Friday, November 11, 2011

California FarmLink appoints Reggie Knox as new Executive Director

California FarmLink is pleased to announce that Reggie Knox, longtime farm program leader, has been promoted to serve as Executive Director. Knox will lead the organization into its twelfth year of providing unique business, land access, and financing services to small- and mid-scale farmers.

“These are challenging and exciting times for California FarmLink,” says Knox. “Key priorities are expanding our ability to provide capital through our new independent loan fund to farmers who typically can’t obtain financing and, leading a training program for organizations in eight U.S. states to enable them to create matched savings programs for beginning farmers.” Also high on Knox’s list of priorities is fundraising, as the organization strives to continue to help farmers succeed and thrive in a field laden with risk even in a stable economy.

Knox, who has spent the past few weeks transitioning from the position of Director of Field Operations into his new role, has been with FarmLink for seven years, assisting hundreds of beginning farmers and ranchers to access land and financing and build sustainable businesses. His distinguished 23-year career in farmer education and advocacy includes stints with Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and CA Certified Organic Farmers.

His accomplishments include running the Lighthouse Farm Network ­– where farmers gathered monthly in 14 California counties to share information; helping to develop national organic production standards; and consulting in rural economic development in Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

This promotion, with the support of the entire board, is a natural evolution for FarmLink, and for Knox. Known for his strengths as an organizer, team builder, program developer, and farm business consultant, he brings a high level of expertise in a wide variety of service areas, including farm leases, land transactions, organic production and certification, finance, farmland protection, resource conservation, and economic options for farmers.

“Reggie has the right combination of skills and experience to take California FarmLink forward,” says Board member and social entrepreneur Jeffrey Westman, who has been assisting with the transition. “I’m honored and excited to be part of CFL's evolution into a stronger, more diversified organization. I look forward to working closely with Reggie and the rest of the FarmLink team, helping to support family farming and the conservation of farmland in California.” Westman will continue to work closely with Knox, and is spearheading a multi-faceted fundraising campaign that will include reaching out to businesses and foundations, and some surprise events showcasing California’s most intriguing food, wine, and visual arts talent.

The board and staff are grateful to Board Chairman Brett Melone, who served for the past two months as Interim Executive Director.

For more information, contact Reggie Knox at 831/425-0303 or Jeffrey Westman at 707/477-5367,