Each year FFD is proud to host the John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize – named in honor of John Kinsman, one of the founders and longtime president of Family Farm Defenders who passed away at the ripe old age of 87 on MLKJ Day, 2014. John was not only an early pioneer of organic grass-based dairying in the Midwest, but was also a tireless champion of civil rights, social justice, and food sovereignty both in the U.S. and around the world.
To be considered for the prize, nominees must meet the following criteria: engaged in own farm for less than 5 years; engaged in small scale livestock and/or vegetable and/or fruit production; market products locally; practice sustainable management of natural resources; promote healthy soil; conserve biodiversity; and support food sovereignty principles.
FFD board members then review the final applications and the winner(s) receive a $2000 cash prize and are recognized at an award ceremony held in conjunction with the FFD annual meeting.
Previous John Kinsman 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; in 2014: Blain Snipstal of Five Seeds Farm near Sparks, MD and Jed Schenkier and Will Pool of Loud Grade Produce Squad in Chicago, IL; in 2015: Carsten Thomas from Moorhead, MN and Emmet Fisher and Cella Langer with Oxheart Farm near Mt. Horeb, WI; in 2016: Donald (Jahi) Ellis from Vidalia, GA and Polly Dalton and Oren Jakobson with Field Notes Farm near Custer, WI, in 2017 Eduardo Rivera of Sin Fronteras Farm neaer Stillwater, MN; in 2018 Tommy and Samantha Enright of Black Rabbit Farm near Amherst, WI and Craig and Lauren Kreutzel of Meadowlark Farm near Wonewoc, WI; in 2019 Curtis Whittaker of Faith Farms in Gary, IN and Joseph & Abbie Monroe and Caleb & Kelly Fiechter of Valley Spirit Farm in Campbellsburg, KY, and in 2020 the Catatumbo Cooperative Farm in Chicago, IL.
Each year FFD also invites individuals and other supporters to help sponsor the John Kinsman Prize. All such sponsors are given honorable mention in publicity for the award ceremony, and those making a donation of $100 or more also receive a FFD local food fair trade gift basket.
We hope that you will consider supporting this unique effort to honor the spirit of John Kinsman by not only nominating a worthy beginning farmer you may know, but by also providing financial support for this amazing celebration of food sovereignty!