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Growing Community Award 

Every year, GardenShare honors an individual or organization that is making strides toward a more just food system in St. Lawrence County. GardenShare is currently seeking nominations for the 2022 Growing Community Award, which will be presented in September at our Fight Hunger Fair & 5K. Individuals, families, or organizations who are demonstrating progress in solving the problem of hunger or building a stronger local food system that benefits all North Country residents may be nominated for this recognition.

Please use this google form to nominate a person or group that makes an impact on our local food system.

Following are the citations presented to each year's recipient.

2019 - Laurell Brault

Laurell Brault, founder and coordinator of the Potsdam Snack Pack program, 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."

2015 - Bob Washo and Flip Filippi, littleGrasse Foodworks 

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, 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

UShare is 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 - Julie Holbrook, Keene Central School, and Cindy Harnas, South Jefferson Central School

Under Julie's leadership, the Keene Central'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 has been integral in developing a project at South Jeff 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.

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Nomination for 2022 Award are open