every day, responding to the attention of my three children. Growing, unaware of the soul-level unrest that thrums across our country.

Growing, without thought to the pain and the suffering, and the lack of justice that continues to unravel our social fabric. Growing, without knowledge of the challenges that loom before us and appear increasingly inevitable every day we fail to act, threatening our very existence.

You are part of Together We Grow because you are committed to creating more inclusive ag education experiences, classrooms, and workplaces. You have elected to create new pathways of opportunity. You are here to transform our industry to be more reflective of the communities that we exist to serve. You are part of Together We Grow because you recognize that this work is messy and imperfect and hard, and that the progress we need to make within our industry and within our world will require us to begin anew, again and again, building off of what worked, and adapting to correct what didn’t. You are here with the hope that we can achieve something together collectively, something none of us can do on our own.

These past months have been uncertain and difficult while you lead your organizations through a period demanding constant adaptability and unending transformation. And now, we are each being called upon to dig deeper still. To deal not just with the acute and the pressing, but to truly dig into the sorrowful and messy wounds that have plagued our country for centuries. To face the pain that festers within our communities, our workplaces, our schools, and our non-profits. To acknowledge our role in perpetuating systems that cause this suffering. And to work together to forge a path to start to make it right.

As I watered our garden this morning with my four-year-old, I thought about the phrase that to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. I thought about the act of pressing small seeds into the soil, trusting that your daily effort will, at some point, yield nourishing results. It is not different, really, from what we are being called to do now. We are being called to make a daily effort to tend to one another in our families, our workplaces, our places of worship, our communities, and our civic organizations. We are being called to show up, to listen to the hurt and the needs of our communities, and to tend to those needs. To that end, we invite you to join us in our town hall, and virtual summer series that will culminate in our annual meeting at the end of August, so that we may continue to dig in on this work together.

I remain humbled to be engaged in this difficult, messy, and imperfect work of building a more inclusive future alongside each of you.

Ever onward,



This message was included in Together We Grow’s June 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.