Kristin Kirkpatrick: March message

I so enjoyed listening to Dr. Elizabeth Parks last month as she discussed the art and science of ethical, sustainable listening — and the ways that we often miss one another. Think about how much time each of us has spent learning to communicate our message, our point of view. To be persuasive. I doubt many of us have spent nearly as much time leaning in on how to listen as well as we speak.

For one thing, there is so much noise. It really resonated as Dr. Parks talked about the noise in our lives that prevents us from truly listening. As I write this, my 5-year-old has awoken early and is sitting next to me. He’s thirsty, he’s hungry, and he wants to tell me about how cute penguins are. He’s experiencing physiological noise (he’s ready for breakfast), and I’m experiencing physical noise as he continually interrupts my thoughts — what if penguins and rabbits had a party together!?

But it’s not just me on this particular mooring. It’s our world. It’s our unending inboxes. A polarized 24-hour news cycle. It’s the worry from the numerous stressors we still face as a global population. As we continue to look at the alarming data about women in the workplace. About the toll this pandemic has taken on people of color. As we continue to operate in crisis mode, even while we look for signs of hope.

Across Together We Grow’s membership, each of us has been doing a lot of listening this past year. With our employees. Our students. Our coworkers. We’re seeking to understand how this past year, these past 400 years, have impacted each of us in different ways. We are seeking to understand one another — to truly listen — so that we can weave our narratives together to create a shared future.

Ever onward,



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