Honored with Awards at the 36th annual EcoFarm Conference
The annual Awards Ceremony is a yearly highlight of the annual EcoFarm Conference. This year, the Stewards of Sustainable Agriculture Award, also known as the “Sustie" was awarded to Frank and Karen Morton, Susan Clark, and Ken Kimes and Sandra Ward. The Advocate of Social Justice Award or the "Justie" was awarded to The Homeless Garden Project and accepted by Executive Director Darrie Ganzhorn. Tessa Ramsay was honored with the "Golden Pliers" award, honoring those that are always ready to roll up their sleeves to get the job done. We are grateful to these individuals for their tremendous contributions to food and farming.
Frank and Karen Morton
Susan Clark is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, has an M.A. in Urban Studies from Occidental College, was a Coro Foundation Fellow in Public Affairs, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Venezuela. She directed community programs for Lone Mountain College, was the Executive Director of Columbia Foundation for 35 years, and the Mortimer Fleishhacker Foundation for five years, and served on the board of directors of the Council on Foundations and Northern California Grantmakers. She is a member of the board of directors of the Arkay Foundation and serves on the advisory board for Upstream, which promotes a closed-loop materials economy.
She has been honored by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and Natural Resources Defense Council (Forces of Nature Award) for her early advocacy, and long-term philanthropic leadership, to promote sustainable food and farming systems as solutions to environmental and social challenges of food production. Susan is the Director of Programs for Gaia Fund, a family foundation with grantmaking focused on Sustainable Agriculture, Effective Democracy, and Jewish Life and Culture in San Francisco. Thanks to her efforts, people from all over the world, including Cuba this year, have been able to attend the EcoFarm Conference.
Ken Kimes and Sandra Ward
Ken Kimes and Sandra Ward, husband and wife, and co-owners of Greensward/New Natives established their greenhouse growing microgreens and sprouts shortly after they arrived in Santa Cruz, Ca. in 1980. They received their organic certification from CCOF in 1982. Their farming career spans 35 years. Their greens are distributed in the Bay Area to the wholesale market, along with direct delivery to retail stores and 8 farmers markets year round. They employ 12 full time and 5 part-time employees.
In addition to managing their farm full time, Kimes and Ward are both outspoken activists who dedicated more than thirty years to the sustainable agriculture movement. Including helping to establish CCOF, Santa Cruz Community Farmers Market, and standing up for organically grown seed.
The Homeless Garden Project
The Homeless Garden Project, (HGP) celebrating 25 years last year, provides transitional employment, job training and support services to people who are homeless. In complement, the project operates a thriving and vibrant community education and volunteer program that served nearly 2500 people last year. HGP's programs take place in their 3.5 acre organic farm and related enterprises.Workforce development research shows that real work experience works better than stand alone training in preparing people to transition into jobs. This is what the Homeless Garden Project does. Trainees are paid for their work, it is real work, the work of operating our farm, CSA, Farm Stand and Value-added Enterprise. They can stay in the program for up to one year and the overarching goal--a bold and daring goal--is that trainees leave the program with jobs and housing. Last year, 92% of the graduating class obtained a job and housing.
Another way HGP's produce is used is through their program known as Feed Two Birds. In partnership with their donor community, trainees, staff and volunteers grew, harvested and distributed organic produce to an estimated 1400 low income people via 8 nonprofit partners such as Santa Cruz AIDS Project and the River Street Shelter each week during our 23 week harvest season.
The project's programs exist at the intersection of urban agriculture and food-justice movements, transitional jobs and job training, homeless services and therapeutic horticulture. There is a synergy among these purposes and ideals in daily practice at the farm.
featured: Darrie Ganzhorn, Homeless Garden Project's executive director
Golden Pliers Award
Tessa Ramsay grew up in Fairfax, California, steeped in a community where sustainability was the norm, particularly when it came to organic food (Good Earth Natural Foods!). In her first sociology class at Cabrillo College with Jackie Logg, Tessa volunteered with Homeless Garden Project under Darrie Ganzhorn and was motivated to work through the summer of 2013. Her time at the garden led her to becoming an intern at EcoFarm. She flies daily between college, horse training, and volunteering. Tessa is constantly inspired by the people of the regenerative agriculture movement and considers her "work" to be a hobby that is slowly transforming into a career. Tessa has helped organize the EcoFarm Conference, often behind the scenes, whether helping in the kitchen, organizing with farmers, or managing data, she is always ready to lend a hand, with cheery disposition.
photo credit: Elizabeth Birnbaum, thecuratedfeast.org
Photo Highlights from the 2016 EcoFarm Conference
Click the album for a mashup of photos from this year's conference by Broken Banjo Photography. And in the spirit of love...this being February, you can really feel joy emanating out of this year's photo booth!
featured: Demonstration at the EcoFarm's annual Seed Swap & Scion Exchange.
Videos of Conference Plenaries now available on YouTube!
Click to visit EcoFarm's YouTube channel, now featuring the 2016 EcoFarm Plenary presentations and keynote speakers.
featured: This year's Cuban farmer delegates gifting a hand-carved heart to EcoFarm.
Workshop Audio Recordings coming soon
Stay tuned for the recordings of the 2016 Conference workshops, available for purchase as MP3 downloads soon! Sign up for EcoFarm's monthly E-News for timely updates.
That's all for now folks!