Introducing Ray Fort, MALT’s Acting Executive Director
August 7, 2020
I write to introduce myself.
My name is Ray Fort and I’m the new acting executive director of MALT. I’ve been serving as the director of operations here at MALT for three and a half years, overseeing the business side of things and making sure our staff have all the tools they need to do their jobs.
I’m honored to have been asked by the MALT Board of Directors to lead us through this period of transition until a permanent executive director is hired. I’m equally honored to play a small part in extending the legacy of our founders, Phyllis Faber and Ellen Straus, in preserving Marin’s farmland for agricultural use and in supporting the agricultural community.
I come from Portage County, Ohio, which is a mostly rural county on the edge of a major metropolitan area, where development pressures and increasing property values strain the local agricultural system. Before moving to California in my twenties, I ran for local office and worked with a number of small non-profits, including a land trust, to do what I could to promote a more sustainable and locally-focused economy. The rhythm and pace of life here in Marin County reminds me so much of where I come from in Ohio; I feel really at home in a place where everyone knows my name, I know everyone else’s, and time is measured in generations.
After relocating to California, I worked in San Francisco for nearly 20 years in a variety of non-profit settings, always eager to return to my first love, the meaningful work of conservation. So I jumped at the chance to work for MALT in West Marin. Working with MALT’s incredible staff and committed board members on our shared vision of supporting a thriving agricultural community in a healthy and diverse natural environment has been a rich and rewarding experience thus far. While I serve as acting executive director, I look forward to connecting with more of MALT’s community members — farmers, ranchers, partner agencies, volunteers and supporters — and hope to continue to highlight and support the work of our incredibly passionate and capable staff.
I live in Petaluma with my wife, Kate, and our four-year-old daughter, Lucia, who is named after Kate’s family dairy and farm near Bethlehem, Free State, South Africa, where she spent her summers as a child.
Acting Executive Director