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, 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.

More awardees here. 

Award Ceremony at the 26th Annual Organic Growers School Spring Conference:

Angie Lavezzo, Lee Warren, Jeanine Davis, Ira Wallace, Pam Dawling at the Awards Ceremony.

Author: Lee Warren

Lee Warren has been homesteading and farming for more than 25 years. She is the former Executive Director of Organic Growers School and the manager of Imani Farm, a pasture-based cooperative farm in Rutherford County, NC. Lee is also an herbalist, writer, teacher, and food activist, with an avid interest in rural wisdom, sustainable economics, and social justice issues.