CFSA was thrilled to present this year’s awards at the 32nd Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Durham, NC. These organizations and individuals have made outstanding contributions to the sustainable food movement in North and South Carolina and have helped make the Carolinas one of the fastest growing sustainable agricultural sectors in the country.
Organization of the Year: Midlands Food Alliance
The Midlands Food Alliance is this year’s winner of the Organization of the Year award. Working for a resilient local food system that ensures all residents of the Midlands region have access to healthy and affordable food produced with dignity while providing a healthy and sustainable living for farmers and protecting our environment, the Midlands Food Alliance has been able to create a support system and network in their short history. Accomplishments include organizing events such as a farmer/chef “mash-up,” creating a local food and farm guide, and advocating for the creation of the Columbia Food Policy Committee, the first municipal food policy council in South Carolina.
Farmers of the Year: Kim and Kevin Meehan of Turtle Run Farm
Kim and Kevin Meehan of Saxapahaw, NC’s Turtle Run Farm have been innovative leaders in sustainable farming in North Carolina for over 20 years. In addition to being outstanding vegetable growers, they are enthusiastic advocates for the local farming community, as an energetic engineer and inventor, and an extraordinary sharer of knowledge on a variety of essential farm building, mechanical, and repair skills. You would be hard-pressed to find a farm in the region that hasn’t benefited from their sharing nature.
Beginning Farmers of the Year: William Lyons and Marie Williamson, Bluebird Farm
William Lyons and Marie Williamson, of Bluebird Farm in Morganton, NC were honored with the Beginning Farmers of the Year award. As owners of a small, diversified livestock and vegetable farm, they are providing their community with the best vegetables, meats, and eggs money can buy relying on techniques that improve the health of the soil and farm ecosystem. They are also training the next generation of farmers by offering apprenticeship opportunities to aspiring farmers.
Business of the Year: Swamp Rabbit Cafe
The Business of the Year is the Swamp Rabbit Cafe, a Greenville, SC store that has helped transform the local food scene in the region since opening in 2011. Owners Mary Walsh and Jacqueline Oliver have prioritized local farmers and food businesses, regularly purchasing from over 200 local providers and are now expanding their offerings with a butchery.
Activist of the Year: Shorlette Ammons
Shorlette Ammons is this 2017 Activist of the Year, awarded in part for her work with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems as the Community Food Systems Farming Systems. Shorlette has worked with an urban farm in Goldsboro, NC, on food access, justice, and equity projects. Through her racial equity work, Shorlette has combined grassroots advocacy with exemplary leadership to demonstrate how systematic change can take place.
2017 Extension Educators of the Year: Jim Hamilton and Millie Davenport
The 2017 Extension Educators of the Year were presented in cooperation with Cooperative Extension. The NC Extension Educator of the Year is Jim Hamilton, County Extension Director of Watauga County, and Millie Davenport, area consumer horticulture agent and director of the Clemson Home and Garden Information Center was named the South Carolina Sustainable Agriculture Agent of the Year.