I first learned about the EGP when I saw the blog post about Heather Johnstone’s departure and Emily’s moving into the role of manager back in the summer of 2013. I was doing contract work and hoping to move more toward urban agriculture work (having been working with larger farmers on climate change adaptation previously). Maybe it was the way that all the team seemed so competent, the way everyone was smiling, energetic and positive in their website write-ups, the beauty of Loutet Farm, or the fact that I remembered working with Gavin 10 years ago at UBC on a natural building project and had a great time, but something about the organization captivated me and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
I was thrilled when I landed the Communications Coordinator job with the EGP that fall. When I started working in the office, it felt like coming home. I loved that the crises in the office were about piles of manure in the wrong places, and that I got to think about veggies, and growing while I was working. It’s the kind of place that I would be eager to get out of bed to get to in the morning, and reluctant to leave. The EGP has this magical, intangible quality, wherein everyone who touches it gets fired up and excited, and that enthusiasm and positivity spreads like mycelium, running under the soil and nurturing everything it touches. People in our community really feel a part of something, a sense of belonging and community. Everyone who contributes in some small way makes the EGP the huge success that it is, and I felt so humbled and fortunate to be a part of that.
Of course, one of the reasons for all of this success is the people, especially our “fearless leader” Emily. Prior to coming to the EGP, I was doing contract work as a sole proprietor because I didn’t think I wanted to work for someone else… but that all changed. As a Manager, Emily brought out the best in her team. She has this amazing ability to empower everyone she meets to want to make the world a better place, and to feel great about themselves and the world while doing it. Her cheerful “It’s all good” and “Okiedokie Artichokie” sayings made the office a fun, hopeful and positive place to be, and set the tone for the whole organization.
Needless to say, news of Emily’s impending departure left all of our team at once sad for our loss, and happy for her and new opportunities. Emily has left some pretty huge boots to fill, and I feel so lucky to have the chance to work alongside her (albiet remotely) during this transition season, to absorb as much of her positivity and leadership style as I can.
The EGP has 10 years of amazing work to its credit, and a large community of supporters. I feel a deep sense of responsibility in having been entrusted with its care. This organization feels like my home, and I’m passionate about the work that we do here to empower the community and provide healthy fresh food to those who need it most, and helping future generations of farmers and foodies grow their interests and skills. I want to see the organization continue to succeed and make a difference in the community. Together, we can demonstrate sustainable solutions for a brighter future.
I know that I can never hope to replace Emily, but I do have some skills to offer in guiding the future of the EGP. As we transition this growing season, I would love to meet all of you who make this such a special community. I’ll always be open to feedback about where we are heading, what’s working, and what we could do differently. Although daunting to step into Emily’s shoes, I feel so supported by the EGP community and excited to begin. I also have an amazing team of smart, talented, passionate and dedicated co-workers to work with on this journey, and for that I feel so thankful and blessed. They really do carry things forward and make my job easier and such a joy. Thinking about growing the success we have built together as the EGP community makes my heart happy. Thank you all for your patience and support – now, let’s get growing! 🙂