American Farmland Trust Hires Dr. Gabrielle Roesch-McNally as Women for Land Initiative Director

Dr. Beth Sauerhaft

American Farmland Trust, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food®, has hired Dr. Gabrielle Roesch-McNally as the Director of its Women for the Land initiative. Dr. Roesch-McNally will provide overall leadership for Women for the Land and collaborate with regional offices to ensure that AFT’s programming is strategic, synergistic across regions, well-received and impactful. The goal of AFT’s Women for the Land initiative is to engage women who own and manage farmland and ranchland in our mission to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices and keep farmers on the land.

“AFT believes that protecting the most productive, versatile and resilient farmland and improving its soil will benefit farmers, consumers and the environment. We simply cannot meet the challenges facing agriculture today if we are not engaging women farmers and landowners, who own 87 million acres of U.S. farmland and ranchland. Women are underserved; yet when engaged, they often act,” says Dr. Beth Sauerhaft, AFT vice president of programs.

She continues, “Gabrielle brings her expertise in social science theory with a grounding in both economics and sociology to the Women for the Land initiative. She has worked on large interdisciplinary teams and has a particular interest in participatory research methods and co-production, and how these approaches can support collaborative community engagement with climate adaptation. These skills will serve the initiative well as we expand the program to meet the needs of the growing number of women farming or taking on a management role on land over the next two decades.”

Dr. Gabrielle Roesch-McNally has a Master of Science from the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forestry Science, where she focused on environmental economics. Her doctorate degree, from Iowa State University, is in sociology and sustainable agriculture. As part of her dissertation research, she worked as one of the lead social scientists on a large-scale interdisciplinary USDA-NIFA project. She has conducted social science research to better understand producer decision-making in sustainable agri-food systems, particularly in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Most recently, Gabrielle has worked as a fellow with the USDA Northwest Climate Hub.

“I am excited to pivot from my work with the USDA Climate Hub to AFT’s Women for the Land initiative, where I look to further build and scale the work started by Jen Filipiak, AFT’s Midwest director. I am passionate about ensuring women landowners have access to resources, technical advice and policy facilitators to ensure they lead in conservation and building resilient agri-food systems.”

Gabrielle will be based out of AFT’s Seattle office but will work from her home in Albany, Oregon, in the heart of the Willamette Valley where she lives with her horticulturalist husband, their dog, cat, 15 chickens. Gabrielle loves to hike, backpack, kayak, camp, bicycle and all manner of outdoor adventures. She also loves to garden, cook, bake and can jams, chutneys, pickles and other preserved goodies.

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.

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