Our Story

Gabon, Central Africa. 1996.

Kria was founded by Bill Lofy and Dan Chang, two midwesterners who met in the rainforest of Central Africa 20 years ago. Both are returned Peace Corps volunteers who served in Africa and took different paths after their service.

Bill pursued a career in politics and public policy, serving as an aide to U.S. Senators and governors across the country, including Senator Paul Wellstone and as Chief of Staff to Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. Bill is also a writer and author of three books published by university presses.

Dan, meanwhile, grew a thriving beer business. After honing his brewing skills in Seattle, he moved back to the Midwest and co-founded Rush River Brewing in his home state of Wisconsin. Based near the Minnesota border and serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, Rush River quickly established a reputation as one of the premier craft brews in the Twin Cities area.

Assomada, Cape Verde, 2017. 

Assomada, Cape Verde, 2017. 

Throughout their respective careers, and despite geographic differences, Dan and Bill hung on to their friendship, and to the hankering for adventure and service that led them to Peace Corps in the first place. 

 
 
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Dan Chang

Dan Chang was born and raised in Wisconsin in a cranberry growing family.   After graduating from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and attending graduate school at Duke University, Dan served for three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Gabon, Central Africa. 

In Gabon, Dan acted as a volunteer extension agent in agriculture and aquaculture, working with remote rural villages to supplement their diet with nutritious food and sustainable farming practices.  After two years of volunteering, he served as a Volunteer Leader in Gabon, managing the logistics and outreach work of over a dozen volunteers.  Dan also went on to train incoming volunteers in agroforestry, aquaculture and motorcycle mechanics.  He is conversant in French.

Upon his return to the United States, Dan moved to Seattle, Washington where he apprenticed as a cellarman and eventually became a brewer in a leading brewery in the craft movement of the late nineties.

In 2000, Dan and a fellow Seattle brewer moved back to Minnesota and worked as a brewer at Summit Brewing Co in St. Paul before co-founding Rush River Brewing Co in River Falls, Wisconsin.  As founder, Dan managed the logistics of manufacturing and production while continuously making sales calls and community building.  After fifteen years of brewing beer and scrubbing tanks, Dan exited Rush River to found Kria.

Dan’s work at Kria focuses on creating a decentralized and cooperative network of small Vermont businesses that serve the therapeutic plant industry.  Our goal is to blunt the dominance of Big Pharma and to foster a community of herbalists to responsibly farm the Vermont Way.  We aim to promote the lost knowledge surrounding herbalism and responsible farming.

When not in the field or wandering trout streams, Dan lives in Charlotte, Vermont with his wife Anna and their two children, Hank and Beatrix.  

 
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Bill Lofy

Bill Lofy has worked in a range of senior positions in advocacy and governance: Chief of Staff to Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont, senior strategist to Senator Paul Wellstone and numerous gubernatorial and U.S. Senate campaigns, and advisor to non-profit advocacy organizations. The author of three books published by university presses (University of Michigan and University of Minnesota), Bill provides strategic advice  to businesses, campaigns, government leaders, and advocacy groups.

As Chief of Staff to the governor of Vermont for his first term and successful re-election, Bill oversaw the executive office of the governor, managing all aspects of the governor’s agenda. He wrote three  State of the State addresses and provided final quality control and approval of all communications materials from the governor’s office. He successfully led the Executive Office of the Governor through Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s worst natural disaster in a century.

Bill has both hands-on and academic training in international development. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Cape Verde) with a Master’s degree in Public Affairs (concentration in Development Studies) from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is fluent in Portuguese Creole and conversant in Portuguese.

Bill’s work at Kria focuses on strategic communications. Bill applies his background in advocacy, writing, and strategic management to new investment projects as well as clients in the worlds of business, politics, and non-profits. 

Bill lives in Jericho, Vermont with his wife Jamie, and their boys, Ben and Silas.