The California Certified Organic Farmers Foundation’s executive director and chief executive officer Cathy Calfo have named the 2014 Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund winners.

Future organic farmer grant recipients namedThe fund goes toward helping students pursuing higher or vocational education in organic agriculture, according to a news release.

The fund is a collaboration between organic industry leaders. The California Certified Organic Farmers Foundation and United Natural Foods, Inc. Foundation, along with Driscoll’s, Organic Valley and Bradmer Foods help support the education of new organic farmers, ranchers and food processors. All recipients will receive $2,500 for their studies in organic agriculture.

“We believe that a key challenge to growing future organic farmers is the lack of support within the existing farm education network for young people, and new farmers wishing to pursue projects or careers that focus on organic production methods,” Cathy Calfo, the foundation’s executive director and chief executive officer, said in the release. “Furthermore, we believe that if young people were encouraged to pursue their interests in organic farming, those interests would ‘trickle up’ and put pressure on community colleges and state universities to provide more career development and higher learning opportunities in the field of organic agriculture.”

The Foundation’s 2014 Future Organic Farmer Grant recipients:

  • Stephanie Ayoub, Michigan State University, Organic Farmer Training Program;
  • Emily Barber, Washington State University, Organic Agricultural Systems;
  • Carlos Cervantes, California State University, Fresno, Plant Science;
  • Octavio Garcia, California State University, Fresno, Plant Science;
  • Kristofor Ludvigson, Washington State University, Organic Agricultural Systems;
  • Anna Mays, University of Vermont, Farmer Training Program;
  • Fernando Mendez, Columbia Basin College, Crop and Soil Sciences;
  • Eliza Milio, University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Farm & Garden Apprenticeship;
  • Sarah Spear, Montana State University, Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems – Agroecology; and
  • Madeline Valentine, Michigan State University, Horticulture