"Spirit of Organic" Award to Elizabeth Henderson

This year, for the annual organic dinner at the Natural Foods Expo sponsored by New Hope Natural MShiganori plays anedia and the Organic Trade Association, the theme was "Spirit of Organic: Honoring Women in Organics." Four organizations were beneficiaries of this fundraising extravaganza: the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), the Organic Alliance, the Organic Farm Research Foundation, and the Organic Materials Review Institute. Each group nominated one woman to be honored at the dinner, which took place at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on November 11, 2001. IFOAM nominated New York organic farmer Elizabeth Henderson.

The criteria for selection were:

  1. Remains dedicated to preserving organic integrity
  2. Helps the organic industry without need for recognition
  3. Represents the organic industry's values in how she lives her life.

The other women honored at the dinner were Yvonne Frost, director of Oregon Tilth's Organic Certification Program for 13 years, Jessie Singerman, CEO of Blooming Prairie Warehouse, Mary Jane Evans, co-founder of Veritable Vegetable, the oldest organic produce distributor in the US, and Nora Pouillon, chef of two restaurants, Nora and Asia Nora. In 1999, Nora became the first certified organic restaurant in the country.

In accepting her award, Elizabeth Henderson, who farms at Peacework Organic Farm in Newark, New York, made the following statement:

It is a lovely surprise and great honor to receive this award. I accept it not just in my own name, but in the name of the thousands of people in this country and the millions around the world for whom small scale organic farming is a way of life based on cooperation and harmony with nature, building more socially just and sustainable communities, producing healthy, safe, nutritious, and minimally processed food, reducing food miles, energy waste and pollution, and trading on fair terms both with neighbors and with people in distant regions. Organic farming is Peacework - part of the striving for peace among humans and between humans and all the other creatures of the earth above and below ground. My hope for the future is that the industry that has formed around organic agriculture will remain true to the "Spirit of Organic," and serve as a model of a food system in which fair and equitable trading and community relations assure a place for small farms and local businesses in a world of peace and abundance.