BELFAST — Maine Farmland Trust announced it has a new leader to help the organization “advance the future of farming in Maine.” Amy Fisher assumed the role of president and CEO on Aug. 23.

For the last seven years, Fisher served as executive director of the foundation for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. According to the press release, VIMS is known for advancing sustainable shellfish aquaculture worldwide and providing research, innovation, and extension services to support the sustainable marine industries important to protecting the landscape and character of the Chesapeake Bay region.

At VIMS, the press release said, Fisher led a record-breaking fundraising campaign to launch a new institute-wide sustainable shellfish aquaculture initiative, created an innovation strategy and fund to spur exploration of creative solutions to marine challenges, established more than 30 fellowships to help students fund their educations in marine science, and advanced work to address marine plastic pollution, toxics, and community resilience in the face of recurrent flooding and rising sea levels.

Prior to joining VIMS, Fisher was based in New England, with roles at Boston University, Simmons University, and St. Francis House. She led the Center for Environmental Citizenship’s electoral skills training and organizing efforts, including on campuses and ballot initiative campaigns in Maine. A graduate of Bates College, she holds an MBA from Boston University.

Maine Farmland Trust board Chair Meredith Eilers, co-owner of Blue Bell Farm in Bowdoinham, said Fisher’s “mix of strengths in organizational leadership, fundraising, organizing and working in collaboration with diverse communities on environmental issues is a great match for Maine’s vibrant farm community.”

Founded by farmers and farm advocates in 1999, Maine Farmland Trust is a pioneering statewide organization that advances farming in Maine by protecting farmland and supporting farmers to access land and grow thriving farm businesses.

“I’m very excited to bring my experience working with environmental community back to Maine,” Fisher said. “Maine has an incredible ecosystem of support for its farmers and landscapes, and together we have a unique opportunity to grow a thriving food and farm system that can feed Maine, and make our region more resilient.”

As Fisher steps in to her new role, she plans to spend as much time as possible meeting with farmers, partners, and MFT members throughout the state, the press release said.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide, member-powered nonprofit that works to protect farmland, support farming, and advance the future for farming in Maine. A team of 30 staff and 15 board members carries out the organization’s programs to protect farmland, get farmers on the land, support farmers with the tools they need to grow their businesses, and advocate for policies that work for Maine farms.

Since its founding over 20 years ago, the trust’s work has helped to keep over 60,000 acres of farmland in farming, and provided over 800 farm families with critical services, like business planning. Learn more at mainefarmlandtrust.org.

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