Welcome to our new interim co-directors Irene Ruiz and Doug Paddock

In the summer of 2016, I was talking with a co-worker about my interest in local food procurement and regenerative agriculture and she referred me to IORC, a local grassroots organization working on those very issues. I recall being pretty surprised by how large a role members played in IORC’s campaigns and how interested everyone was in including me, a brand new member, in that work. Six years later, I still believe that IORC’s unique member-led structure is one of its biggest assets–we empower our members to make a difference in their communities. 

This year has brought big changes for IORC. Like many of you, Breland Draper was one of the first people I met at IORC. Breland has been with the organization since its beginning in 2013 when he started as a community organizer before becoming staff director. We are all familiar with his welcoming nature and dedication to community organizing. After nine years of service, Breland departed IORC in the fall of 2022. While we will miss Breland at IORC, we wish him all the best in his future endeavors. 

With every period of change comes challenges and opportunities. We want to take this time of transition to reflect on and celebrate IORC’s past achievements and, at the same time, look forward to IORC’s next phase with renewed excitement and vigor. We look forward to catching up with you at our virtual annual meeting November 19 at 10am.

I’m thrilled to announce that our board of directors has chosen Irene Ruiz and Doug Paddock to serve as interim Co-Directors. I am confident in their ability to succeed in this shared leadership role while also allowing both of their individual strengths, skill sets, and passions to shine. This is a pivotal moment for IORC and I know Doug and Irene are the right people to lead IORC into its next phase. I hope you’ll all join me in welcoming them into their new positions. 

In my time at IORC, I have had the privilege of watching the organization grow and I am proud of the work our staff and members have done to better communities across Idaho. IORC’s commitment to advancing clean and renewable energy, supporting local food systems and regenerative agricultural practices, and advocating for environmental and farmworker justice is as strong as ever. As an IORC member, I hope you feel as inspired as I do to continue IORC’s work into this next phase of grassroots organizing. And if you’ve been meaning to get more involved, there is no better time to do so. 

Stephanie Rael
IORC Board Chair