Organic Industry Changemakers Recognized by Rodale Institute


With the organic movement stronger than ever, Rodale Institute, the global leader in research on regenerative organic agriculture, honors three outstanding individuals for their innovations and dedication to the industry’s growth. The recipients—Mas Masumoto, William Liebhardt, and Arran Stephens—will be recognized at the 8th annual Organic Pioneer Awards at Rodale Institute on September 8th, 2018.

The celebration includes a full day of programming including an afternoon tour of the Institute and an al fresco lunch with the recipients, plus an intimate event and dinner held on the Institute’s historic 333-acre research farm, birthplace of the organic movement in the United States. The public is encouraged to join—find more event details and purchase tickets at RodaleInstitute.org/organicpioneerawards.

This year’s recipients are:

Mas Masumoto, a third-generation farmer growing organic peaches, nectarines, and raisins on his 80-acre farm south of Fresno, California. He is the award-winning author of eleven books, including Epitaph for a Peach, Wisdom of the Last Farmer, and Changing Season. “I'm honored to be part of the Rodale ‘family of pioneers’ as we all work to build a healthy world,” says Masumoto. “I share this award with all those who have worked the soil and organic peaches, nectarines and raisin grapes on our family farm, including all the life above and below the ground—I live in their shadow of wisdom and excellence.” In 2013, President Obama appointed Masumoto to the National Council on the Arts.

William Liebhardt, a soil scientist who has dedicated himself to better understanding various farming systems and their impact on soil fertility, is a former Director of Research at Rodale Institute and the former director of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program at the University of California, Davis.

Arran Stephens, founder and co-CEO of Nature’s Path, has helped shepherd the growth of the organic movement for more than fifty years. Nature’s Path utilizes 5,500 acres of regenerative farmland, has earned Zero Waste Certification for all three of its factories, and continues to advocate for agricultural practices that go beyond USDA Certified Organic. “I’m honored and humbled to be named an Organic Pioneer,” says Stephens. “My father taught me to always leave the soil better than you found it. I will be satisfied if my life’s work inspires others to do something for our threatened planet—for all generations to come.”

“Through their pioneering spirit and leadership, these individuals have inspired others to see and hold the connection between soil health and human health in the highest regard,” says Rodale Institute’s Executive Director, Jeff Moyer. “We’re deeply honored and privileged to acknowledge this year’s recipients for their incredible contribution to organic farms, science, and consumers.”

Previous recipients of the Organic Pioneer Awards include Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia), David Bronner (Dr. Bronner’s), George Siemon (Organic Valley), Rachel and Andy Berliner (Amy’s Kitchen), Dr. Don M. Huber (Purdue University), Dr. Warren Porter (University of Wisconsin, Madison), and more.

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