Growing Community Social

Growing Community Social

Past recipients for the Growing Community Award have included farmers, food service staff, a food bank, community groups, and others.  Individuals, families, or organizations who are making progress in solving the problem of hunger through policy and advocacy work or by building a stronger food system to better serve all North Country residents may be nominated for this recognition. Past recipients are listed below:

2019 - Laurell Brault
Laurell Brault, founder and coordinator of the Potsdam Snack Pack program. She initiated this program around her dining room table in 2017, preparing 40 snack packs weekly for students in need. Just two years later, and with the help of a cadre of community volunteers recruited by Laurell, the program now organizes, stocks, and distributes nearly 300 snack packs to hungry children every week. Laurell is also a GardenShare volunteer at the Potsdam Farmers Market, helping make sure local families on a limited food budget have access to high quality local food.

2018 - Gloria McAdam
Gloria McAdam spent her entire career dedicated to alleviating and fighting hunger. Gloria step down from her role as Executive Director, but it was our profound honor to present her with this award and thank her for her lifetime of advocacy and hunger relief efforts. Three years ago she moved back home to the North Country and took her place as the Executive Director of GardenShare where she has been a champion of the anti-hunger movement in St. Lawrence County.

2017 - Edwards-Knox Central School District
The 2017 Growing Community Award recipient is the Edwards-Knox Central School District. E-K has participated in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) since the 2016-2017 school year, with support from their Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff, and entire community. CEP allows income-eligible schools to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Access to free, nutritious meals supports school success for every student and eliminates a variety of burdens such as concerns about lunch accounts. E-K Superintendent of Schools Ronald P. Burke says, “A lack of nutritious food is an unfortunate economic reality for many families. Our participation in this program not only allows us to help meet this most basic human need, it also lessens the economic pressure faced by many in our community. By ensuring that every child has access to nutritious meals our district is better able to help each child succeed academically.” 

2016 - Local Living Venture
Local Living Venture is a nonprofit responsible for spreading knowledge throughout the community regarding affordable and sustainable solutions that local people can implement in their daily lives. They are especially concerned with local food, clean energy, northern forest, green building, simple living and homesteading skills. Through hands-on, learning workshops Local Living Venture implements healthy and low-cost living styles for community members as well as strengthening local community ties.  In nominating Local Living Venture for this award, GardenShare Board member Jan DeWaters wrote, "Since they first formed out of the North Country Sustainable Energy Fair in 2009, this group has emerged as a leading authority in all-things-back-to-basics. By offering a wide array of educational programming, as well as a number of community gathering events, they are filling a need here for teaching people important, often-forgotten skills our ancestors practiced on a daily basis, and are also bringing people together to join in community as they venture forth with putting their newly-learned skills into practice. To me, this group is a unique and valuable piece of our north country community building effort."

2015Bob Washo and Flip Filippi of littleGrasse Foodworks in Canton
Bob and Flip are a force in the local food movement in the Canton area, and in educating people about the benefits of growing and eating locally. They own and operate littleGrasse Foodworks, a "garden project" that welcomes all people genuinely interested in gaining more knowledge of food issues, preservation techniques, and gardening skills. Their CSA encourages a meaningful connection with the foods participants consume daily, and requires member involvement in the garden during the growing season. Bob is chair of the Canton Sustainability Committee and served on the steering committee for Local Food, Local Places. He and Flip enthusiastically engage area college students, young children,  and the elderly, helping them appreciate the advantages and challenges of growing and consuming locally.   

2014 - The Martin Family
The Martin's farm is located at 11 Needham Road in Potsdam, where they operate a roadside stand, May through November. To make healthy local food more accessible, the Martins accept payment by debit and EBT/SNAP, as well as cash. On top of that, the Martins also offer an online market that allows shoppers to fill their cart with produce and other goods from local producers, such as natural bath products and yogurt, and pick up their orders on a weekly basis. The Martins supply to local stores and restaurants as well. Produce from their farm is always fresh, great in variety and most importantly, free of chemicals.Their efforts to strengthen food security in northern New York are worthy of praise.

2013 - Brian and Jenny Walker from 1844 House American Bistro.
Brian and Jenny have a continuing commitment to sourcing local food for the restaurant, and supporting local organizations. Their efforts has helped countless farmers in our area grow their business, and raised awareness among consumers about the importance of building community. (Read the press release here.)

2012 - Carlton Doane and the Canton Free Will Dinner program. Mr. Doane spearheaded the Free Will Dinners as his "retirement" project in 1999 because he wanted to feed hungry people. Three Wednesdays a month for the past 13 years, there has been a community supper at Canton's United Methodist Church. And the more than 50,000 meals he has served have spawned a movement. (Read the press release here.)

2011- Katherine Lang, a longtime champion of wholesome, local food in the North Country. Ms. Lang worked as a nutrition educator and regional food system developer with Cornell Cooperative Extension. She was a founding board member of the North Country Grown Cooperative. From 2003 to 2007, Ms. Lang was a member of the GardenShare board of directors, serving as president for most of that time. (Read the press release here.)

2010- UShare, a project of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Canton. UShare is a congregation-wide social action project that, since 2005, has operated two large gardens that grow food for emergency food programs. Their gardens in Canton and Potsdam have donate some 2,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables every year to 17 food pantries in 14 North Country towns. In addition, UShare provides volunteers for GardenShare's booth at the Canton Farmers' Market, where shoppers there can use EBT/food stamp benefits to buy locally grown and produced food. (Read the press release here.)

2009 - Two recipients were honored this year.

  • Julie Holbrook of Keene Central School. Under her leadership, the school’s organic vegetable garden contributes food to cafeteria lunches. Then after each meal, students, faculty, and staff sort their tray waste for a composting operation that feeds the garden.
  • Cindy Harnas of South Jefferson Central School. She has been integral in developing a project that brings healthy food to students and supports local farms. In a typical year, Cindy now purchases over 6,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables, honey, and apple cider from seven local farms.

(Read the press release here.)

2008 - North Country Public Radio, celebrating its 40th year. NCPR provides creative programming that explores food and farming across the region.

2007- Food Bank of Central New York, a nonprofit org founded with the mission to eliminate hunger through nutritious food distribution , education, and advocacy. They serve 11 counties in central and northern NY by supplying to food pantries, soup kitchens, childcare agencies, senior centers. The Food Bank also supports in legislation and public policies that address hunger and poverty.

2006 - Two recipients were honored this year.

  • North Country Grown Cooperative is a cooperative corporation owned by its producers and growers. The cooperative markets and delivers locally produced goods to colleges, restaurants and other regional institutions. Products offered by the cooperative include seasonal produce, and year round meats, honey, and maple syrup.
  • Betsy Hodge, Ag Awareness Cooperative Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extenstion of St. Lawrence County who has devoted years to helping young people understand and appreciate local agriculture.

2005 - Seedcorn, a nonprofit organization that provides startup services to new groups. -In their history, Seedcorn has helped start a community garden, a farmers' market, the North Country Garden School, the Farm-to-School support project and GardenShare itself.

2004 - Canton Farmers Market, celebrating their 30th year. Their exemplary service to local farmers and its contribution to building food security in the north country by offering fresh and nutritious locally grown food to area residents for 30 years.

2003 - George Arnold, director of PACES Dining Services and Barbara Page, manager of the Bowman Hall Dining Facility who have been instrumental in introducing locally grown food into the cafeterias of SUNY Potsdam.

To nominate a deserving individual, group or organization, email or call the office. (315) 261-8054