RELEASE: Mike Lavender, Sophia Kruszewski Join National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition


RELEASE: Mike Lavender, Sophia Kruszewski Join National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

June 29, 2022


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Laura Zaks

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

lzaks@sustainableagriculture.net 

Tel. 347.563.6408

RELEASE: Mike Lavender, Sophia Kruszewski Join National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Lavender, Kruszewski Join NSAC Policy Team; Deeble Departs for Senior USDA Role

Washington, DC, June 29, 2022 – Today the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) announced the addition of two new senior members to the Coalition’s policy team: Mike Lavender as Interim Policy Director and Sophia Kruszewski as Deputy Policy Director. 

Incoming Interim Policy Director Mike Lavender is currently the Senior Manager of Government Affairs for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment program, an NSAC member, and has served for 3 years on the Organizational Council of NSAC. At UCS, Mike has advocated for a science-based, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food and farm system. Previously, Mike served as a policy analyst at the Environmental Working Group, and before that, he spent six years in the office of former Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), where he worked on agriculture appropriations, dairy policy, and other farm and food policy issues. He will begin at NSAC on July 11, 2022.

“Mike is a seasoned leader with wide-ranging policy expertise and strong relationships across Washington and in our Coalition, and I am thrilled to welcome him to our team,” said NSAC Coalition Director Sarah Hackney. “His collaborative, strategic approach to advocacy is a perfect fit for our grassroots coalition as we prepare together for the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization process.”

“The last several years have demonstrated that NSAC’s longtime mission of advancing sustainability in agriculture and food systems is more crucial than ever, and that this work must be done through the lens of racial equity,” said Lavender, adding “I have had the privilege of working alongside NSAC for much of my career and I am thrilled to join the talented staff and thriving Coalition at such an important time for its membership.”

Incoming Deputy Policy Director Sophia Kruszewski is returning to NSAC after four years directing the Food and Agriculture Clinic at Vermont Law School, which provides law and policy services to farmers, food entrepreneurs, and food system organizations. During that time, Sophia led the launch of the Vermont Legal Food Hub, a program that connects farmers and local food businesses with free legal assistance. Before then, Sophia was a Senior Policy Specialist at NSAC, where she staffed several Issue Committees during her five years on the policy team. Sophia’s prior DC experience also includes the Center for Food Safety, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the federal district court. She will begin at NSAC on July 25, 2022.

“Sophia brings a rare combination of federal policy expertise and organizational management insights to NSAC, and it is a joy to welcome her back to the Coalition,” said Hackney. “Mike and Sophia’s deep understanding of NSAC as a vibrant coalition, along with their commitment to training a new generation of policy leaders and empowering our grassroots members, is the key to ensuring our legacy of leadership continues to evolve and grow.”

It’s a privilege to return to NSAC at this pivotal time for farm and food policy. I am eager to contribute my skills as a community lawyer, an advocate, and a farmer’s daughter to work alongside this talented team. I look forward to supporting NSAC’s policy work through coordination of policy activities and campaign planning, as we work within the larger movement to advance our shared goals,” said Kruszewski.

Current Policy Director Eric Deeble will transition from NSAC to serve in a Presidentially appointed senior administrative role at the United States Department of Agriculture in the coming days. 

“Eric has been a dedicated advocate and trusted colleague in his time at NSAC. He has steadfastly carried our Coalition’s priorities and commitment to grassroots leadership every single day across our work with Congress, USDA, and the larger movement, and he had a major hand in helping our Coalition achieve policy wins over the last several years toward building a more just, sustainable farm and food system,” said Hackney. 

“I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to have served the members and staff of NSAC as they worked tirelessly over these past years to support farmers, ranchers, workers, and everyone who relies on the farm and food system to weather the unprecedented disruptions of the pandemic and climate change,” said Deeble. “I know that I leave NSAC with a deeply skilled policy team and exceptional leadership who will work together to build a better 2023 Farm Bill and continue NSAC’s decades long mission to make our shared vision of a more equitable and sustainable agriculture a reality,” Deeble noted.

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About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net


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