February 22, 2020
Mill City Grows Appoints Jessica Wilson as Next Exec. Director

Jessica Moore Wilson
July 28, 2019 — Mill City Grows, a Lowell nonprofit that aims to increase community access to healthy, fresh food through the development of urban food production, recently announced that it has named Jessica Moore Wilson, currently its director of development, to be its next executive director.

Wilson will assume her new responsibilities in January, taking over from Francey Slater and Lydia Sisson, co-founders of Mill City Grows, who will be transitioning out of their current respective roles of executive director and director of programs.

Mill City Grows said Wilson's appointment "comes at an exciting time, as Mill City Grows expands their new headquarters, builds their team, and engages new community partnerships." The organization was founded eight years ago.

“We have been inspired by Francey and Lydia’s years of dedication and leadership,” says Mill City Grows board chair Jack Moynihan. “We would like to acknowledge their tireless work in taking Mill City Grows from an idea to what it is today ”“ a vibrant and very successful organization.”

He added, “While neither Francey nor Lydia can ever be fully replaced, we are confident that Jessica is uniquely positioned to move the organization forward during this transition while maintaining the mission and culture that the founders have established,” says Jack Moynihan.

Wilson has been with the organization since its inception, first serving as a founding member and co-chair of the Mill City Grows board and then joining the development staff in 2016. She has more than 15 years of experience in non-profit fundraising and leadership.

Previously, she served as the executive director of Lowell TeleMedia Center (LTC), where she collaborated with leaders throughout Lowell to share stories, develop events, and cultivate partnerships to benefit the entire community. She created LTC’s sponsorship program and worked with community partners to produce “Inventing Lowell,” a video series housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

She also served as director of development and chief operating officer at UTEC, a nonprofit youth center and workforce development program based in Lowell, launching the organization’s first capital campaign.

Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, a Master of Arts degree in media studies from The New School, and a graduate certificate from the Institute of Nonprofit Management and Leadership.

Under Slater's and Sisson's leadership, Mill City Grows established a thriving local, urban food movement and healthy food community in the city of Lowell, providing Lowell residents the opportunity to grow and access healthy.

Among other accomplishments, it opened the first community garden at Rotary Club Park in spring 2012, expanded to include three urban farm sites that yield thousands of pounds of freshly grown food for families citywide; two Mobile Market units selling Lowell-grown produce and crops from nearby farmers; and a system of seven community gardens located in neighborhoods across Lowell, plus, thirteen school gardens in over half of the city's public schools.

Slater said, “I know that succession of leadership is a good thing for organizations, just as the rotation of crops benefits the soil and garden ecosystem, so too will an infusion of fresh ideas, skills and perspective benefit Mill City Grows and the Lowell community.” Added Sisson, "I am thrilled that Jessica will be the next executive director, and am grateful for the opportunity to support this transition in a part-time capacity through next year.”

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