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The 17th class of the Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute completed the Lead Fellows portion of the training program.

Also called LEAD New York, the institute’s leadership development program is for adult professionals in the food, agriculture and natural resource sectors, according to a news release. 

It consists of seminars, workshops, and field travel experiences in and out of New York state, including an international study trip. The program focuses on leadership skill development, enhanced self-awareness, civic engagement, a greater understanding of issues facing the food system and rural communities and cultivating leadership networks.

The 26 class members were recognized at a graduation ceremony in Ithaca, N.Y., according to the release. The graduation ceremony came at the end of the group’s second year of intensive leadership development experiences, including an international study tour to Kenya in February.  

“The Fellows program focuses on ‘thinking globally and acting locally,’” program executive director Larry Van De Valk said in the release. 

Also, Laurie Griffen, LEAD Class No. 5, is the eighth recipient of the Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute’s Outstanding Alumni Award, chosen out of 500 alumni for leadership in the community and industry. Griffen participates in many orgs and is co-owner of Saratoga Sod in Stillwater and Saratoga, N.Y.

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