Established in 2004 by Jeffrey Lydon, the Betsy Lydon Ark Award recognizes an Ark of Taste farmer, grower or food producer whose work reflects the goals of Slow Food USA and, if better known and celebrated, would benefit the wider community.
The award serves as a memorial to Betsy Lydon, whose life and work profoundly expressed her passionate support for local producers and their endeavors to provide sustainably produced and traditionally processed food and beverages.
To date, the award has been presented three times; the fourth call for nominations will be announced in spring 2009. The benefits of the award vary each year depending on what domestic and international Slow Food events are taking place. Some key aspects of the award are:
Over 20 strong nominations were submitted in 2008 and Jeff Lydon and Slow Food USA had the honor of presenting the award to Uprising Seeds/Uprising Organics, a regional, organic seed company and fresh vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm in Bellingham, WA. Founded four years ago, Uprising Seeds/Uprising Organics is run by Brian Campbell and Crystine Goldberg. They are passionate about seeds with stories and are working with Ark of Taste seeds to find out which perform well in their growing area.
We feel as though we have the potential to impact a wide group of people as we are not only promoting our product but also promoting the production of a product through the seed business, said Brian. They are using the award to highlight their commitment to growing Ark seed varieties and to initiate a marketing campaign to other commercial growers, chefs and seed customers in their region. Their current Ark products include Lina Ciscos Bird Egg Bean, Hutterite bean, Red Fig Tomato, and Speckled Amish Butterhead lettuce.
Uprising Seeds is also committed to making local, fresh food more widely accessible to low-income community members. Roughly 75 percent of their CSA shares are earmarked for families receiving food stamps. Nationwide, they consult with several farms to help them initiate Food Stamp CSA programs of their own. Click here to read more about their CSA.
Producers can nominate themselves, or can be nominated by a community member or peer. Nominees (either an individual or group of producers) must be working with one or more products on the Ark of Taste and making a significant contribution to:
Further, their work should:
The nominations review committee takes into account how the nominee would benefit from increased marketing and publicity support for his/her product; and increased general awareness of his/her product.
The Betsy Lydon Ark award is made possible by generous donor support. Your donation supports the work of Ark of Taste producers, highlights the work of the Ark of Taste program, and helps to build a network of food producers nationwide.
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