About the Russell Foundation
The Russell Foundation was established in 2003 as a private foundation under Section 501(c)(3) and a 509(a) of the Internal revenue Code (IRC). The Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation is based in New Boston, NH and is focused on assisting landowners and farmers through a customized approach to permanent protection of the land and the important farmland soils, secure access and tenure to farmland for farms, and farm viability that focuses on sustainable holistic food production. The Russell Foundation prioritizes support toward the protection of critically important soils and local economically sustainable farms that are integrated into the community and ecosystem.
Ian McSweeney, Executive Director
Ian’s life experiences deeply root his focus towards the protection of farmland and support for sustainable farms. Ian was raised on a small sustainable backyard farm and also experienced New England production agriculture evolution during the 1980’s. Ian and his wife Liz protected their own property with a conservation easement through USDA/NRCS and actively manage their forest as a Certified Tree Farm and their property as a ecological habitat preserve, keep bees, and lease their farmland to a diversified sustainable organic vegetable and poultry CSA.
Ian is a leader in the farmland conservation, transfer and tenure movement in NH. As Executive Director at the Russell Foundation, Ian is able to support local, sustainable agricultural farms. The Foundation assists landowners and farmers by building a customized project by project approach to permanent protection of land, transfer of farm and sustainable ecologically diverse management. The Foundation also provides assistance to secure access and tenure to farmland and viability that focuses on sustainable holistic food production.
Ian is involved with and has worked with individuals and organizations on the local, state, regional and national level. These include: farmers and farmland owners, town zoning, conservation, planning and agricultural Boards and Commissions, County Conservation Districts, Regional Planning Commissions, University Extension, the Coverts Program and United States Department of Agriculture / Natural Resources Conservation Services. Ian is an active member of the Board of Trustees of High Mowing School and Agrarian Trust and the NH Farm Network and an Advisory Board member to Brookford Farm and Temple-Wilton Community Farm. Ian also participates in many farmland conservation, farmland access and farm and food system initiatives. He is a consultant to national farmland conservation, farmland investment and organic food system organizations. Ian also speaks and presents on these focus areas locally, regionally, and nationally.
Barbara, a graduate of Lesley University, taught school for three years prior to joining a small entrepreneurial educational publisher in Billerica, MA. She was their first full-time employee. Barbara was directly involved in the building of Curriculum Associates and left that company in 1992, after 19 years, as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In 1993, she formed her own entrepreneurial publishing company, Options Publishing, LLC. Based in Merrimack, NH, Options developed supplemental educational materials for ‘At Risk’ students in grades K–8 nationwide. In 2005, Options Publishing was sold. This allowed Gordon and Barbara to form the Russell Foundation and pursue their passion for land protection. Today, Barbara serves on two, for profit educational publishing boards as well as three, not for profit boards, Lesley University, The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and NH Public Radio.
Gordon is president of the Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation. He taught environmental studies in public schools in NH and MA, retiring in 1978. As an avocation, he has devoted years to in-field mentoring of college interns who were majoring in various aspects of the environment and conservation. He has received many awards for his volunteerism and for his five decades of conservation work in land and water protection. Gordon and his wife Barbara live in New Boston, NH on a 100-acre meadow.