The Southern SAWG Board of Directors has announced the hiring of Steve Muntz of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, as the Executive Director of the organization effective April 1, 2014.
Board President Stephan Walker points to Steve's 30 plus years of working with organizations and producers in the Southern Region as strengths he brings to the position. In a recent announcement, Walker invites all of our friends/members and partner organizations to join us in extending a warm-hearted welcome to Steve.
Muntz takes over from Jim Lukens who is retiring to the farm after holding the Executive Director position for six of Southern SAWG's twenty-three years.
Dear Sustainable Agriculture Colleagues:
I have enjoyed serving as Southern SAWG's Executive Director for the past six years, and now I am looking forward to more time on the farm and less time at the computer. I am leaving the Executive Director position, and, weather permitting, on April 1st I will
be fixing fence instead of sitting behind a desk.
I am excited that Steve Muntz is stepping into the Executive Director role, bringing skills and experience that will allow him to successfully guide the Southern SAWG team over the coming years. The economic, social, and political environments for this work continue to change. In recent years the Southern region has experienced tremendous growth in the number and strength of organizations working toward a sustainable farm and food system. I am confident that Steve and Southern SAWG's capable and experienced staff, with guidance and support from the Board of Directors, will continue to shape programs and the annual conference to encourage and strengthen that growth, and to increase the effectiveness of the collective effort in the region.
I have appreciated the opportunity to work within the sustainable farm and food movement as a Southern SAWG employee. I look forward to continuing to work within the movement, although from a position that more frequently involves a tractor seat.
Dear Friends of Southern SAWG,
I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to serve as the new Executive Director of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Southern SAWG has been an important part of my life for most of the last two decades. As a small farmer, I have been inspired and empowered by the work of Southern SAWG. The annual conference always re-energizes me to try out new approaches on the farm and to encourage other farmers I work with to do the same. It is an amazing opportunity to stretch and sharpen my thinking by interacting with so many great farmers and organizations working to build a better food and farming future. While I am less familiar with Southern SAWG's other programmatic activity, outside of the conference, I am learning quickly about the exceptional efforts that are underway and being planned.
My hat is off to Jim Lukens and his team for the great work they have been doing! As I take my turn in the leadership of the organization I hope to build on the foundation they have laid while listening to our board and partner organizations as we look to the future. Building a sustainable food and farming system is a very expansive mission and I believe that Southern SAWG needs to look closely at our leadership role for this goal in the South. Are we doing what is most needed by our other partners to foster the movement? How can we better coordinate, communicate and cooperate to gain momentum? Resources for our work are very tight these days. How can we find the resources needed to do this work without competing with our closest allies?
I have a great deal to learn as I begin my new work. Communication with our partner organizations and farmers will be a critical part of my learning. I look forward to visiting with many of you over the next several months as we chart the new way ahead for Southern SAWG. Thank you for all the support you have given us in the past. I will do my best to earn your continued support for the future.