The Sustainable Farming Association recently honored three recipients at its 22nd Annual Conference at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska.
Joel Rosen of Mahtowa was honored with the SFA Farmer Emeritus Award. Linda Meschke of Fairmont and Sue Wika of Ashby each received the SFA Distinguished Service Award. The awards are presented yearly at the Leaders Breakfast during the SFA Annual Conference.
John Mesko, SFA executive director, said the awards were implemented as a way for SFA's board of directors to recognize the efforts of Minnesotans committed to sustainable agriculture.
"Our organization is committed to providing a vision and a direction for the sustainable agriculture movement," Mesko said. "Our award winners have made a consistent long-term impact on the sustainability of our food and farming system. We are proud of our members' efforts and accomplishments."
Rosen, now retired, raised vegetables and livestock for many years at his farm. He spent more than a decade on the state SFA board of directors and has been a stalwart of the SFA Lake Superior Chapter. His nominator, Kelly Smith of Esko, said Rosen had been very generous in sharing wisdom about market gardening as well as preparing meals for events and organizing the Lake Superior chapter's annual Harvest Festival, which annually draws thousands to Duluth.
Meschke is the president and founder of Rural Advantage, a nonprofit interested in capitalizing on the interconnections between agriculture, environment and community. Nominator Kelly Firkins of Delavan said Meschke was a longtime supporter of sustainable agriculture, rural communities and the environment and is forward-thinking and action-oriented.
"Minnesota would not be where it is now in the sustainable community without Linda's leadership and passion for change," Firkins wrote.
Wika was instrumental in developing and coordinating the Sustainable Food Production Program at M State Fergus Falls, a one-of-a-kind program designed to equip and train the next generation of regenerative farm stewards, and has served on the SFA Central Chapter board. Her nominator, Kent Solberg, praised Wika for practicing what she preaches.
"Sue has implemented high-density grazing, permaculture and local food production on her own farm, Paradox," Solberg said.
SFA supports the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through farmer-to-farmer networking, innovation, demonstration, and education. For more information, visit www.sfa-mn.org.