Family Farm Defenders: Announces the winners of the 2022 John Kinsman beginning farmer food sovereignty prize

Both Winners Will Receive a $2000 Prize at a Community Award Ceremony on Sat. Dec. 10th, 2022 at 5:30 pm at UW-Madison’s Gordon Commons (770 W. Dayton St.)

In memory of legendary organic pioneer and food sovereignty advocate, John Kinsman, Family Farm Defenders is proud to celebrate beginning farmers each year with a food sovereignty prize in his name! 

This year’s prize ceremony will be held on Sat. Dec. 10th at 5:30 pm at UW-Madison’s Gordon Commons (770 W. Dayton St. in Madison, WI) with a native bioregional dinner, keynote address “Food Sovereignty As Standing Up) at 6:00 pm by Jahi Chappell, director of the Michigan State University(MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems and W.K. Kellogg Foundation Endowed Chair in Food and Society, followed by the John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Price Award Ceremony itself at 7:00 pm.

Family Farm Defenders is proud to announce that 2022 winners of the John Kinsman Prize are:

Naima Dhore (Alexandria, MN) and Heather Gayton (Friendship, WI)

Naima Dhore began her farming journey growing food for her own family from small pots in her apartment window. She now operates Naima’s Farm near Alexandria, MN which focuses on organic food production for the broader Somali/East African community. As an immigrant she also knows the struggles that face many black, indigenous, and other farmers of color, and in 2020 she helped found the Somali American Farmer Association (SAFA). Naima credits her food sovereignty success “to her ability to connect and maintain relationships with various people in her community—always being certain to remain humble in sharing resources to see everyone thrive and not just some.”

Heather Gayton launched ZanBria Artisan Farms near Friendship, WI as a simple roadside stand, bartering and selling produce, but was eventually able to acquire a 20 acre farmstead specializing in native, heirloom, and herbal crops. As a cancer survivor, Heather believes strongly in “food as medicine.” She is also a leader in the Farmers of the Roche-Cri Watershed Group and the Grand Marsh food pantry. Heather’s farm dream is to “create a space that people can come to for learning about indigenous wisdom, food sovereignty, regenerative agriculture and environmental sustainability.”

Since 2011, Family Farm Defenders has given out 19 John Kinsman Awards and distributed $36,000 in grants to beginning farmers across the U.S. that exemplify the principles of food sovereignty. “This amazing prize not only honors the food sovereignty vision of John Kinsman, but it is also meant to celebrate and support the next generation of beginning farmers that are now working towards a more diverse, climate just, and equitable food/farm system in the U.S. and across the globe. We just hope that other grassroots organizations will be inspired to support similar beginning farmer awards in their own communities and bioregions,” noted John E. Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders.
For those who can not attend in person, the event will also be live streamed via Zoom.

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