The Leafy Greens Council appointed Beth Brown to the role of executive director July 1 following the death of former executive director Ray Clark on June 6.
"It is with great sadness that I must announce the loss of Ray Clark, executive director of the Leafy Greens Council," Jeff Greene, president of the council, wrote in a letter to members. "As one of the founding members of the council, Ray had true enthusiasm for the leafy green commodities, the industry and for educating our nation on the benefit of leafy greens.This was a lifelong passion for him. Ray's dedication and efforts were a crucial part of the continued success [of the Leafy Greens Council], and we all will truly miss him."
Clark, along with Robert Strube Sr. of Strube Celery & Vegetable Co. in Chicago, established the council in 1974. The council was based in St. Paul, MN, during Clark's tenure, but it is now headquartered in Waterport, NY, where Brown lives with her husband.
Originally focused on promoting marketing strategies for fresh spinach, the council has since expanded over the years to encompass all leafy greens products.
"Ray was dedicated to promoting these products, along with educating consumers on the major nutritional benefits they provide," Brown told the Produce News July 17. "Being Ray's successor, I am focused on continuing his legacy and his hopes for the Leafy Greens Council. As executive director, I look forward to being an advocate for the leafy greens commodities and the membership's interests, promote and expand membership in the council, and continue the council's marketing and educational opportunities in the produce industry."
Having grown up on a wholesale fresh market vegetable farm in the Eden Valley area of New York, the produce industry has always played a significant role in Brown's life. She attended SUNY-Oswego, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration. Since then, she has been working in the human resources field for the last six years.
Brown currently resides in Waterport, NY, on her husband's family fruit farm where they grow apples and a variety of berries, as well as operate a farm market.
"The agricultural industry as a whole has always been and continues to be important to me," she said. "Therefore, being executive director of the Leafy Greens Council provides me the opportunity to promote a very important sector of the produce industry."
Clark, who was 89 years old, is survived by his wife, Elly Clark, three children, and several grandchildren. A memorial service was scheduled for July 24 in St. Paul, MN.