The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2021 recipients of its Stewardship and Service awards.
Jan Dawson and Andy Reinhart of Logan County received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and Steve Edwards of Warren County received the Service Award, which recognizes extraordinary service in support of sustainable agriculture.
“Over the course of more than 40 years, this organization and the broader sustainable food and farm movement, have been built by the tireless efforts of farmers, conscientious consumers, educators, researchers, retailers, and others. It is breathtaking how far we’ve come, from a handful of folks with a shared vision to a societal-wide understanding of the economic, environmental, and social significance of local and sustainable food systems,” said Carol Goland, Executive Director of OEFFA. “Jan, Andy, and Steve have made lasting contributions to this effort, and we are both grateful and pleased to be able to recognize these truly remarkable individuals for their hard work and accomplishments.”
The announcements were made Feb. 13 and 14 as part of OEFFA’s 42nd annual conference, “Our time: Essential links for a strong food chain.”
2021 Stewardship Award winners—Jan Dawson and Andy Reinhart
Jan Dawson and Andy Reinhart of Jandy’s Farm in Bellefontaine have been farming together on a small portion of their 40-acre wooded property since 1988. They are founding vendors of the Logan County Farmers Market, which they’ve attended since 1997.
They grow a wide-range of flowers and produce, including lettuce and onions, and are known for their annual on-farm garlic festival featuring 12 varieties of garlic, music, and other vendors.
“We have always grown by organic methods, using no chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. We use green manure cover crops and work diligently to feed and improve our soil to produce healthy food,” Dawson said.
At 69 and 70, the couple remains active.
“We hope to try to stay active with our market in expanding and helping to support, locate, and encourage young new farmers in our area to see that small local produce growers can make a living and stay here in the community they grew up in,” Dawson said.
Dawson and Reinhart are long-time OEFFA members and during an OEFFA farm tour, met the late writer Gene Logsdon and his wife, Carol, who became mentors and friends. Dawson and Reinhart have hosted farm tours and led workshops at OEFFA’s annual conference.
“We always recommend OEFFA and especially the conference to any new growers we meet. We think the conference is one of the best ways to be around other like-minded people and it creates an incredible uplifting, exciting, enthusiastic beginning to the growing season,” Dawson said.
2021 Service Award Winner—Steve Edwards
Steve Edwards of Lebanon is a long-time OEFFA leader and member, president of OEFFA’s Board of Trustees, and president of OEFFA’s Southwest Chapter. He represented the chapter for 16 years on OEFFA’s board, and has formerly served as Treasurer and Secretary. He helped to form OEFFA’s regional and issue-based chapters.
He started working on a grain and hog farm when he was 12 and has been involved in crop and livestock production ever since. He has worked for many southwest Ohio educational and organic farms, including Turner Farm, Gorman Heritage Farm, Grailville Earthshares CSA, Greenacres Farm, Locust Run Farm, and Peach Mountain Organics. Today, he is a farm mentor at Our Harvest, a Cincinnati-based sustainable farming cooperative.
Edwards remains active in OEFFA, helping to shape and strengthen the organization.
“OEFFA has met challenges and is facing many more. Most organizations grow and peak and need to adapt to changing circumstances. We have an opportunity to tap into the growing number of ecological food and farm-minded people who could become members. OEFFA continues to connect people and action with new energy coming in as others retire,” he said.