When asked how I feel about my new position at Ag Innovations my response has been, “Honored, daunted, excited!” Joseph has been a mentor, friend, and teammate for these last three years, and it is an honor to be taking up the plow in his stead, so he can – literally – move further afield.

I am a cultivator; my job is to grow the relationships and broad insight that can lead all of us to a more abundant future. This year, we will be building from the rich legacy of Ag Innovations, and germinating further areas of growth as we bring on new leadership (updated: our new Co-Executive Director joined in May 2018) and continue to strengthen our team (meet our new Senior Facilitator and long-time collaborator Lisa Murgatroyd).

It been remarkable to see the California Water Action Collaborative grow. Known as CWAC, this is a group of NGOs and major Corporations who are fostering innovation in water stewardship in CA. In the last several months, CWAC has added 8 new members, is working on 8 projects, and is working on goals to define their impact, or “export the hope” of collaboration. Every time I work with this group, I am inspired by the intelligence and passion that they bring to the challenge of scaling water stewardship.

We continue to support the long-standing California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment’s efforts to build a better future for California. This year, they are focused on identifying collective action to further the viability of agriculture, its communities, and the working lands they steward. Last year, it was intensely gratifying to see them achieve higher ground in a concrete set of recommendations for the 2018 Farm Bill directed to our state representatives. Together, they span agricultural and environmental interests and advocate for innovation and collaboration.

We are also launching a community resilience pilot with the Sonoma County Water Agency in the Lake Sonoma watershed, funded by a recent grant from PG&E’s Resilient Communities Better Together program. Through a series of Innovation Labs,  we will bring community members together to collaborate on recommendations for better working with a fire-adaptive landscape. It is a powerful moment to contribute to a better future here in our fire-weary home of Sonoma County.

Ag Innovations has a special role in the world of agricultural and natural resource issues. As a 501c3 committed to the public interest, we enhance democracy and the best possible decisions through artfully ensuring a creative and productive process, working from our sweet spot of facilitation, our impact areas, and the communities we treasure. We don’t have the answers – but we have the questions, and we bring together groups who build the higher ground that all of us need to be able to reach for those answers.

Joseph said at a recent CRAE meeting, we live in an age of permanent limits. And as we all know, necessity is the mother of invention. I am deeply, urgently committed to midwifing that new future through facilitating collaborative leadership and systems understanding.

Please be in touch; I look forward to hearing from you!

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