Meet the four most inspiring sustainable food leaders on May 14


NRDC partners with Berkeley Food Institute to co-host Growing Green Awards 2014
Tickets for Berkeley celebration available now

By Andrea Spacht and Jonathan Kaplan

Here in the Food and Agriculture Program, we’ve been busy as bees preparing for another exciting Growing Green Awards celebration.  After five strong years of gala ceremonies to honor inspirational food champions, we’ve decided to kick it up a notch and make the awards event bigger and more accessible to wider audience.

Berkeley Food Institute is our new partner
First, we’ve partnered with the newly launched Berkeley Food Institute, which focuses on cultivating diversity, justice, resilience, and health in the way we produce, consume, and engage food.  With shared goals for making our food system more sustainable, BFI brings new networks, leadership and visibility to help promote our award winners.  

New event format so you can schmooze with the winners and other food gurus
I wish I could say we thought of this idea, but really the credit goes to the folks at Organic Valley, which is helping to support the event.  Here’s how it works:  After our time-tested-to-keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat multi-media, interactive awards celebration, we’ll transition to a reception and “learning fair.”    Yes, this means bountiful, sustainable, and locally sourced hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer.  However, this year, the reception is also designed to foster dialogue with the award winners and other experts in the field who will be available to schmooze at clearly marked stations.  In addition to the Growing Green Award winners, we have engaged scientists, producers, and educators including Claire Kremen an entomologist at University of California, Berkeley; Coach Smallwood of Rodale Institute; Joy Moore a community food reformer and school lunch activist; Ward Burroughs an organic almond and dairy producer; and a number of NRDC scientists.  All of these folks will be available to have a glass a wine with you and talk about what’s on your mind.

New award categories
Once again, the Growing Green Awards will reveal four inspiring winners.  This year’s award categories more closely align with some of the biggest issues facing sustainable food systems today, including:

Regional Food Leader
Entrepreneur or advocate who has contributed replicable, scalable tools, services, infrastructure or networks to help expand regional food systems.

Sustainable Livestock Producer
Producer of food animals who has developed and applied innovative livestock production systems that reduce reliance on antibiotics, operate in harmony with the natural environment, and provide healthy conditions for workers and communities.

Pollinator Protector
Practitioner, advocate or scientist who has demonstrated leadership in raising public attention to the critical loss of pollinators in the U.S. and has either implemented significant actions to protect or enhance pollinators, or marshalled action to win government or industry support to preserve them.

Sustainable Food and Farm Educator
Academic, educator, or non-profit leader (including extension) who has successfully contributed to the widespread adoption of sustainable agriculture and food practices through the transfer of knowledge with a significant number of food producers.

There’s even more:  NRDC and BFI will co-host a forum on sustainable livestock on the following day
Following the award ceremony and learning fair reception, the discussion will continue the following morning with a forum addressing Sustainable Livestock Innovations and Impacts (May 15).  The panelists will talk about both innovations on the ranch, opportunities for scaling up alternative production systems, and emerging science documenting the benefits of more ecologically integrated livestock production.  

New ticket price!
We’ve worked hard to ensure that ticket prices are as low as possible with the hope of making the event accessible to as broad a community as possible.  Tickets start at $30 ($20 for students) and include food and wine.

For more information about the award criteria and selection process, the ceremony, or to purchase tickets, please visit our website: