Eighteen "Golden Beet" awards for bringing local food to Illinois communities have been announced by the
, an organization promoting "environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially just local food systems through policy development, advocacy and education."
Chicago-area winners include celebrity chef Rick Bayless; Michael James and Katy Hogan of Chicago's Heartland Cafe and Jim Slama, founder and president of FamilyFarmed.org, an Oak Park-based agency working to expand production, marketing and distribution of locally grown food.
“There are so many exciting things happening in Illinois from the development of new farmers markets serving more Illinois communities to grower cooperatives that enable farmers to reach more people. We want to celebrate all of the great local foods activities in Illinois.” said alliance executive director Lindsay Record, in a press release. “By showcasing our innovators, we hope to encourage people to consider what they can do in their own community.”
Awards were given in six categories. Those categories and the winners are below.
Farm to School: Helmut Mayer, Knox College, Galesburg; Latin School of Chicago, Chicago.
Innovative Farmer: Mike Butcher, Good Earth Farms, Lynnville; John Curtis, Barefoot Gardens, Macomb; Paul Gebhart, Gebhart Farms, Edinburg; Dave Bishop, PrairiErth Farm, Atlanta.
Community Food Projects: Rick Bayless, Frontera Farmer Foundation, Chicago; Margaret Larson, University of Illinois Extension, Stephenson-Winnebago Unit, Freeport;Thomas Collopy, Fairgrounds Farmers Market, Dahinda; Simply Local Foods Committee, Hanover; West Carroll Middle School, Mt. Carroll.
Scaling Up: Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand, Chicago; Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed.org, Oak Park; Julie Haugland, Local Growers Network, Galesburg.
Restaurants and Institutions: Michael Higgins, Maldaner’s Restaurant, Springfield; Michael James and Katy Hogan, Heartland Café, Chicago; August Mrozowski, Augie’s Front Burner, Springfield.