Glynwood’s Harvest Awards
Glynwood’s Harvest Awards honor farmers, organizations, and businesses across the United States for innovation and leadership in sustainable agriculture and regional food systems. Since 2003, the Harvest Awards have shined a bright light on these exemplary efforts in order to inspire others.
We solicit nominations for Harvest Awards from all over the U.S. Winners are selected by the Harvest Awards Selection Committee in concert with Glynwood’s staff. The Selection Committee is made up of volunteers who are leaders and experts in sustainable agriculture and food systems.
The 2011 Glynwood Harvest Awards
The Glynwood Farmer Award: Sean Stanton
Blue Hill Farm, Great Barrington MA
A first generation farmer and self-proclaimed “hands-on learner,” Sean started farming at age 25 with 10 acres of family-owned land called North Plain Farm. There he raised heritage breed pigs, broiler chickens and laying hens within an all-natural model he crafted on time-honored principals of sustainable farming and some 21st century technology. Sean’s products were so delicious that Chef Dan Barber and his brother David of Blue Hill restaurants took notice, not only buying his meat and all the tomatoes he could plant and harvest, but eventually offering Sean the opportunity to manage their family’s own Blue Hill Farm. At Blue Hill Farm, Sean now operates 135-acres that include dairy cows, pigs, laying hens and veal; his meat products and tomatoes go to Blue Hill’s two restaurants, and his raw milk is sold to a loyal clientele in his community who drive to his farm weekly for the fresh, delicious milk.
Sean’s philosophy on sustainability is a simple one: “You learn how to make the most of the soil terrain and the natural ecosystems found on the farm. If one tries to fight against nature, it becomes a constant battle as opposed to a cooperative relationship.”
But the 35-year old Stanton is not just a successful agricultural entrepreneur – he shares his hard-earned knowledge and his successful models for an economically viable small-farm operation by mentoring other young, beginning farmers through internships on his farm. In addition, he serves on the Board of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, acts as a USDA reviewer for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and Chairman of Great Barrington’s Board of Selectmen.
The Good Food Entrepreneur Award: Farm 255, Athens GA
Olivia Sargeant & Jason Mann, Co-Owners
The public face of an ingenious model of vertical integration in the sustainable agriculture sector, Farm 255 restaurant is part of a cluster of businesses: Full Moon Farms, their own farm operation which supplies up to 50% of the produce served at Farm 255 and also supplies food to 45 families via its CSA; Farm Cart, a food cart that serves “street food” at the farmers market; Farm Burger, two neighborhood burger joints using 100% local, grass-fed beef; and Moonshine Meats, a collective of pasture-based-producers that raise all the meat for Farm 255 and Farm Burger, in addition to operating a CSA for families in Athens and Atlanta, GA. Everything is raised using sustainable and organic agricultural methods. This creative business model has proven to be successful: it supports the owner-farmers of Farm 255, the member-farmers of the cooperative, and the health and wellness of the patrons of their businesses.
Farm 255 is also a community hub, serving as a meeting place for those who appreciate locally grown fare and for those who want to learn more about it. Co-owners Olivia Sargeant and Jason Mann consider themselves agricultural entrepreneurs who wear many hats – as mentors for beginning farmer interns, young cooks and service industry professionals; as educators, teaching classes to local Future Farmers of America high schoolers, as well as lecturing at the University of Georgia; and as food activists, providing ongoing awareness about the importance of supporting local food systems to their community.
“We believe,” says co-owner Olivia Sargeant, “that our tireless work within our extended community has been a key piece to introducing the South to a new perspective on farming and food that positively contributes to all points on the food supply chain.”
The Award for Connecting Communities, Farmers and Food: Buffalo Hump Sanctuary, Pine Ridge SD
Henry John Red Cloud, Founder & President
Buffalo Hump Sanctuary is the result of Henry Red Cloud’s father’s vision of reclaiming the land of their Lakota tribe (which for generations had been leased out to non-indigenous people and businesses), and building a successful bison ranching operation that would better support their family economically and culturally. The work was started in 2000, beginning with the complex process of identifying and reclaiming the land, then restoring the overgrazed land to fertility. With the help of Village Earth, an organization that helps communities reconnect with resources that promote human well-being through empowerment and community self-reliance, Henry implemented an “Adopt a Buffalo” program; this enabled the release of over 100 head of buffalo onto the reservation, helping native bison ranchers to start or expand their ranching operations. By 2005 Henry, along with two other families on the reservation, formed the Lakota Buffalo Caretakers Cooperative, composed of Lakota ranchers who agree to comply with strict ethical standards for the care of the animals. Participating producers are then able to market their meat under the Coop’s label. To further assist in distributing the Coop’s pasture-raised and field-harvested bison, Henry and Village Earth partnered with a local entrepreneur who markets the products online and sells throughout northern Colorado. Today, even the smallest producer can find a market for their meat through the Cooperative.
The financial and cultural implications of this work for the Lakota families cannot be underestimated. About two-thirds of the reservation’s lands have been leased for generations, stripping the families of their connection to their land as well as economic opportunity – leasing the land brings only one-third of the potential profit that working the land can offer. Additionally, the reservation has been identified as “food insecure,” with little access to fresh, healthy food and a history of related medical issues that result. The production of fresh bison meat has given members of the Lakota access to nutritious protein. To further the goal of supplying fresh healthy food to its community, the Lakota Buffalo Caretakers Cooperative recently created the Tatanka Talo project to help the elderly members of the reservation by distributing fresh meat to them.
The Wave of the Future Award: AmpleHarvest.org, Newfoundland NJ
Gary Oppenheimer, Founder & Executive Director
In 2010 America had 50+million “food insecure” people living in our country; the same year, more than 40 million Americans grew fruit, vegetables and herbs in home and community gardens. Two years earlier, when Gary had become the director of a community garden, he discovered that local food pantries and shelters rarely had access to fresh vegetables or fruit. Gary did some research and discovered that an outdated, hierarchical delivery system of donated food – including fresh fruits and veggies – is first routed to a community’s regional food bank before it’s delivered, days or weeks later, to local pantries. It was then that Gary created AmpleHarvest.org, an innovative internet model that fights hunger and improves nutrition for the under-served by connecting fresh food produced by home and community gardens directly to local organizations that help feed their community.
AmpleHarvest.org is the nation’s only registry of food pantries. And the need was so dire that within one years of its launch, more than 2,000 food pantries across all 50 states had registered to receive locally-grown produce, providing an estimated 3 million pounds of fresh food to local pantries. Today, the site serves more than 4,300 food pantries nationwide and is growing at a consistent rate of about 70 more each week. In addition, the AmpleHarvest.org website is a go-to primer for those who want to learn more about hunger in America and how they can help. The inspiring work of AmpleHarvest.org was highlighted last year when CNN named Gary Oppenheimer one of their CNN Heroes for his work as a Community Crusader and when First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign asked AmpleHarvest.org to be one of their partners. AmpleHarvest.org has since been added to the White House web site.