Organic Educator of the Year Award

Each year at the OGS Spring Conference, we recognize a local leader for their dedication, steadfastness, civic commitment, and responsibility with regards to organic education

This award honors the individuals in our midst who have made ongoing and important contributions to the sustainable agriculture community in Western NC and the Southern Appalachians.

The idea originated from Carl & Julie, from Mountain Harvest Organics, who in 2016 suggested the award and nominated our first recipient, Tom Elmore. They had this to say “For as long as we can remember, we have been so impressed with all the things Tom Elmore has done for the Organic Growers School and our farming community. We can remember him teaching us a class at AB Tech in Madison county when we first started farming, sharing his growing experiences with greenhouses, and those learning experiences were instrumental in the development of our farming career.”

Ira Wallace

Ira Wallace

2019 Organic Educator Awardee

Ira Wallace is an organic grower, author, speaker, visionary, and worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange which offers over 700 varieties of open-pollinated heirloom and organic seeds. Ira serves on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance, the Open Source Seed Initiative and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VABF). She is an organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello in VA. Her book, The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast, is available online and at booksellers everywhere.

Chuck Marsh

Chuck Marsh

2018 Organic Educator Awardee

Chuck Marsh (1951–2017) was a permaculture educator, horticulturalist, consultant, popular speaker, ecovillage designer, and dedicated activist. He was the founder and operator of Useful Plants Nursery, is co-founder of Earthaven Ecovillage near Black Mountain, NC, and was steadfastly dedicated to restoring the sacred relationship between humans, plants and the whole of nature. He will be sorely missed.

Tom Elmore

Tom Elmore

2017 Organic Educator Awardee

Tom Elmore is co-owner and operator of Thatchmore Farm, a certified organic, mixed vegetable farm in Leicester NC. He has grown certified organic fruits and vegetables for 25 years and serves on the Boards of the NC Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association. He was a founder and long-time board member of Organic Growers School. He is dedicated to organic education, sustainable agriculture, and local community.