Kristin Kirkpatrick: October message

Together We Grow members,

The fire to the west of my home in Fort Collins continues to ravage the mountainous playground that we all love, the places where we connect with something bigger than ourselves, where we find peace and respite. The winds come and go, occasionally filling the air in our city with smoke, a dusting of ashes coating the last holdouts in my garden and the places where my children play.

We are safe, where we live, the impact to our lives only ancillary. We offer to take in a pet, drop off a meal, send love and thoughts and prayers to those being evacuated. My colleagues reshuffle workloads, take in cattle and horses. We extend grace to deadlines and to-do lists. We offer our thanks to those on the front lines, putting their lives at risk to battle an ever-growing blaze.

But isn’t this what we have all been doing in some way, shape, or form these past seven months? In our workplaces and communities. In our homes and schools. We have been assessing how we show up. How we lighten the load. How we recognize the burdens that we are carrying in disproportionate ways. How we hold the line and do our part to keep the things that threaten us — fires, hurricanes, infectious disease, racism — from destroying us, from taking yet another life. We have been taking a long hard look at the damage and asking how we rebuild from here. We have been rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. Seeking to not only forge ahead, but to do so in a way that makes us all stronger. Better. Connected. Seen. Valued.

This work is hard. It is humbling. It is messy. It is exhausting.

But there you are. You. I see you. You have been showing up. Going above and beyond. Innovating and trying new things. Stretching yourself and your organizations to new heights. You’ve been having the hard conversations, sitting in the discomfort. You are on the front lines leading our transformation. Right now it feels as if we are all in the middle of the fire — the heat is on, and it is intense. But we are sowing seeds in the midst of the ashes. Those seeds will open and take root, not in spite of, but in direct response to the heat of the threats that we face. I thank you for your commitment and fortitude. We are unfurling like the pinecone in a fire, planting the seeds for the forest of tomorrow, and I continue to feel so honored to be doing this work alongside you.
Be well,



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