Kendra Kimbirauskas

State Innovation Exchange

Kendra serves as the Director of Agriculture & Food Systems at the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) where she oversees the organization’s rural, agriculture and food systems work. She brings nearly two decades of experience in agriculture policy-making and rural organizing. Kendra has experience working alongside citizen groups, environmental justice advocates, and sustainable agriculture organizations to shape ecologically-responsible farm and food policies and ethical rural economic development at the state level. She and her husband live in rural Oregon where they manage their multi-species, pasture-based farm. Outside of work Kendra can be found in the garden or riding her horse.

Thought Leadership Project

A common narrative among progressives is that rural communities are all-white, conservative, and likely ignorant and racist as well – and thus that they are not worth engaging on progressive ideas. Not only is this a false narrative, but it is a dangerous story. According to the 2020 census, one in four rural Americans is Black, Indigenous, or Latino.[1] The abandonment of rural communities by the progressive movement is harmful to everyone. The absence of a progressive, race-forward analysis has left an ever-widening opening for racist ideas and analysis that blames immigrants, people of color, and non-Christian religions for the problems facing rural communities – rather than blaming a system that values corporate profits over local people.
 My project will be to produce a compelling short video to accompany the Blueprint for Rural Policy Action in the States that makes the case for why it is critical and timely for progressive legislators to be bold champions for the needs of rural communities.