Family Farm Defenders: Winners announced for the 4th Annual John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize!

Contact: John Peck, FFD executive director, #608-260-0900

Recipients to be Honored at Family Farm Defenders Dinner and Award Ceremony on Sat. March 14th from 5-9 pm at the UW-Madison Pyle Center

Family Farm Defenders is pleased to announce the two winners of this year’s John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize. They are Carsten Thomas from Moorhead, MN and Emmet Fisher and Cella Langer from Mt. Horeb, WI. Carsten operates a diverse organic farm in the Red River Valley, honoring Native food heritage, and also offers many hands-on environmental education programs. Cella and Emmet own Oxheart Farm producing food for farmers markets and a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Cella & Emmet also manage the Farley Center’s Farm Incubator and Land Link program outside Verona, WI.

Each prize winner will be receiving a $2000 cash prize, as well as a local food fair trade gift basket, at an award dinner to be held on Sat. March 14th from 5-9pm at the UW-Madison Pyle Center (702 Langdon St. in Madison). They keynote speaker for this year’s ceremony is Marty Strange, co-founder of the Center for Rural Affairs and author of the book, Family Farming: a New Economic Vision. The title of his talk will be: Family Farming – From Deep Roots the Remnant Restores. Mr. Strange will be introduced by UW Prof. Jack Kloppenburg who will also be giving an update of the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) which he helped officially launch last year.

The Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize is named after FFD founder and longtime president, John Kinsman, who dedicated his life to advocating for family farming and to promoting food sovereignty. John passed away in Jan. 2014, and Family Farm Defenders is proud to continue this award in his honor and to further his legacy. Many members of the extended Kinsman family including his widow, Jean, will be attending this year’s celebration.

Over 30 farmers were nominated from across the U.S. and 15 ultimately submitted applications for this year’s John Kinsman prize, making it particularly competitive. Previous prize winners include in 2011: Lindsey Morris Carpenter of Grassroots Farm, near Monroe, WI, and Daniel and Hannah Miller of Easy Yoke Farm near Millville MN; in 2012: Nancy and Jeff Kirstein, Good Earth Farm, Lennox SD and Tracy and Dick Vinz, Olden Produce, Ripon, WI; and in 2014: Blain Snipstal of Five Seeds Farm near Sparks, MD and Jed Schenkier and Will Pool of Loud Grade Produce Squad in Chicag, IL.

Among the current sponsors of this year’s John Kinsman prize which FFD is especially proud to recognize are: Jean Kinsman, Food and Water Watch, Hiroshi and Arlene Kanno, Willy St. Co-op, John Adamowski, Cornucopia Institute, Jim and Rebecca Goodman (Northwood Farms), Midwest Environmental Advocates, John and Mary Ann Kinsman, Viroqua Food Co-op, Tony Schultz and Kat Becker (Stoney Acres Farm), Farley Center for Peace Justice and Sustainability, M. Grace Grzanek, Pete Hardin (the Milkweed), Krueger Printing, and Bill Anderson (Creme de la Coulee).

Tickets for the award dinner ($50 general, $35 student/low income) are still available and can be purchased online through Razoo by visiting the FFD website:

Further sponsors for this year’s prize are also still being accepting and will be recognized in the evening program. For details on becoming a prize sponsor please contact: [email protected] or call 608-260-0900 A complimentary dinner ticket is provided for each $100 in sponsorship.

Family Farm Defenders will be holding its annual meeting from 12 Noon – 5 pm in Rm. 213 of the UW-Madison Pyle Center prior to the award dinner and ceremony. The annual meeting will include updates on many current issues such as the ongoing dairy crisis, frack sand mining and tar sands pipelines, climate justice, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and factory farm struggles, as well as board elections. The public is most welcome to attend.