Kristin Kirkpatrick: September message

Together We Grow Members,

This time of year always feels full of possibility to me. A time to recommit to the goals we have before us. As I have talked with many of you over these past weeks, I can feel that back-to-school energy taking over our households and communities, even though the logistics are certainly different this year than they have been in years past.

I am also brimming with the promise of the potential impact driven by our collective commitment to build a more inclusive agriculture industry. This year’s annual meeting for Together We Grow, which was hosted in late-August, was powerful, moving, and inspiring.

I appreciated each and every one of our speakers this year. If you were unable to join us, here are a few highlights. We heard from Juan Luciano, CEO of ADM, that the time for excuses has passed. We heard personal stories from an amazing panel on race in agriculture led by Together We Grow Board Member Melissa Harper. We heard from Dr. Shannon Archibeque-Engle who presented what 70 years of research has taught us about building more inclusive cultures. “Pick a strategy,” she said as she challenged us to get to work. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky shared his thoughts on the future of the country’s food and agriculture workforce.

In our breakout sessions we launched four new workgroups, seeking to advance racial equity within our organizations and our industry at large. These workgroups are focused on inclusion in the corporate setting, inclusive excellence in higher education, pathways into careers in agriculture, and storytelling to lift up this industry and the people who work within it. You can learn more about each workgroup below, and get in touch if you’d like to join us in creating a more inclusive ag industry.

I know that the energy thrumming in this time of year is created partially because we are all running on full steam. Your willingness to show up and work with us is a testament to your dedication – to your employees, to your students, to your colleagues. It is a testament to you! And to the legacy you are creating within your organizations and the industry at large.

And so, as I look to the work laid out before us with enthusiasm, what I want to leave you with is my gratitude. Thank you for your willingness to show up. To roll up your sleeves. To listen. To engage. To recognize that it’s hard and it’s messy, and to commit to doing the work anyway. For all of that and much more, I thank you.

Let’s go.



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