BEND, Ore. - After three years of operation, Central Oregon Locavore has hired its first executive director. Patrick Brown, a former organic farmer with a background in operations management, accepted the position on Feb. 1.
Locavore had been growing steadily under the guidance of founder and former volunteer executive director Nicolle Timm, as well as a large group of dedicated volunteers and the support of countless community members.
"I am so grateful and continuously amazed at the level of selflessness and volunteerism that has gone in to maintaining this nonprofit," said Nicolle Timm. "Without this level of community support, there is no way we would have maintained such rapid growth, and be where we are today."
Brown, who was named Locavore's market manager in December, first began working with the group last fall as the leader of Locavore's Willing Workers on Local Farms, or WWOLF, which brings groups of volunteers together with farmers to work on farm projects and share a home-cooked meal at the farm.
Brown quickly became a trusted member of the Locavore team through his dedication to the group's mission and his insights into solving the many challenges facing this small nonprofit.
"I feel very grateful to have been selected for this role," said Brown, who had been living in Japan for the past 12 years and serving as the chief operating officer for a mid-size English language teaching company there. "I deeply believe in the work of the organization and in the potential for this group to dramatically grow the local food industry in Central Oregon."
In the coming months, Brown will be instrumental in taking this young, home-grown nonprofit to the next level. Since taking over as market manager from Jenn Smith, who left Locavore to focus on her family, Brown has increased sales in the marketplace and developed new systems and procedures to improve customer and vendor experiences.
"We are extremely lucky to have found Patrick," said Nicolle Timm, who will remain the chair of Locavore's board of directors. "He brings the perfect combination of management experience, operations expertise, and enthusiasm to the table. His work as an organic farmer means he has a fundamental understanding of what we're trying to accomplish with this organization. Everyone on the board is delighted to have him on our team."
Since 2010, Locavore has promoted a local, sustainable food system that increases access to fresh, in-season, nutrient-dense, local food and educates the community about the benefits of sustainably produced food from local farmers and ranchers. Locavore manages an online and brick and mortar market, and five other local food projects in the community. For more information about the group, visit www.centraloregonlocavore.org.