Rodale Institute Recognizes 2017 Organic Pioneer Award Recipients

Rodale Institute, a global leader in regenerative organic agriculture, will recognize three recipients for their pioneering efforts in the organic movement at the 7th Annual Organic Pioneer Awards (OPA) dinner on September 9 in Kutztown, PA. The award winners include a research scientist, farmer and entrepreneur that are leading the way to an organic planet. 2017 recipients are researcher Dr. Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University; organic farmer, Tom Beddard, Lady Moon Farms; and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.

“It’s a great honor to recognize these individuals for their lifelong pursuit of healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people, and a healthy planet,” said Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute Executive Director. “We really need scientists, farmers and businesses working together in a conscious way to revolutionize our food system and change the world.”

Dr. Kathleen Delate is a professor at Iowa State University where she is responsible for research, extension and teaching organic agriculture. She was awarded the first faculty position in organic agriculture at a land-grant university in the United States in 1997.

Tom Beddard founded Lady Moon Farms in 1988 in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Lady Moon Farms was a founding member of Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and Tom served as the founding President of Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO). Lady Moon Farms is now a top organic vegetable grower in the country with over 2,400 acres and more than 200 full time employees, providing produce year-round with farms in Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

In the early 1970's, Yvon Chouinard founded Patagonia. Spending 140 days a year in the natural world, Chouinard learned early in his life the seriousness of the environmental crisis—and he brought this knowledge to bear on his work. In the late 1980’s he instituted Patagonia’s earth tax, pledging 1 percent of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. Chouinard has helped co-found the Fair Labor Association, One Percent for the Planet, the Textile Exchange, the Conservation Alliance, and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. More recently Yvon started Patagonia Provisions to have a direct impact on our food system through regenerative organic agriculture.

Birgit Cameron, Senior Director of Patagonia Provisions, will accept the Business Awards on Yvon’s behalf.

The 7th Annual Organic Pioneer Awards ceremony includes a sunset wagon ride through Rodale Institute’s 333-acre experimental farm, a farm-to-table dinner comprised of fresh, seasonal ingredients, and engaging speakers. There is an additional daytime event, prior to the awards dinner, where guests can spend an entire day meeting Rodale’s scientists and farmers, touring the farm, and seeing Rodale Institute’s cutting-edge research firsthand. All proceeds from the event support Rodale Institute’s research, education and outreach.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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