The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) announced that Executive Director Brian Snyder has accepted a position by the same title, leading the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT) at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus.

The new position will begin in June. The ultimate goal of InFACT is to create sustainable and resilient food systems for Ohio and beyond. President Michael Drake of OSU has committed a minimum of $100 million over the next ten years to achieve this goal.

Brian Snyder

Brian Snyder

Under Snyder’s leadership over the last 15 years, PASA has grown to be one of the leading sustainable agriculture organizations in the United States. Over this time, the organization has increased its membership, most of whom are farmers, from just under a thousand to more than 5,000 and now lists nearly 45,000 “Good Food Neighbors” who have participated in its programs over the years.

Snyder will be working in partnership with Faculty Director Casey Hoy, who is based at the Wooster campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Hoy holds the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management and has led a distinguished team of more than 70 faculty members from across the University to conceive and launch InFACT. The team has already begun hiring 30 new faculty colleagues with diverse expertise to support this academic, ecological and cultural transformation by creating linkages among Ohio State’s many disciplinary and interdisciplinary strengths.

The initiative will reach out broadly to engage a host of community-based organizations, allied universities, and many other partners in Ohio, the broader multistate region, and beyond, in addressing one of the most important challenges of our time.

“Brian is an ideal addition to the leadership of this transformational initiative.  He is well-known and respected in food and agriculture, and in allied University networks nationally and particularly within the region,” said Hoy.  “We look forward to Brian joining us in this new role, including partnership building between InFACT and PASA and other groups that can help us make a positive impact on food security throughout the region, the nation and the world.”

“For 25 years PASA has toiled in the trenches of our food system to improve conditions for farmers, community-based food entrepreneurs and a growing audience of informed consumers who care where their food comes from,” Snyder said. “Now, I am eager to see how much more substantial change can be achieved through engaging the very significant resources and vast partnerships available, working within a world class institution like Ohio State.” 

PASA recently announced the formation of the SOIL Institute, following a multi-year strategic planning effort, and that the organization had surpassed the halfway point of their $3 million goal to initially fund the effort.

“This new program will dramatically expand PASA’s reach in terms of providing educational programming to our members and putting new farmers on the land. Brian will be leaving us in great shape to finish up this campaign and implement the SOIL Institute,” said Scott Case, chair of the board of directors.

PASA will be conducting a nationwide search for a new executive director, the details of which will emerge in the coming weeks.