Feb 15, 2024
Organic Seed Alliance names executive director

The Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) has hired Laura R. Lewis as executive director.

laura lewis-organic seed alliance
Laura Lewis

Before joining OSA, Lewis was a professor at Washington State University (WSU) where she spearheaded the WSU Food Systems Program, seamlessly navigating academic, research, and Extension roles, according to a news release. With a doctorate in geography and a degree in agriculture, her expertise spans agrobiodiversity utilization, leadership and development. Lewis leverages her extensive background to forge partnerships and networks that champion equitable, inclusive programs, fostering a wholesome food system.

“This position is the perfect union of my two areas of expertise: seed systems and leadership,” Lewis said in the release. “Seed is the foundation of our food system and connects us as humans across so many aspects of our lives — culturally, historically, environmentally and politically, to name just a few.”

The OSA expressed gratitude to Micaela Colley and Jared Zystro for their interim leadership and acknowledged the work of former executive director Cara Loriz, whose guidance led to the creation of a five-year strategic plan.

Comments on Lewis’ hiring

The OSA released reactions to the announcement of Lewis joining the alliance.

“After an extensive nationwide search, our board and staff feel confident that Laura’s mix of research excellence, management expertise, passion, and integrity will strengthen our work.” — Jared Zystro, OSA research and education co-director

“I have worked with Laura on several projects and conferences over the past decade and am always impressed with her leadership, team mindset, equity, and creativity.” — Lane Selman of the Culinary Breeding Network at Oregon State University, and OSA collaborator

“With her entrepreneurial spirit and profound philanthropic and program development expertise, Laura is perfectly poised to steer OSA through stability and growth into the next 20 years.” — Edward Johnson III, OSA board member

“The board of directors is excited to see the staff and organization grow under her capable hands and compassionate heart!” — Emily Rose Haga, OSA board president

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