Kate Mendenhall

Kate-Headshot

Kate grew up in rural northwest Iowa surrounded by conventional corn and soybeans, but wanted to learn more about more ecologically diverse methods of farming and caring for our land. She first explored organic farming during graduate school where she did fieldwork while volunteering on organic farms in eight countries from Mexico to Japan. After returning to the US, she settled in New York where she fell in love with the state’s rich history in building leaders in the national organic movement.

In 2004, she began working on policy issues with the New York Sustainable Agriculture
Working Group (NYSAWG). She participated in the Cornell LEAD-NY program for
agricultural leadership and became familiar with all aspects of the statewide food
systems. In 2006, Kate joined the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York
(NOFA-NY) as the projects coordinator—developing educational programs for
sustainable farmers, gardeners, and consumers. She became NOFA-NY’s Executive
Director in 2009 to continue the organization’s work in statewide education and advocacy that aimed to build a sustainable regional food system.

In April 2014 she and her family fulfilled a lifelong dream of returning to her hometown of Okoboji, Iowa to start a small diversified organic livestock farm and help to build a more sustainable Iowa. She is active in her local community, serving on the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) board as well as the Okoboji Protective Association (OPA). She has a BA in biology from Bowdoin College and a MA in organic agriculture from Goddard College. She was named the NOFA person of the year in 2011 for her strong commitment to organic agriculture and the regional NOFA mission.