BELFAST, Maine — When it was time to search for a new leader, the Maine Farmland Trust opted to stay local.
Amanda Beal, the vice president of programs and policy for the Belfast-based nonprofit organization will take the reins from outgoing Chief Executive Officer John Piotti when he leaves to become president of the American Farmland Trust, a national organization that does similar work.
Beal grew up on a dairy farm in Litchfield, according to a news release issued Monday morning by the Maine Farmland Trust. She has worked on agricultural issues as a policy advocate, a researcher and as the manager of a retail food store that supported local farms. She also has chaired the board of organizations including the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine and Cultivating Community, a Portland-based nonprofit agency that operates community gardens and supports immigrants who farm.
She also served as a co-author of “A New England Food Vision,” a 2014 collaborative report produced by the University of New Hampshire that envisions a future in which New England produces at least half of the region’s food.
“She is a rare person who combines practical experience in farming with a deep knowledge of where farming is headed, and what we need to do to realize farming’s full potential,” Taylor Mudge, the board chairman of the Maine Farmland Trust, said in the news release.
The Maine organization was created in 1999 to protect farmland, support farmers and advance the future of farming. Statewide, it has helped to protect more than 50,000 acres of farmland and to assist more than 500 farm families.