NFU announces new Executive Director, Mara Shaw

Categories: News
Published on: November 14, 2019

NFU Local 316 / Newsletter / 14 November 2019

The NFU is pleased to announce that Mara Shaw will be taking on the role of Executive Director starting January 6, 2020.

Mara Shaw is a fierce advocate for food and farming. She grew up outside of St. Louis, Missouri with every issue of Foxfire and Mother Earth News informing her parents’ use of their land. She attended the University of Illinois in Chemistry with a specialization in Environmental Engineering, then the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in Environmental Engineering Science for a Master’s degree. She worked as an environmental consultant addressing historical hazardous waste on US military bases off the coast of California, then continued consulting in Princeton, NJ before she jumped ship to the local Watershed Association.

Mara was thrilled to move to Kingston, Ontario with her Canadian husband in 2000, where she served as the Watershed Management Coordinator at the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, managing planning, engineering and flood control. A year in England opened her eyes to the power of working with good food for people recovering from mental illness. She came back to take over as the Executive Director of Loving Spoonful, a vibrant, local fresh food organization. There she built a team that has changed the way Kingston thinks and talks about food security. They provide hands-on school garden programming in 21 elementary schools among other initiatives, many of which support local farmers.

Mara volunteers with her NFU Local 316, serves on the Board of the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship, Kingston Symphony, plays cello, gardens voraciously and loves fundraising and public speaking. She and her husband have two daughters: one at UBC, the other at Carleton.

“There is only one role in the country that would have had me leave Loving Spoonful. This is it,” said Mara. “As the Executive Director of the National Farmers Union, I step into a proud history of the NFU movement. For 50 years the NFU has led a fight for farmers; soil, seed and farm sovereignty; farm incomes; and sustainable farms. The country needs the NFU to lead right now. I look forward to working with you all to provide that leadership, driven by my deep respect for each one of you NFU farmers.”