Matt Russell has spent his career advocating for social justice—the first 11 years training for and working in ministry, 16 years doing secular work focused primarily on economic and environmental sustainability, and since April 2018 has been drawing on both backgrounds to lead Iowa Interfaith Power & Light. He studied for priesthood with the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines from 1994 to 1996 and earned an M.S. in Rural Sociology from Iowa State University in 2003. Matt worked at the Drake University Agricultural Law Center (2006-2018) focused on a number of agriculture and rural development issues including the role farmers can play in helping to solve the climate crisis. He served on the USDA Iowa Farm Service Agency State Committee from 2010 through 2017. Prior to Drake, he was an organizer for Iowa Citizen Action Network, worked for Catholic Rural Life, and taught religion at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. His work on sustainability has taken him to 26 states, the District of Columbia, Scotland, Italy, Canada, and Cuba. Matt is a fifth generation Iowa farmer. He and his husband Patrick Standley operate Coyote Run Farm. They raise fresh produce, heirloom tomato plants, and grass-finished beef.
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