The recipients of the 2012 Oregon Organic Coalition (OOC) Awards For Excellence were announced today at a celebratory luncheon at the Ecotrust Building in Portland. Nearly 70 representatives from Oregon’s farming, retail, academic, political and food production communities honored these organic innovators. A highlight of the annual Organically Grown in Oregon Week, the event featured a keynote address by Susan Sokol-Blosser, wine industry pioneer, community activist, environmental advocate and author.
Awards were given to individuals and organizations that demonstrated innovation in organic practices, service to the industry, expansion of organic business opportunities and overall achievement in the state’s organic industry. This year, OOC recognized accomplishments in furthering the quality and growth of organic food in seven areas: processing, retail, wholesale distribution, organic advocacy, organic policy and farm crops. The following individuals and organizations were honored with OOC Awards of Excellence:
Processor: Sweet Creek Foods
For over 11 years, Paul and Judy Fuller have owned and operated Sweet Creek Foods in Elmira, Oregon. Their jarred, organic foods have become a popular commodity across the Northwest. Their certified organic product line, sourced from Oregon farms and fishermen, includes fruit spreads, pickled products, salsas, enchilada sauces and Oregon Albacore Tuna. As serious crafters of food storage and preservation, their products are packaged in safe BPA-free glass jars using traditional canning methods. For their commitment to organic standards, superior packaging and locally-sourced ingredients, Sweet Creek Foods is granted the Award for Excellence as an Organic Processor.
Retailer: LifeSource Natural Foods
With an abundant array of organic produce and foods, LifeSource Natural Foods has served the community of Salem, Oregon since 1994. They have developed a strong community presence by hosting events focused on organic education, cooking and health. After installing solar panels in 2010, they became an EarthWise certified. In 2012, they installed a Lizard Monitoring system to better control and track the temperature of their perishable foods. For their work in distributing organics education to their community, improving their sustainable business practices and supporting organic produce, LifeSource Natural Foods is granted the Award for Excellence as an Organics Retailer.
In 1975, Dick and Pat Turanski started their small, family-owned business selling a few simple beekeeping supplies and natural honey. Since then, their business has grown into a large company that offers over 1,000 certified organic, fair trade and “bee-friendly” products. Even as operations expanded, the company maintained its environmental and social practices. They have a strong sustainability mission focused on reducing waste and consumption, which prompted them to upgrade distribution trucks to use B20 hybrid-bio fuels. They are a proud member of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and offer fair-trade honey from a Maya Vinic Cooperative organized by beekeepers in Mexico. For continuing to improve the quality of organic products, the sustainability of eco-systems and the fair business practices in the industry, GloryBee is granted the Award of Excellence as an Organics Wholesaler.
Farm (Crops): Gathering Together Farm
John Eveland and Sally Brewer have nurtured Gathering Together Farm along the Mary’s River in Philomath, Oregon for 25 years. The farm supplies fresh, organic produce across the state and operates an on-farm restaurant and farm stand. On their 50 acres of land they grow enough produce to serve over 300 CSA members, retailers and grocery stores in Oregon. Recently their farm became Food Justice Certified, which means that their produce represents the honesty and integrity of the fair trade label and that their workers are treated justly and compensated fairly. For their long-standing commitment to organic agriculture in Oregon and treating their employees with respect, Gathering Together Farm is granted the Award of Excellence for Organic Farm Crops.
Farm (Livestock): Deck Family Farm
Located in Junction City, Oregon, the Deck Family Farm raises free-range, organic meats that can be purchased all over Oregon, and they even offer a CSA featuring beef, pork, lamb, chicken and eggs. They respect the land and their livestock by practicing organic farming methods and treating their animals humanely. Recently their beef received Animal Welfare Approved certification, honoring the quality and standards their brand has worked tirelessly to achieve. For their efforts to utilize resources with sustainable and humane morals, Deck Family Farm is granted the Award of Excellence for Organic Farm Livestock.
Organic Advocate (Individual): Frank Morton
As a seed cultivator, preserver and purveyor, Frank knows the benefit of ensuring that organic, heirloom seeds have healthy grounds to grow for many generations. He began by selling salad greens. With his wife, Karen, he developed wild garden genepools and created a hyperdiversity of green gardens. For the past four years, they have introduced 22 varieties to the seed trade. Recently, Frank helped stop the spread of large-scale canola growth in Oregon, which would have threatened the genetic purity of many organic farms and seed growers. For his innovative and activist efforts in the production and preservation of organic seed viability in Oregon, Frank Morton is granted the Award for Excellence as an Individual Organic Advocate.
Organic Advocate (Organization): Friends of Family Farmers
Friends of Family Farmers is an organization that supports sustainable farming by hosting informative events on agricultural policy, provides education on land-linking programs and lobbies for issues that affect or support socially and environmentally just farming in Oregon. Their most recent success was their involvement in a lawsuit to stop the Oregon Department of Agriculture from reversing the canola rule in the Willamette Valley. Friends of Family Farmers is an organization that will push for stronger legislative support to many organic farms whose voices are so often ignored. For their mission to ensure the survival of sustainable agriculture by exposing threats to the industry and providing fair representation of these farmers’ needs through political, social and media platforms, Friends of Family Farmers is granted the Award of Excellence as an Organic Organization Advocate.