The Farmers Feast at our annual conference is a legendary event that pairs amazing chefs with our farmers’ delicious organic food. This year’s Feast will be Saturday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m., and you don’t have to attend Conference to buy a ticket.
After we dig into the Farmers Feast, we will experience an evening of inspiration from keynote speaker Will Harris and the 2019 Award Winners. The dinner and program will be followed by musical entertainment (TBA).
Join us in celebrating our 2019 Award Winners at the Famous Farmers Feast on Saturday Feb. 9, 2019. Our winners are . . . drum roll:
Farmer Al Clark is an organic farming pioneer. Owner of Bulloch County’s only organic farm, Clark & Sons Organics, Al comes from a long lineage of farmers. On any given day, you’ll find Al tending to the land that’s been in his family since 1832. Al’s oldest farming memory goes back to riding the tractor on his daddy’s lap as a little boy. In middle and high school, Al farmed while participating in FFA and 4-H groups, but it wasn’t until 1979 that Al started farming on his own.
During his long agriculture career, Al has served as a mentor and leader of organic farming in Georgia. He is a permanent and bright fixture at local farmers markets and has worked diligently to connect Georgia farms and families. Al hasn’t always gone the organic route. It wasn’t until 2007 that his organic certification was obtained. “I couldn’t compete with the rent [for farmland]. It’s so competitive. We farm between 300-400 acres altogether and most people are farming 1,500 to 3,000 acres and this just works for me. I like it.”
Today, the farm consists of 260 acres where peanuts, corn, and soybeans are grown – all organically. The farm also consists of a few chickens, but not a large scale operation. They’re mostly for farmers markets and things and other small scale selling. Al Clark is also beginning to sell his eggs to grocery stores. (Revised from “All On Georgia”)
About this award: Georgia’s organic agriculture community honors the state’s foremost leaders every year at the Georgia Organics conference. The Land Stewardship Award was created by Georgia Organics to honor an individual or individuals who have contributed greatly towards the organic agriculture movement in Georgia. The Land Stewardship Award has traditionally been given to a farmer, agricultural professional or researcher who has demonstrated a commitment to the tenets of organic agriculture – soil fertility, biodiversity, on-farm recycling, and water quality – and also the larger community through leadership, education, and outreach.
1997 Cynthia Hizer
1998 Norman & Bonnie Nichols
2001 Ryan Cohen
2002 Sharad Phatak
2003 Skip & Cookie Glover
2004 Andrew Stocklinski
2005 James Dean
2006 Shirley Daughtry
2007 Jerry Larson
2008 Nicolas Donck & Helen Dumba
2009 Daniel Parson
2010 Andy & Hilda Byrd
2011 Relinda Walker
2012 Carroll Johnson & Dan Evarts
2013 Lynn Pugh
2014 Celia Barss
2015 Julia Gaskin
2016 Will Harris
2017 K. Rashid Nuri 2018 Loretta & Sam Adderson
Shirley and Charles Sherrod are civil rights pioneers who’ve spent a lifetime advocating for the rights of Black landowners and farmers in South Georgia and internationally. The couple first met while working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Charles was one of the founding members and one of the first field coordinators of SNCC. The two worked together to support black families who were being driven from their land as a consequence of participating in the movement.
In 1969, the Sherrods founded New Communities to provide a safe haven for Black farmers. The organization was designed to be a farm collective on 5,735 acres in Lee County and became one of the original models for community land trusts in the United States.
The vision for the land was to become fully self-sufficient. Despite personal, cultural, and institutionalized discrimination, New Communities acted on that vision through the 1970s. They eventually would farm over 1,800 acres and operate a farmer’s market and greenhouse.
In 1985, New Communities began what became a 10-year
court battle to reverse foreclosure and was eventually granted restitution in the historic Pigford v. Glickman case.
Today, the Sherrods continue their work with New Communities. The vision of New Communities is to become a thriving organization that is a global model for community empowerment through agribusiness, education, social awareness and wealth building. Distilled, the vision can be summed in three words – “PRESERVE. FARM. CULTURE.”
Shirley and Charles Sherrod are pillars in both the South Georgia and national agriculture landscapes. Charles served as an elected member of the Albany City Council from 1976 to 1990. Shirley was appointed by the Obama Administration as USDA Georgia State Director for Rural Development in 2009. She was the first Black person to hold that position. Currently, Shirley is the Executive Director of the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education and is a 2018 James Beard Leadership Award recipient.
(Revised from New Communities website)
About this award: In 2009, Georgia Organics established the Barbara Petit Pollinator Award to honor an individual or organization for outstanding community leadership in Georgia’s sustainable farming and food movement. The award acknowledges exceptional success in advancing Georgia Organics’ mission by spreading—pollinating—the movement throughout community life, such as the food industry, faith communities, public agencies, schools and institutions. The award is named after Barbara Petit, a committed leader, culinary professional and organizer who served as President of Georgia Organics from 2003-2009. Petit passed away in October, 2015.
2009 Barbara Petit
2010 Julie Shaffer
2011 Teri Hamlin
2012 Christine Anthony & Owen Masterson
2013 Helen Dubose
2014 Teri Schell
2015 Eric Wagoner
2016 Erin Croom
2017 Tony & Linda Scharko 2018 Kim Hines