Haden headshotSustainFloyd begins a new chapter next month when founding president Woody Crenshaw steps down and local entrepreneur Haden Polseno-Hensley assumes leadership of the non-profit organization.

A founding member of SustainFloyd’s Board of Directors, Haden was instrumental in organizing the SplitRail Eco-Fair and the 350.org event in SustainFloyd’s nascent years. He began serving as Secretary starting in 2009 and also serves on the organization’s Development Committee.

“I hope my term as president will reflect my own desire for responsible and vibrant growth, with SustainFloyd acting as both a catalyst and a safety net for farmers, artisans and small business owners of all stripes,” says Haden. “My primary goal is to help create a healthy local economy, which includes jobs and development but is also dependent on land stewardship, energy conservation and a focus on the independent self-sufficient qualities that have always made Floyd County great.”

The leadership transition comes as SustainFloyd, a 501(c)(3) organization, is shifting into a new phase. After four years of rapid growth, SustainFloyd is beginning to mature and hone its focus. It is endeavoring to turn several of its agricultural programs into social enterprises that will generate social and environmental benefits as well as producing their own revenue. Those programs include the Floyd Farmers Market, offering products from local vendors every Saturday through October; Blue Valley working model farm, which is producing vegetables for the wholesale market; the Pocket Farm beginning farmer curriculum, which attracted more than 50 students this spring and is set to be taught again this fall; a rentable refrigerated truck for use by local farms and businesses; and implementation of a business plan for a food processing facility.

SustainFloyd also continues with longtime and new programs such as Farm to School, a film series, the Friday night Artisan Market, the Floyd Artisan Trail Tour and the mobile solar Power Wagon.

Haden & his wife, Rose McCutchan, own and operate Red Rooster Coffee Roaster, a business dedicated to producing high quality organic coffee through sustainable practices in downtown Floyd. Haden’s passion for the community and his desire to create economic development through sustainable practices has driven him to become an advocate for small business, farms and artists in Floyd. He has past served on the board at the Jacksonville Center and is currently a board member and the Treasurer of Blue Cow Arts, the non-profit affiliate of Across the Way Productions (Floyd Fest.)

A native of Floyd, Haden and his wife now live in the house he was raised in, where his parents, Donna Polseno and Rick Hensley, still maintain their pottery studio & galleries as members of Floyd’s 16 Hands art collective.

Haden’s role of secretary will be filled by Fred First, a founding board member and well-known writer and author whose books include “Slow Road Home ~ a blue ridge book of days” and “What We Hold In Our Hands: a Slow Road Reader.”

Luke Staengl, president and CEO of PESCO-BEAM, will remain as SustainFloyd’s Vice President and Andrew Morikawa, former executive director of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, will remain as Treasurer.

Woody Crenshaw will remain on SustainFloyd’s Board of Directors as its Immediate Past President and chairman of its Development Committee.

Woody helped drive the formation of SustainFloyd, starting with initial conversations about “The Future of Floyd” in late 2008, through the organization’s founding the next year and achieving 501(c)(3) status in 2010. He contributed to the construction of the Station in downtown Floyd and helped build the Floyd Community Pavilion, which is home to the Farmers Market and Artisan Market.

Woody and his wife Jackie live in Floyd County. They own the Floyd Country Store and Riverstone Organic Farm.

SustainFloyd works to leverage and preserve Floyd County’s existing assets and traditional strengths in agriculture and craftsmanship to help build a resilient rural local economy. To learn more about SustainFloyd and its mission, go to www.sustainfloyd.org.