The leader of a worldwide network of organic organizations presented its top honor, the One World Award for Lifetime Achievement, to Fred Kirschenmann, a North Dakota organic farmer and Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.
The award was presented September 19 in Legau, Germany, headquarters of the Rapunzel Naturkost organic food company whose founder initiated the One World Awards (OWA) in 2008 to honor individuals, projects and innovative ideas that promote ecological, economic and social improvement. The awards are co-sponsored by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) with 800 member organizations in 120 countries. OWA are presented every two years.
“For decades he has been leading farmer on the ground, a tireless advocate for farmers, and a longtime voice in organic and sustainable agriculture in policy and academic forums,” according to a greeting from IFOAM president Andre Leu. “We honor these people and organizations for their successes, which we value and share as living proof that ideals can become reality,” he said.
A press release about the award points to Kirschenmann’s role in creating the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society and the international certification agency, Farm Verified Organic Inc., which he operated for 10 years before joining the Leopold Center as director in 2000. It also commends Kirschenmann for his work with Agriculture of the Middle, a multi-state task force focusing on research and markets for midsize American farms, and as chair of the Whiterock Conservancy that manages a 5,000-acre conservation area in west-central Iowa.
Currently, Kirschenmann shares an appointment as Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow and President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York.
The only other Americans honored were the Frey family of Mendocino County, California, who operate a third-generation vineyard and the first organic winery in the United States. They received the OWA Silver Medal. Other OWA Silver Medals went to organic educator Ibrahima Seck from Senegal, the organic food company Biovega of Croatia, and agricultural professor Rita Schwentesius who has served in both Germany and Mexico.
OWA Gold Medals were presented to Hansalim, the largest community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm in South Korea with more than 2,000 farmers serving 440,000 households; and the Timbaktu Collective that represents more than 20,000 peasant farmers and rural workers from 156 villages in India.
Klass Töpfer of Germany, who led the United Nations Environmental Program in Nairobi, received the OWA for Very Impacting People.