The Victoria A. Simons Locavore Awards have been established in memory of the long-time editor of The Independent Newspaper, the first executive director of Columbia County Bounty, and the first woman to serve on the board of the annual Columbia County Fair in Chatham.
Up to three awards—each consisting of a plaque and a stipend of $1,000—are made annually to recognize outstanding vision and accomplishment in expanding the availability, quantity, quality or distribution of local foods reaching local mouths.
Organizations, farms, restaurants, co-ops and individuals are eligible for the award so long as they operate or reside within 50 miles of the Village of Chatham and their efforts primarily benefit residents of this region.
The 2012 top award winner was the Osofsky Family of Ronnybrook Farm Dairy in Ancramdale for 20 years of creative enterprise bringing farmers and consumers together. Ronnybrook today produces some 60 products with more than 40 full and part-time employees and sells via 230 stores, restaurants, and farmer’s markets throughout the area.
The two other 2012 award winners were Laura Pensiero of Red Hook for her restaurant, farm market and catering businesses collectively known as Gigi Hudson Valley; and Liz Beals of Stuyvesant, a long-time local food advocate who has used her position at Beth’s Farm Kitchen to help local farmers create numerous value-added products.
The winner of the 2011 award was Amy Cotler, West Stockbridge, MA, author of The Locavore Way, Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food.
Winner of the 2010 inaugural award was Joe Gilbert of Chatham’s The Berry Farm. Brian J. Alberg, Executive Chef of the Red Lion Inn of Stockbridge, MA was runner-up.
Nominees for the award have included Beth’s Farm Kitchen; Liz Beals; Columbia County Backpack Program; Anna Dawson; Local 111 Restaurant; Amy Lawton; Nassau Cooperative Community Food Compact; Lebanon Valley Farmer’s Market; Dutchess County Tourism; Ellen Poggi; Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm; Shaker Mountain Canning Company; David Robinson; Lori Selden; Staron’s Farm Stand; Marilyn Burch; and Todd Erling of Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation.
Also, Aleisha Gibbons of Berkshire Organics, Dalton, MA; the Ambrose Family of Scarecrow Farm, Claverack; Chatham Agricultural Partnership; CrossRoads Food Shop of Hillsdale; Grazin’ Diner of Hudson; Jack Meccariello of Pine Plains; Jeff Loshinsky Catering of Hudson; Joan Sussman of Gt. Barrington; Julie Scott of Alford, MA; and Terrapin Restaurant Chef Josh Kroner of Rhinebeck.
Previous nominees are eligible for nomination again for the award,
but previous winners are not.
The Victoria A. Simons Locavore Awards are presented annually by Fair Directors on the Northgate Stage on Labor Day, the final day of the Fair’s run.
For 14 years Simons was a director of the Columbia County Agricultural Society, which puts on the Fair, where she championed organic and non-traditional forms of agriculture locally, facilitated the restoration of the original Fair House and expanded community use of the fairgrounds.
The word Locavore was coined in San Francisco at the 2005 World Environment Day to describe and promote the practice of eating a diet consisting of food harvested within a 100-mile area. The Locavore movement encourages people to grow their own food; buy from farmer’s markets, CSAs, and other local food programs; and to patronize restaurants, caterers and other food preparers that feature local ingredients.
Vicki was a strong proponent of Locavore activities as part of her commitment to see greater use of locally produced food and to keep agriculture an integral part of the community experience.
As a writer and editor, she documented the shift to organic and niche farming activities locally, and as a motive force of Columbia County Bounty helped bring farmers together with chefs, restaurants and caterers to facilitate greater, more creative use of local food products. She also helped establish the Bounty model in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties as steps toward a Bounty program covering the entire Hudson Valley.
Simons died in 2010 following a battle with cancer.
Tax-deductible contributions are welcomed to the Victoria A. Simons Locavore Award Fund at Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation, P.O. Box 1189, Hudson, NY 12534.
To nominate someone for the award (self-nominations are acceptable) please submit the form below.
Both nominations and self-nominations are accepted for the Victoria A. Simons Locavore Award.
Deadline for 2013 award nominations is July 31, 2013.
Entries, if not submitted through the form below, should contain all the requested information and be sent to the Victoria A. Simons Locavore Award, c/o Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation, P.O. Box 1189, Hudson, NY 12534. Nominations must arrive before the deadline. Supporting materials—such as newspaper clippings and letters of support—are welcome but not required.
Finalists for the award, who will be announced in mid-August, should plan to attend the presentation ceremony at the Columbia County Fair on Labor Day.
A nomination package needs to include all of the following information: