Jul 21, 2020
Rodale Institute names 2020 Organic Pioneers
Rodale Institute, the global leader in regenerative organic agriculture, will recognize three leaders of the organic movement during Organic Pioneer Month throughout September. Organic rice producer Lundberg Family Farms, groundbreaking biologist Dr. Tyrone Hayes, and former Organic Trade Association Executive Director Katherine DiMatteo will be honored for their work in advancing the organic movement.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebration of the Organic Pioneer Award recipients and annual fundraiser will be held virtually throughout the month of September, designated as “Organic Pioneer Month.” Each week, Rodale Institute will feature unique content from the award winners, including videos, letters from the honorees, and more.
Organic Pioneer Month will culminate in a live, virtual panel with the honorees on September 21 at 2 PM EST entitled “2020 Organic Pioneer Awards: The Past, Present, and Future of our Movement.” Anyone who donates to Rodale Institute during the Organic Pioneer Month campaign will be registered for the event, moderated by Rodale Institute CEO Jeff Moyer. The conversation will discuss the past, present and future of the organic movement. Learn more about Organic Pioneer Month at RodaleInstitute.org/OrganicPioneerAwards.
Traditionally hosted as a farm-to-table fundraising dinner at the Rodale Institute headquarters, the shift in the Organic Pioneer Awards format provides an opportunity to dive even deeper into the groundbreaking work of the Lundberg Family, Dr. Tyrone Hayes, and Katherine DiMatteo.
“This year’s Organic Pioneer Award winners can be summed up in one word: legacy,” said Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute CEO. “Whether it is their significant impact on food labels, the National Organic Program standards, or paradigm-shifting pesticide research, the legacy of Lundberg Family Farms, Dr. Tyrone Hayes, and Katherine DiMatteo within the organic movement is incredible. We are honored to present them with our highest honor this year.”
Learn more about the 2020 award winners:
Grant Lundberg, accepting the award on behalf of Lundberg Family Farms: Lundberg Family Farms has produced rice products on their family-owned farm since 1937, today becoming one of the leaders in the organic and eco-farmed rice market. Lundberg Family Farms leads with a longer view of family, food, and organic farming. Albert, Frances, and their four sons—Eldon, Wendell, Harlan, and Homer—saw how the Dust Bowl stripped the land of its topsoil in the 1930s. When they moved to California, they decided to work in partnership with nature, becoming pioneers of organic farming. Since 1937, the Lundbergs have been growing healthy, great-tasting rice while tending to soil, air, water, and wildlife as carefully as their crops. In addition to farming organically, Lundberg Family Farms offsets its operations with 100% renewable energy, is ENERGY STAR certified, and maintains TRUE Zero Waste certification. The Organic Pioneer award will be accepted by Grant Lundberg, current CEO of Lundberg Family Farms and third generation of the family. A passionate advocate of GMO food labeling, Lundberg was a founding director of the Non-GMO Project.
“My family and I are honored to receive the Rodale Institute’s Organic Pioneer Award,” said Lundberg. “Our parents and grandparents were pioneers in every sense of the word. My cousins and I feel a profound responsibility to uphold their legacy of treating the land like a member of the family. We are grateful to the Rodale Institute for advancing the organic movement so we can keep growing together for generations to come.”
Tyrone B. Hayes, Ph.D. is a Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1989 and his doctorate from the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley in 1993. Hayes’ career has focused on the role of endocrine-disrupting contaminants, particularly pesticides, and their impact on global amphibian declines and public health. This research resulted in a widely known study connecting the herbicide atrazine to the feminization of male frogs. Hayes also studies environmental justice issues associated with targeted exposure of racial and ethnic minorities to chemicals and the role that exposure plays in health care disparities.
“I am proud to be a scientist on the side of something positive,” said Hayes. “Reducing the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers in food and agriculture will be key in maintaining healthy environments and food for future generations. I am honored to be recognized in this movement.”
Katherine DiMatteo provides organizational management, and policy and regulatory consulting services to the organic sector. The executive director of the Organic Trade Association from 1990 to 2006, DiMatteo was instrumental in shaping the outcome of the U.S. National Organic Program standards and the U.N. Codex Guidelines for organically produced foods. She currently serves on the Fairtrade America Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of Protect Our Breasts. DiMatteo was a founding member of the Climate Collaborative and now serves on its management board. Previously, she served as the president of IFOAM-Organics International Board of Directors and was a founding member of The Organic Center’s Board of Directors.
“It is such a privilege for me to receive the Rodale Institute Organic Pioneer Award,” said DiMatteo. “I am most grateful to work with the community that has formed around organic agriculture, its principles and products. Through collaborations and creative tensions, together we have advanced organic locally and globally.”
Previous recipients of the Organic Pioneer Award include Dr. Jennifer Taylor (Lola’s Organic Farm/FAMU), Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia), David Bronner (Dr. Bronner’s), Alice Watters (Chez Panisse), and Governor Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania).
To participate in Organic Pioneer Month, sign up for Rodale Institute’s email newsletters and follow the Institute on Facebook and Instagram. Information on the winners, live panel registration, and more can be found at RodaleInstitute.org/OrganicPioneerAwards.