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2012 Growing Green Awards Winners

The 2012 Growing Green Awards honored an outstanding individual in the following four categories: Food Producer, Business Leader, Food Justice Leader, and Young Food Leader.

Click for information on the 2014 winners. >>



FOOD PRODUCER

Gabe Brown
Brown's Ranch / Bismarck, ND

Gabe Brown, owner of Brown's Ranch in Bismarck, North Dakota, is NRDC's 2012 Growing Green Awards winner in the Food Producer category. For over 15 years, Gabe has merged back-to-basics agrarian practices with innovative science-based sustainable farming techniques on his 5,400 acre diversified family ranch. For Gabe, healthy soil is the renewable resource that sustains all. By making use of a 100 percent zero-till cropping system, mob grazing, and polyculture cover crop and polyculture cash crop rotations, he has successfully transformed conventional grazing and cropping operations into models of regenerative agriculture. Brown's Ranch also integrates its cow-calf and grass finished livestock operations with a highly diverse cropping rotation, which includes over 25 different cash and cover crops resulting in high yields and strong net profits. Gabe's trailblazing work has made him a leader in regenerative ranch management.

Read Gabe's blog post: Regenerating Landscapes For a Sustainable Future


BUSINESS LEADER

George Siemon
Organic Valley / La Farge, WI

George Siemon, CEO of Wisconsin-based Organic Valley is NRDC's 2012 Growing Green Award winner in the Business Leader category. For the last 25 years, George has led the way in organizing organic farmers, securing fair pay prices, and building market demand for organic foods. Under George's leadership, Organic Valley has grown into one of the nation's leading organic brands and America's largest cooperative of organic farmers, representing more than 1,700 families nationwide. George has also played a critical role in developing the national organic standards for USDA Organic certification. His entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to sustainable agriculture illuminates how businesses can successfully learn from nature and be change agents in defense of our natural resources.

Read George's blog post: Nature is Our Teacher: A Social Experiment Disguised as a Business


FOOD JUSTICE LEADER

Lucas Benitez and Greg Asbed
Coalition of Immokalee Workers / Immokalee, FL

Lucas Benitez and Greg Asbed, co-founders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) are NRDC's 2012 Growing Green Awards winners in the Food Justice category. As co-founders of CIW, a 5,000 strong worker-based human rights organization, Lucas and Greg have revolutionized Florida's $600 million fresh tomato industry, transforming it from "one of the most repressive employers in the country to one quickly becoming the most progressive and equitable in the fruit and vegetable industry." CIW is creating today's blueprint for farmworker justice by spearheading historic fair food agreements with groundbreaking farm labor standards, fair farmworker wages and labor rights education through their Fair Food Program, which is now implemented on over 90 percent of Florida's tomato farms. Today, ten multi-billion dollar national companies have signed on to CIW's Fair Food Program and CIW continues to forge critical alliances among tomato growers, workers, food retailers and the community.

Read Lucas and Greg's blog post: Field Notes on Food Justice: Why Your Local Grocery Store Makes Farmworkers Poor

Read Barry Estabrook's blog post on Coalition of Immokalee Workers: Sowing Justice in the Florida Tomato Fields


YOUNG FOOD LEADER

Andrea Northup
DC Farm to School Network / Washington, D.C.

Andrea Northup is NRDC's 2012 Growing Green Awards winner in the Young Food Leader category. Before the age of 25, Andrea founded the D.C. Farm to School Network, an organization behind the movement for healthier school food in 200 public schools and charter schools throughout Washington, D.C. Andrea is not only transforming school lunch menus by charting alliances between D.C. schools and local food producers, but she is also influencing policy in the nation's capital. In 2010, Andrea was the principal architect of the farm to school provisions in the landmark "Healthy Schools Act", legislation that makes D.C. one of the first jurisdictions in the country to provide financial incentives to schools that serve fresh, locally grown products and infuse food and nutrition education into classrooms. Andrea explains how her program works to improve child nutrition, provide economic opportunities for growers and teach students eating habits that last a lifetime.

Read Andrea's blog post: Connecting the Dots: The Journey from Farm to Cafeteria Tray


Meet the 2012 Growing Green Awards Panel of Judges

NRDC is grateful to the following sustainable food leaders who served on the Growing Green Awards selection panel:

Myra Goodman

Myra Goodman, and her husband Drew, are the Co-Founders of Earthbound Farm, the largest grower of organic produce in North America. She is the author of Food to Live By: the Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook and The Earthbound Cook: 250 Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet, as well as a regular contributor to Bon Appetít magazine. In 2003, Myra opened the United States' third certified organic kitchen at Earthbound Farm's Farm Stand in Carmel Valley. Myra and Drew have received numerous awards in recognition of their environmental stewardship, including Global Green USA's Corporate Environmental Leadership Award in 2003 and the Organic Trade Association's Organic Leadership Award in 2008. (Photo: Earthbound Farm)

Nikki Henderson

Nikki Henderson is the Executive Director of People's Grocery in Oakland, CA, a non-profit organization working to improve the health and economy of West Oakland through a local and just food system. Henderson previously worked with Green for All and Slow Food USA. In 2009, she co-founded Live Real, a national collaborative of food movement organizations committed to strengthening and expanding the youth food movement in the United States. In 2010, Henderson was featured in ELLE magazine as one of five Gold Awardees.

Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan is a distinguished author on food, agriculture, and the environment. He has authored numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (2010), In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008), The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006), and The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World (2001). Pollan was named to the 2010 TIME 100, and has received numerous awards for his writing, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series. In 2003, Pollan was appointed as the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. (Photo: Alia Malley)

Josh Viertel

Josh Viertel is the President of Slow Food USA, a national non-profit with members working together to create a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet. Josh previously co-founded and co-directed the Yale Sustainable Food Project at Yale University. Prior to his work at Yale, Josh started Mamabrook Farm, a small organic vegetable farm that provided food to local restaurants and farmers’ markets. Josh graduated from Harvard University with degrees in philosophy and literature. In 2010, he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.


Growing Green Awards | 2013 Winners | 2012 Winners | 2011 Winners | 2010 Winners | 2009 Winners

last revised 5/14/2014

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