DENVER — Kristin Kirkpatrick, a leader in promoting food literacy education in the United States, has been named executive director of Together We Grow. The group also announced T.W.G. will be based at the Denver campus of Colorado State University within the National Western Center, a major redevelopment initiative in Denver.
A consortium of more than 20 members, including agricultural commodities companies, educational institutions, government agencies and others, T.W.G. is focused on building a skilled, diverse and inclusive industry workforce.
Ms. Kirkpatrick will lead the T.W.G. Center for an Enhanced Workforce in Agriculture at C.S.U.
“Our industry has a unique challenge and opportunity to nourish the world, and diversity and inclusion are the proven keys to the success we need to address this challenge,” said Michael D’Ambrose, founder of the T.W.G. consortium and senior vice-president and chief human resources officer for Archer Daniels Midland Co. “Together We Grow gives us a platform to freely and openly share best practices across the industry and demonstrate the power of an aligned group committed to taking innovative industry-wide actions. The creation of T.W.G.’s Center for an Enhanced Workforce in Agriculture will help us to take these efforts to the next level, and we are excited that C.S.U. and Kristin have stepped in to lead the way forward.”
Most recently, Ms. Kirkpatrick headed the Colorado regional offices of Big Green, a national nonprofit that integrates food literacy education into the curricula of schools. She also has been an instructor at the Colorado School of Public Health at C.S.U. and was chief of wellness planning for Bellisimo Development Inc., a construction and development company based in Fort Collins. Ms. Kirkpatrick graduated from C.S.U. with a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science and from the University of Colorado with a mater’s degree in urban and regional planning.
“Kristin’s background in public health, policy advocacy, and community planning make her an exceptional candidate to lead this exciting new partnership,” Mr. D’Ambrose said. “She is passionate in her belief that agriculture is our future and creating more opportunities for more people in agriculture means a more secure future for all of us.”
Amy Parsons, an executive vice-chancellor of the C.S.U. system, said the College of Agricultural Sciences at the university and T.W.G. are both committed to enlarging the tent for the agricultural sector.
“We all share the same goal — to create awareness and opportunities for more people to do the important work of feeding our world,” Ms. Parsons said.
She said hosting the center will allow more students to pursue agricultural careers and will give Colorado State faculty the chance to connect with agribusinesses.
C.S.U. will fund Ms. Kirkpatrick’s salary and provide space for the headquarters, while T.W.G. will be responsible for operational funds for the center.
Work on the National Western Center will begin in 2020 with a 2022 target date for completion.
Ms. Kirkpatrick will participate in a panel discussion addressing issues surrounding the objective of creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture at the C.S.U. campus in Fort Collins Dec. 5-6.
“C.S.U. and Together We Grow share a strong commitment to expanding opportunities and attracting more people from all walks of life into the agricultural workforce,” said Anthony A. Frank, Ph.D., chancellor of the C.S.U. System. “We need a diverse, inclusive and well-prepared workforce to confront the complex challenges of global hunger and food insecurity. Through this partnership, we aim to help more people from diverse backgrounds see their own future as leaders in agriculture.”