January 20, 2020
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Mark Muller as the new Executive Director of the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation, effective March 15, 2020. Mark will succeed RAF Founder Kevin Boyer who will remain with the foundation as Program Director.
Mark brings tremendous skills to RAF at a pivotal moment for our planet and our rural and land-based communities. His strong track record in the non-profit and philanthropic worlds, exceptional persistence and good humor, commitment to scaling regenerative agriculture, and ability to manage and work well with others led to his selection in a competitive hiring process.
Mark comes to RAF from the McKnight Foundation where he served for over six years, first as program officer and subsequently as program director of the Mississippi River program. In this capacity, Mark helped scale up regenerative agriculture practices in the Mississippi River basin, pressed for stronger action in support of environmental justice, and supported federal and state policy efforts for healthy soils and clean water.
Mark has spent most of his career working to help transform our agricultural and food systems, starting with part-time jobs while in college supporting farmworkers, providing Integrated Pest Management services to farmers, and spending a season on a diversified organic vegetable farm. Muller also taught science for two years at a high school in New York City, volunteered for a year in Honduras and Guatemala, and has served on several nonprofit boards and a local natural foods co-op. He served in several roles during his fourteen years at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, including directing the Food & Community Fellows, a fellowship program explicitly focused on building racial equity in the food system.
Mark has a BA in physics and a MA in environmental engineering. He and his spouse have three children and have lived in the Midtown Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis for the past 20 years. They are part owners of a family farm in Iowa.
“I am incredibly excited and honored to be joining the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation. Agriculture and climate disruption present some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing rural communities and our country. RAF is well situated to provide leadership on these issues”, says Muller.
Founder Kevin Boyer is excited to have Mark’s skills and experience guiding the organization and looks forward to continuing to be highly engaged with the foundation’s grantmaking and to having more time to work on his own citrus farm in California’s San Joaquin valley. The board wishes to express immense gratitude to Kevin for his steadfast leadership and hard work in launching RAF and in building relationships with so many model producers and land stewards. We are proud of our grants portfolio and thrilled that Kevin will remain with RAF.
Sallie Calhoun, Paicines Ranch Owner and Board Chair of RAF, expressed her sense of urgency and opportunity. “Improving soil health, which sequesters carbon, is the best way we know to quickly remove huge volumes of carbon from the atmosphere and put it back where it belongs – in the land. It can be done relatively quickly and has lots of co-benefits, including improved productivity, more resilience, less flooding, and better nutrition. Building healthy soils and rapidly expanding regenerative practices would be one of the most important jobs of the 21st century even if climate change didn’t exist. With the climate emergency, we believe that it becomes the most important project for humanity. RAF is positioned to play a major role in this transition and Mark is the right leader to help take us into the future.” If you would like to learn more about RAF’s pooled fund for regranting to build the field of regenerative agriculture, please contact us. We look forward to partnering with Mark and with our many grantees and grantmaking partners in the coming years. For more information on the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation, click here.
With high hopes,
Sallie Calhoun, Sarah Bell, Betsy Taylor
Board of Directors, Regenerative Agriculture Foundation
The Regenerative Agriculture Foundation offers foundations and individual donors an opportunity to make high-impact grants and investments to rapidly expand the field of regenerative agriculture. We have an immediate planetary emergency involving multiple threats: climate disruption, a global water crisis, food insecurity for millions of people, vanishing species, and depleted soils. Protecting and restoring our nation’s soils can help alleviate all of these threats and limit global warming by sequestering carbon emissions. RAF is committed to achieving extraordinary progress in the coming years. We are seeking grantmaking partners who wish to direct funds in partnership with our skilled staff and consultants. We support non-profit groups working to help farmers, ranchers and tribes, the managers of the vast majority of the nation’s land surface, through research, education and advocacy.