WASHINGTON, D.C. - American Farmland Trust, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food®, has hired Caroline Wade as Mid-Atlantic director to provide strategic leadership and management for AFT’s programs in the Mid-Atlantic Region, with an emphasis on Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Caroline will advance AFT’s mission of saving the land that sustains us by protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.
This announcement comes at a time of strategic growth for AFT as it expands to address the alarming loss of farmland and ranchland revealed in its May 2018 report “Farms Under Threat: The State of America’s Farmland.” AFT is also ramping up its efforts to engage farmers and landowners in protecting water quality and combatting climate change, as well as assisting women landowners in implementing conservation practices on their land, beginning farmers in accessing farmland and senior farmers in transferring their farms to a new generation.
Before joining AFT, Caroline served as Illinois director of agriculture at The Nature Conservancy. In her role at TNC, she built, expanded and led the new state agriculture program strategy for the Illinois Chapter. Caroline’s knowledge of agriculture and environmental stewardship is extensive, especially in the area of water quality, having also served as nutrient watershed manager for the Illinois Corn Growers Association, watershed specialist for Macon County Soil and Water Conservation district in Illinois and director of sustainability programs at The Zea Mays Foundation.
“AFT’s Mid-Atlantic program will benefit tremendously from Caroline’s experience. She has a proven ability to work collaboratively with farm groups, environmental organizations, government agencies and others in initiating and developing successful strategies, partnerships, and programs for improving water quality in the Midwest, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico,” said David Haight, AFT’s vice president of programs. “Caroline’s leadership will enable American Farmland Trust to do even more to support farmers and landowners in improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay and combating climate change while strengthening the future for farming in the region.”
Haight continued, “The Mid-Atlantic region is also home to some of the most successful programs for protecting farmland in the nation. Caroline will lead American Farmland Trust’s work with public agencies, land trusts and others in sustaining this important work, while helping partners address emerging challenges such as bringing a new generation of farmers on to the land and improving environmental stewardship on protected farms.”
Caroline joins an impressive team of regional directors located in California, the Midwest, New England, New York and the Pacific Northwest working under David Haight to advance the organization’s mission in regions across the country and to integrate the organization’s national initiatives within the regional context.
Caroline grew up in Frederick County, Maryland and is excited to be returning to her roots and extensive family and friends in the Mid-Atlantic region. She is hoping to settle in rural Virginia and plans to engage with her new local community as a volunteer working on quality of life and environmental initiatives. As an avid outdoor adventurer, she is looking forward to exploring the hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking opportunities in the Blue Ridge mountains and across the region.
Caroline shared her excitement in joining AFT, “Our country’s farmland is an often unacknowledged and underappreciated, yet vital, resource that sustains our citizens and supports our communities. I am thrilled to be joining the dedicated AFT team and look forward to working hand-in-hand with farmers, landowners, and other partners to protect, steward and maximize the resiliency of one of our most valuable resources – productive agricultural soils.
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families.