Every year, our community recognizes farmers and food system advocates from across California who are contributing to a stronger local food economy, promoting food justice and empowering a new generation of agrarians. Awards are selected from hundreds of nominations by people like you.
This year’s awards will be bestowed at the conclusion of the annual California Small Farms Conference during the Agrarian Lovers Ball on FEBRUARY 29th, 2020 in Paso Robles, CA.
Congratulations to our 2020 recipients!
NEW FARMER OF THE YEAR
Shayne Zurligen & Hope Sippola, Fiery Ginger Farm
Since their launch in 2016, Hope and Shayne have have given us hope for the next generation through their ever-growing farm operation based in Sacramento and Woodland, CA. They remain committed to showcasing sustainable farm practices while growing both diversified veggies and pastured chicken. Within their second year of operation, Fiery Ginger began selling to three different school districts including West Sac Unified, Davis Unified and Natomas Unified. They visit school cafeterias regularly to inspire kids through Meet a Farmer day. Their dedication to community engagement is outstanding and we look forward to their next moves in the years ahead.
LEGACY FARMER OF THE YEAR
Bill & Barbara Spencer, Windrose Farm
For over two decades, Bill and Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farm have served as an inspirational model on the Central Coast for small farmers of every age. Their picturesque farm nestled in the hills of Northern San Luis Obispo County is home to a highly diversified, organic, biodynamically-managed operation that includes heirloom fruit orchards, mixed vegetables and livestock. They have served as local champions for protecting and advancing our agricultural heritage, and for quality foods and lifestyle with vibrant connections to the culinary world. They’ve hosted scores of public events, workshops, festivals and dinners to share the wisdom of the land, and the incredible abundance it brings.
CLIMATE SMART FARM OF THE YEAR
Solidarity Farm & the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians
Solidarity Farm, in partnership with the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians, have transformed their farming operation into a working, outdoor laboratory for a variety of new and rediscovered techniques to combat climate change. Farming in San Diego’s inland valley, they’ve felt the reality of fast-rising temperatures, but by partnering with groups like the NRCD, RCD and through the Healthy Soils Initiative, they’re exploring regenerative practices like no-till and native cover-crops. Best of all: these folks are community organizers at heart, gathering collectively to tackle the shared challenges farmers face and to share the insights they glean from their experiments.
FARM ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR
Erin Primer, San Luis Coastal Unified School District
As a leader in the Farm-to-School movement on the Central Coast, Erin has worked tirelessly to incorporate more local food from small farms and ranches into school menus, setting an example for other districts across California. Leading menu development, food acquisition and food based education in one of San Luis Obispo County’s largest school districts, Erin has not only helped grow sales outlets for local farms, but also helped school children learn where good food comes from and who their local farmers are. As a result of her vision, passion and hard work, SLO County is a healthier, more sustainable and more abundant community for all.
FOOD BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
BriarPatch Food Coop, Grass Valley
The gold standard of food coops, BriarPatch was built on strong partnerships between local farmers and local eaters and has remained true to that commitment ever since. Not only does BriarPatch source directly from over thirty local family farms, but each year they work closely with their producers to plan, prepare and assure their farm-to-table connection remains consistent, equitable and sustainable, even helping to incubate the next generation of farmers who are just getting started. BriarPatch is owned and democratically controlled by their members and by keeping those members educated, informed and connected to the source of their food, BriarPatch ensures Nevada County remains resilient for years to come.
FARMERS MARKET CHAMPION OF THE YEAR
Laura Avery, Santa Monica Farmers Markets
Laura Avery, longtime and recently retired manager of the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, has made an invaluable impact not only on her own corner of Los Angeles, but on California’s farmers market industry as a whole. Laura’s efforts extend far beyond Santa Monica where she created a farmers’ market widely recognized as one of the best in the state. She also served as a leader, mentor and advocate for farmers’ markets statewide, passing down her wisdom. An advocate for the farms that sold within her market, she spoke out on issues that impacted their ability to be successful and sustainable.
PAST HONOREES: 2013 - 2019
Bob Knight, Old Grove Orange
Rudy Jimenez, Greenthumb Organics Farm
Steve Sprinkel, Farmer & The Cook
Nina Ichikawa, Berkeley Food Institute
Katie Fyhrie, Kaitlin Oki & Emma Torbert, The Cloverleaf Farm
Sheila Fischer, Sonoma County CAFF & Farmers Guild chapter
Leonard Diggs, Shone Farm
Judith Redmond, Full Belly Farm
John LaBoyteaux, Camp Grant Ranch
Colby Accacian, Coyote Family Farm
Sam Mogannam, Bi-Rite Market
Chanowk & Judith Yisrael, Yisrael Family Farm
Mel & Kyle Burns, Nye Ranch
Isabel Quiroz & Hunter Flynn, Tequio Community Farm
Maria Catalán, Calatan Family Farm
Suzy Grady, Petaluma Bounty
Laurel Greyson, San Diego Farmers Guild
Tim Page, FEED Sonoma
Gowan Batist, Fortunate Farm
Terry Harrison, Foxwelp Farm
Sarah Bodnar, Good Food Fund
Seth Chapin, Napa Farmers Guild & Evermore Flowers
Samantha & Ryan Ramey, Estero Cafe
Wendy Krupnik, Sonoma County CAFF & Farmers Guild
Nick Papadopoulos, Crop Mobster
Heather Granahan, CAFF
Michael Foley, Green Uprising Farm
Janae Lloyd, Photographer
Lawrence Jaffe, Sebastopol Grange
Ruthie King, School of Adaptive Agriculture