TOPEKA — Mary Fund is optimistic about the next generation of Kansas farmers. For the past four years, she has served as the executive director of the Kansas Rural Center, a non-profit private organization commited to offering practical solutions and information to those seeking a future in farming and who care about their communities, their environment and their food. She has also offered and analysis on issues facing small and specialty farmers from the point of view of Kansans. Now, she stated in a letter to friends of the KRC, she looks forward to an active retirement where she will continue her involvement in the growing movement through research and writing.
“When I took the Executive Director position at KRC in June 2015, I never intended it to be for more than a couple or maybe three years, then I would help KRC transition to the next era of leadership. Well, that turned into a bit more than two or three years, but it is now time,” she wrote.
She will retire as Executive Director at the end of 2019, but will remain available to help when and where she is needed during the transition.
“It is time for me to put more energy into my farm and into my personal and family needs. I don’t intend to just walk away from the issues near and dear to me. I plan to devote more time to reading and research, and several writing projects that have taken a backseat.
We have entered a new era for food and farming not just in Kansas but across the nation and globally, a new era in terms of the urgency of climate change, and a new era in terms of political discourse and engagement. KRC needs new blood, new energy and a new commitment from its constituents and friends, its board members and its staff, to meet these challenges. I hope your commitment continues just as mine will.
I have been privileged to work for one of the most progressive organizations in Kansas for most of my adult life, working with wonderful people who shared my concerns and passions, who have been committed to asking the tough questions-not only of those in power but of ourselves, as we imagine and work for a more sustainable future for all.
Recently I was asked what makes me optimistic that society will make the changes it needs to make as social and cultural habits that limit our ability to change are deeply entrenched. I am optimistic because I see a growing awareness of the problems and issues we face, and a willingness among more people to speak up and to act. I am optimistic that a new generation will hold us all accountable. I am optimistic because KRC has been on the right track toward sustainability all along.”
Fund announced her pending retirement as the KRC prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary at its annual converence Nov. 8 and 9. This year, the conference will be held in Wichita. Details about the KRC and the conference can be found at https://kansasruralcenter.org.