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<< News >>

Environmental News

"EARTH TALK"

From the Editors of E / The Environmental Magazine

THIS WEEK'S COLUMN

Dear EarthTalk: What are the “Growing Green Awards”?
—Allen Sherwood, Denver, CO

The Growing Green Awards, a program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, recognizes individuals across the U.S. who have demonstrated leadership in the field of sustainable food. Pictured: Andrea Northup, winner of the 2012 Young Food Leader award for her work with the D.C. Farm to School Network, which links regional farmers with local schools in order to transform cafeteria lunch menus.

Photo © D.C. Farm to School Network

The Growing Green Awards is a program of the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that recognizes and gives exposure to individuals across the United States who have demonstrated original leadership in the field of sustainable food. Each year NRDC gives out the awards to those making extraordinary contributions advancing ecologically-integrated farming practices, climate stewardship, water stewardship, farmland preservation, and social responsibility “from farm to fork.”

NRDC gives out the awards in four categories: Business Leader, Food Producer, Food Justice Leader and Young Food Leader. The Food Producer award recipient wins $10,000, while the Food Justice Leader and Young Food Leader each get $2,500. (There is no cash prize for the Business Leader.) An independent panel of renowned sustainable food leaders chooses the winners. Judges for the 2013 awards include owner and chef Michael Anthony of New York City’s renowned Gramercy Tavern, Nell Newman of Newman’s Own Organics, nutritionist Marion Nestle and organic farmer and rancher Gabe Brown.

Before becoming a judge for the 2013 awards, Brown won the 2012 Food Producer award in recognition of his practices at his ranch in North Dakota, which integrates grass-fed cattle grazing with no-till cropping and is thus able to eschew synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides altogether. The 2012 Business Leader award went to Organic Valley CEO George Siemon for his efforts over the last 25 years securing fair pay for organic farmers, building market demand for organic foods and playing a critical role in developing national organic standards for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic certification.

Meanwhile, Lucas Benitez and Greg Asbed of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a human rights group focusing on improving conditions and pay for agricultural labor, took home the 2012 Food Justice Leaders award for their work organizing and supporting some 5,000 farm workers in Florida. And last but not least, Andrea Northup won the 2012 Young Food Leader award for her work with the DC Farm to School Network which links regional farmers with local schools in order to transform cafeteria lunch menus. And her work as the principal architect of the ‘farm-to-school’ provisions in the landmark “Healthy Schools Act” is having ripples effects across the country.

Although the deadline has passed for nominating candidates for 2013, nominees the judges will be evaluating will likely represent a variety of fields including food production, food service, retail or restaurants, academia, journalism, policy advocacy and government. As the award was created to bolster responsible and sustainable food production in the U.S., only nominees operating on American soil are considered. The criteria for picking the winners include: innovation in promoting ecologically-integrated food systems, including minimizing inputs of energy, water, antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals; reducing pollution and global warming gas emissions; use of on-farm polyculture; increasing natural resilience; and stewardship of biodiversity, pollinators, open space and land resources. Judges will also consider nominees’ potential to achieve wide scale adoption, implementation or behavioral change, and whether their work advances health, safety and economic viability for farmers, food system workers and communities. NRDC will unveil the new award winners at a Spring 2013 benefit event in San Francisco.

CONTACTS: Growing Green Awards.

 
A NEW SET OF ANSWERS IS FEATURED EACH WEEK!

 

Dear EarthTalk: I heard about a group called the Women’s Earth Alliance that works on environmental projects in many parts of the world. What kinds of projects?
—Judy Stack, Barre, VT

The Women’s Earth Alliance helps women around the world secure their rights and safety and remove barriers to full participation in society by supporting them in addressing the environmental issues impacting their lives. Pictured: A female farmer in India.

Photo © iStockPhoto/Thinkstock

The Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) supports community groups around the world that work at the intersection of women’s rights and the environment. A project of the Berkeley, California-based David Brower Center, WEA partners with local women-led community groups engaged in finding solutions to vexing environmental problems. WEA helps women secure their rights and safety and remove barriers to full participation in society by supporting them in addressing the environmental issues impacting their lives. By bringing women’s leadership to these critical environmental issues, WEA helps bring vital voices, perspectives and participation to addressing the greatest and most basic challenges of our time.

The idea for WEA emerged from a 2006 meeting in Mexico City where 30 women leaders from 26 countries gathered to address how women can do more to address today’s environmental challenges. WEA offers training and resources around issues of water, land, food and climate change, operating on the guiding principle that “when women thrive, communities, the environment and future generations thrive.”

Of utmost importance to WEA is securing women’s access to basic resources (food, land and water) so they can enjoy economic, social and political security. Since women in many societies are responsible for the management of food and water, the group reports, they can “experience both the unequal burden of work to secure and prepare the family’s food and water as well as the vulnerability which results from traditional gender roles at home and gender discrimination in society.” Women also tend to be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, says WEA: “Women in underserved communities find themselves on the front lines of climate impacts, often witnessing their water sources and traditional land bases shift or disappear because of a dangerous mix of changing temperatures and structural inequalities.”

Currently WEA focuses on three geographic areas: India, North America and Africa. Its India Program supports small and emerging women’s groups that are promoting food sovereignty, traditional knowledge and advocating for the rights of women farmers. The group’s trainings, advocacy and movement building have enabled thousands of poor Indian women to become environmental leaders in their communities.
In North America, WEA links pro bono legal, policy and business advocates across the continent with Indigenous women leading environmental campaigns. “Through rapid response advocacy, long-term policy working groups, trainings and delegations, WEA’s innovative advocacy partnerships protect sacred sites, promote energy justice, and ensure environmental health on Indigenous lands,” the group reports.

And in Africa, WEA partnered with Crabgrass, a California-based human rights group, to create the Global Women’s Water Initiative (GWWI) that provides training to help people implement water related strategies to improve their communities’ health, self reliance and resilience to climate change. With GWWI, WEA and Crabgrass are building a cadre of advanced female trainers skilled in applying holistic solutions with appropriate technology to environmental problems regarding water, sanitation and hygiene.

CONTACTS: WEA; Crabgrass.

A SYNDICATED COLUMN ONLY ON AMERICAJR.COM

 

 

 

 

 

SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS...

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

 

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