FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2024
Cathleen McCluskey, Advocacy & Communications Director, email@example.com
Organic Seed Alliance Welcomes New Executive Director
Port Townsend, WA – Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Laura R. Lewis as its new executive director, effective January 29th. Dr. Lewis brings over 30 years of invaluable experience in agricultural systems from around the world to her new role at OSA.
“Laura not only brings significant leadership experience that will help OSA continue to strategically evolve and mature as a nonprofit,” says board president Emily Rose Haga, “but also strong connections in the realm of seeds and crop diversity that will be of great benefit to the mission as we continue to build upon 20 years of good seed work.”
Prior to joining the OSA team, Lewis was a professor at Washington State University (WSU) where she founded and directed the WSU Food Systems Program. She also holds a Ph.D. in Geography and a degree in Agriculture. Lewis’s specialization in the utilization of agrobiodiversity coupled with her leadership and development skills positions her as a catalyst for creating equitable, inclusive programs aimed at fostering a healthy food system for all.
“I am thrilled to be taking on the position of executive director with Organic Seed Alliance,” says Lewis. “This position is the perfect union of my two areas of expertise – seed systems and leadership. Seed is the foundation of our food system and connects us as humans across so many aspects of our lives – culturally, historically, environmentally, and politically, to name just a few.”
“With her entrepreneurial spirit and profound philanthropic and program development expertise, Laura is perfectly poised to steer OSA through stability and growth into the next 20 years,” says OSA board member Edward Johnson III. “Her dedication to strong organizational culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion aligns with our core values, promising a future of innovation and integrity. I eagerly anticipate her leadership in expanding our impact within the organic seed and food systems, ensuring a sustainable and vibrant path forward.”
Longtime collaborator with OSA and Lewis, Lane Selman of the Culinary Breeding Network and Oregon State University says, “ I am always impressed with her leadership, team mindset, equity, and creativity. I believe she possesses the skills and vision to make OSA excel in existing and new areas of organic seed work.”
Lewis steps into the executive director role after her predecessor Cara Loriz’s retirement in the autumn of 2023. “After an extensive nationwide search, our board and staff are confident that Laura’s mix of passion, integrity, research excellence, and management expertise will strengthen our work,” says OSA’s research and education co-director Jared Zystro. “I am excited to be working with her as we look forward to the next 20 years of promoting an abundant and diverse supply of organic seed.”