Land Stewardship Project’s George Boody Stepping Down After 23 Years as Executive Director

Mark Schultz Appointed Successor by Board of Directors

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — George Boody, who has guided the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) for almost a quarter-century as its executive director, is stepping down, effective at the end of December, it was announced today by the organization’s board of directors. LSP’s board has voted unanimously to appoint Mark Schultz as Boody’s successor. Schultz is LSP’s associate director, as well as the organization’s director of programs and Policy and Organizing Program director.

“George should be extremely proud of how he has guided LSP during a period of impressive growth in the organization’s work, outreach and accomplishments,” said board chair Juliet Tomkins, who farms near River Falls, Wis. “In this transition to new leadership with Mark, we are excited to have his long-term experience with LSP and his vision for taking LSP forward through the coming years.”

Boody started with LSP as its managing director in 1990. In 1993, he took over as executive director, succeeding the organization’s co-founder, Ron Kroese, who at the time had led LSP since it was launched in 1982. During Boody’s tenure, LSP became a membership organization and expanded its work to encompass four major program areas: Policy and Organizing, Community Based Food Systems, Farm Beginnings, and Membership and Individual Giving.

The organization’s staff has also grown, with almost three-dozen organizers and support staffers working in three offices and from farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Under his guidance, LSP has gained national prominence for its work to reform farm policy, support beginning farmers and build a just and sustainable food and farming system. Boody also personally led LSP’s work in developing influential landscape-level research on multifunctional farming.

Boody is not leaving LSP completely—after December he will focus his efforts in a part-time capacity on working with the Chippewa 10% Project, which he helped launch five years ago. He will also be working with initiatives related to soil health, the Root River in southeastern Minnesota and other special projects.

“I am enormously grateful for the opportunity to serve the Land Stewardship Project’s members and staff for the past two decades,” said Boody. “Together, we’ve made a difference on the land, in people’s lives, in the systems that govern what is possible. We’ve built a strong organization—one that is positioned to make more transformational change possible.”

Schultz first joined LSP as a grassroots organizer for LSP’s Farmland Investor Accountability Program in 1987, working to hold major life insurance corporations accountable for their conservation and financial management of farmland they owned. Over the years, he has built from scratch one of the most respected grassroots organizing teams in the country. He and his staff have led numerous policy and organizing campaigns involving, among other issues, Farm Bill reform resulting in the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, challenging the mandatory pork checkoff, organizing with local citizens to stop corporate-backed factory farms and frac sand strip-mines, healthcare reform, and maintaining local democracy/local control in Minnesota.

“LSP is an inspiring and effective organization,” said Schultz. “Our growing membership and strong member-leaders on our board and steering committees, and our excellent staff, have made it so. Leading LSP into the important work ahead as LSP’s executive director is an honor and responsibility I look forward to.”

The Land Stewardship Project has offices in the Minnesota communities of Lewiston, Montevideo and Minneapolis.