singing to garlic: MAINE’S FARMER MUSICIANS BY CARRIE BRAMAN PHOTOGRAPHS BY MOLLY HALEY
Bill Toomey, a longtime leader in regional environmental conservation, has been chosen to serve as president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust. Toomey has worked in non-profit conservation since 1998, most recently as the Trust For Public Land’s New England Area Director, and brings extensive experience in land protection, leadership, management, and fundraising. Previously he was the Director of Forest Health working as part of the Nature Conservancy’s North American Forest Priority and North American and Global Cities Initiatives. Toomey led the Conservancy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities initiative in 15 cities in the US, and co-led the Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Tree Campaign in the US, China, and Brazil. Toomey currently lives in Cape Elizabeth.
“In the 20 years that Maine Farmland Trust has existed we have benefited from some outstanding leaders,” says Taylor Mudge, MFT’s board chair. “I am pleased that we will continue in this vein with Bill Toomey. His years of experience in land protection as well his knowledge of regional and national land issues will be important attributes for the Trust going forward. Bill has demonstrated incredible skill working with diverse stakeholders in his past positions, at both regional and national organizations.”
“Over the last 20 years Maine Farmland Trust’s accomplishments have been impressive,” says Toomey. “Since 1999, MFT has helped to protect nearly 300 farms and keep over 60,000 acres of farmland in farming while supporting over 800 farm families. I am excited to join the talented and dedicated team to build on the strong foundation of existing work and expand our impact to protect more farmland, create opportunities to connect new farmers to the land, strengthen and diversify farm business while also strengthening local communities and improving the health of our environment.”
Toomey holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Fairfield University and a master’s degree in Soil Science from North Carolina State University. His background in soil science and experience in serving on the team that created The Nature Conservancy’s national Soil Health program will help inform MFT’s work looking at how healthy soils practices can support farm viability while mitigating the impacts of climate change. “His experience managing collaborative work regionally, nationally, and internationally, will translate well to MFT’s work in partnership with farmers, agricultural service providers, land trusts, policymakers, and others in Maine and throughout the region,” said Erica Buswell, Vice President of Programs and Interim Co-President at MFT. “As we celebrate our 20th year and are in the midst of strategic planning, we think Bill’s unique set of skills will bolster MFT as we work to implement our vision of a thriving agricultural landscape where farms feed our economy, steward our natural resources and nourish our communities.”
“We are very excited to work with Bill and to welcome him to the MFT family,” says Stacy Brenner, MFT board member, and farmer at Broadturn Farm. “He brings a deep well of thoughtful talent relative to the work of land conservation and familiarity with the Maine landscape that will be valuable to this organization, as our work brings conservation and farming together.”
Toomey will begin work as president and CEO of MFT in early June.