CFSA Awards 2010

Keeping the Sustainable Food Movement Moving: CFSA Announces 2010 Sustainable Agriculture Awards

 

The Carolina  Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) has named this year’s sustainable  agriculture award recipients. The awards were announced December 3 and 4 at the  25th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Winston-Salem, NC,  a gathering of over 800 sustainable farmers, ag. advocates, educators, and  experts.  These institutions 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.

 

The award recipients are:

Business of the Year, Weeping  Radish Farm Brewery, Jarvisburg, NC. Located on  24 acres in Jarvisburg, NC, this eastern North Carolina enterprise is anything  but your average brewery.  Of course the  beer is superb, painstakingly crafted from the finest ingredients according to  the highest German standards; but preserving the craft of traditional brewing  is only a part of the Weeping Radish mission.   Envisioned as “the ultimate project featuring all the elements of  sustainable farming, educating the urban population, and integrating it with  the now famous Terra Madre concept,” Weeping Radish Farm Brewery has become a  model for sustainable food ventures everywhere.   Owner Uli Bennewitz’s commitment to “good, clean, and fair food” is  evident throughout the property, from the Master Butcher’s shop, which features  the finest in-house charcuterie made from all locally sourced meats, to the  restaurant, which showcases vegetables, herbs, and eggs from its very own  14-acre farm.  Educational tours and  festivals throughout the year complete the package, promoting a sense of  community as well as ecological responsibility.

 

Institution of the Year, Cabarrus County, NC.  With “a vision of Cabarrus as a county in  which our children learn, our citizens participate, our dreams matter, [and] our  families and neighbors thrive,” the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners and John Day,  Cabarrus County Manager, have worked hard to make their community a truly  sustainable one.  In addition to  implementing a variety of policies designed to curb water and energy usage as  well as air quality issues, the Board and Mr. Day have also made a marked  commitment to developing a local, sustainable food system.  Hit hard in recent years by the prevalence of  diet-related illness, sprawling development , and the loss of historically  profitable manufacturing facilities, Cabarrus County has fought back by  reaching within, introducing its first ever farm incubator program and Food  Policy Council earlier this year.  The  incubator program will train new sustainable farmers to help increase the  supply of fresh, healthy food while also keeping land in agricultural  production.  The Food Policy Council,  lead by local farmer and author Aaron Newton, will educate the citizens of  Cabarrus County about the link between food, health, and natural resource preservation.  Finally, the leadership of Debbie Bost,  Cabarrus County Extension Director, has been truly exemplary and is making a  big difference for Cabarrus County’s citizens.

 

Activist of the Year, Harry and Elaine Hamil, Black Mountain, NC.  Harry Hamil and his wife, Elaine, have worked  over 15 years to help rebuild the local, healthy food economy in Black  Mountain, NC.  They have operated the  year-round Black Mountain Farmers’ Market since 2003 and coordinated the area’s  first farmers’ tailgate market, remaining active in its management until  2008.  Prior to that, Mr. Hamil worked 35  years in the highly regulated insurance market, analyzing and complying with  local, state, and federal statutes.  This  experience came in handy, however, as big agribusiness launched its drive to  impose industrial-scale food safety on every small farm and food-maker in the  country.  Beginning in July of 2009, Mr.  Hamil waged a tireless campaign to expose the harm that federal food safety  proposals would do to small local food producers, including the Senate’s Food  Safety Modernization Act, S.510, its companion bill in the House of  Representatives, HR 2749, and the National Leafy Greens Marketing  Agreement.  “His thorough research and  his knowledge of the business side of local food made him an outspoken and  insightful counterpoint to the misinformation published by so-called food  safety advocates,” said Roland McReynolds, CFSA Executive Director.  He organized protests, brought politicians to  meet producers first hand, and went head-to-head with FDA bureaucrats.

 

Farmers of the Year, Steve and  Lee Tate, Goat Lady Dairy, Climax, NC.  When the Tates began Goat Lady Dairy back in  1995, their mission was clear: to nurture “the direct relationship between  urban consumers, local farmers and the land.”   This dedication to environmental stewardship and the creation of a  sustainable local food economy has certainly served them well; their  cheese-making operation is now thriving, and they have expanded the business into  2010 with their first ever CSA.  Designed  to not only provide community members with the freshest, healthiest produce and  dairy products, the Goat Lady CSA will also serve as an educational opportunity  for workers and guests alike to learn about organic production and seasonal eating.  It will also serve as a mentoring program for  interns and beginning farmers.
North  Carolina Cooperative Extension Agent of the Year, Taylor  Williams, Carthage, NC.  “Taylor Williams has quietly and steadfastly  built a legacy of sustainability which continues to grow and develop branches  throughout the Sandhills,” said Craven F. Hudson, Moore County Extension  Director.  In addition to helping  numerous local farmers and gardeners adopt sustainable practices throughout his  Extension career, Mr. Williams has also played a vital role in the recent  expansion of area farmers’ markets and the start-up of Sandhills Farm 2 Table  Cooperative, a 1,000-member organization that now delivers weekly boxes to more  than 500 subscribers!  Along with  Richmond County Agent, Paige Burns, Mr. Williams has also implemented a  farmer-to-farmer education program that helps growers learn from the  sustainable operations of their colleagues.   It is for this tireless dedication to a sustainable local food system  that Mr. Williams is receiving this award.   “It makes a huge difference when extension agents champion the cause of  sustainable farming,” said Roland McReynolds, CFSA Executive  Director.

 
South Carolina Cooperative Extension Agent of  the Year, Danny Howard, Greenville, SC.  Danny Howard  is highly dedicated to helping farmers transition to sustainable, organic  operations as well as developing the larger local food system.  In his capacity as Administrative Lead Agent  for Greenville County Extension, Mr. Howard works hard to disseminate pertinent  information to the community, particularly that concerning regulations for  farmers’ markets and trainings for growers in sustainable practices.  He regularly attends workshops on sustainable  agriculture and Integrated Pest Management and can often be found attending  farmers markets in his region to offer his services and support his  growers.  “Many of these growers when  asked would call Danny a friend before they name him as their local extension  agent,” said Kelly Gilkerson , Clemson University Research Associate.  Mr. Howard also works with the Beekeepers  Association, Greenville Livestock Association, Greenville Forestry and Wildlife  Society, and Foothills Market.

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