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Call for Nominations: Beginning Farmer of the Year Award

Beginning Farmers of the Year 2013: Alex Needham and Alison Parker of Radical Root Farm

Beginning Mentor of the Year Peg Sheaffer (Matt Sheaffer not shown) of Sandhill Family Farms

Honorable Mention: Karen and Jody Warner (not shown) of Big Head Farm

Angelic Organics Learning Center and the Upper Midwest CRAFT farmer alliance will recognize four beginning farmers and one farmer mentor who have been outstanding leaders, innovators or community-builders in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region.

A $500 honorarium will go to the beginning farmer spotlighted for recognition by the CRAFT Steering Committee. Three $100 honorariums will be given to three additional exceptional beginning farmer standouts in the CRAFT farmer alliance.  The recognized beginning farmers will each nominate a farmer for CRAFT Mentor Farmer of the Year; one farmer-mentor will be select by the Steering Committee for the award and to receive a $200 honorarium.  The recognitions will be presented in a public ceremony along with the video of the recognized Beginning Farmer of the Year at the Good Food Festival in Chicago in March 2014. The Good Food Festival is delighted to offer three-day passes to the two winners and the three runners up.

Beginning farmers who want to be considered for this recognition will nominate a candidate or self-nominate by submitting a 3-4 minute video that answers six questions (see instructions) by January 31st.  Nominees will upload their video to YouTube and email us the link.

The CRAFT Steering Committee will review the top submitted videos and select via email voting the four for special recognition (see criteria). The Committee will also select the Mentor Farmer of the Year from the nominations provided by the four beginning farmers recognized for an honorarium.

The four beginning farmers and the farmer mentor will be featured in a press release and will need to be willing to be available for various media interviews as requested. The submitted videos will become AOLC property and may be used solely by AOLC and its program partners for publicity and in online marketing materials to promote beginning farmer training.

Instructions for Nominees:

To nominate yourself and your farm, upload to YouTube a 3 to 4 minute video and email us with the link to view your video.  Each video must answer these six questions to be eligible:

1. What is your name and what is your farm’s name?

2. Where is your farm, how much land do you farm and what is it like?

3. What does your farm sell and to whom?

4. What is the biggest obstacle you face or have overcome as a beginning farmer?

5. What is new on your farm next season? How are you innovating or growing?

6. Why do you farm?

Criteria for Selection:

1. video is less than 4 minutes and all questions are addressed

2. video shares a compelling, creative, humorous, or inspiring story

3. video demonstrates how farmer has been a leader, innovator, or community-builder

4. video features footage of the farm and the farmer

5. the farmer is a member of Upper Midwest CRAFT or a graduate of Stateline Farmer Beginnings

6. the farmer is in the first 10 years of farm business operation

Benefits of Participation:

Past winners and runners-up have commented that the Beginning Farmer of the Year Recognition has benefited their farms in the following ways:

1. Built credentials with the farmer’s customers

2. Broadened the farm’s visibility, through inclusion on the and AOLC websites

3. Benefited from using the video submission in the farm’s own marketing and social media presence

4. Featured the farm in alternative agriculture publications, in collaboration with staff support at Angelic Organics Learning Center and Family Farmed

Note:  AOLC will ask either the four beginning farmers recognized to share nominees for a CRAFT Farmer Mentors of the Year Recognition. This way we can recognize not only the beginning farmer but also the experienced farmers who are mentoring or inspiring them.  After the four beginning farmers are chosen, we will request them to describe how they were helped or inspired by the veteran farmer they nominate. A farmer mentor (or several mentors) can be recognized at the public ceremony.


Watch 2013 Nomination Videos:
Beginning Farmer of the Year - Radical Root Farm:

Honorable Mention - Big Head Farm: