Norway, Iowa (April 2, 2014) — The recipient of the 2013 Simply Organic Scholarship Award began his journey to an apprenticeship on a 25-acre farm at the University of California, Santa Cruz with a bike ride — from the East Coast! Robert DuBois was almost 3,000 miles away from UCSC's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) in 2010 when food allergies led him and a friend to undertake a May-to-September cross-country biking expedition to explore local food across the country.
A stopover in Boulder Creek, Colorado, resulted in a job at a 25-member organic CSA there. He stayed for several years and became a co-manager. It was there he heard about CASFS, which he thought would be a great opportunity to learn more about agriculture and food distribution. The Simply Organic scholarship made that idea a reality.
Robert calls the CASFS program a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" that has not only taught him about growing food organically, but has also given him a chance to explore what he calls the "justice aspect" of food production — what's in our food, who gets what food, and how food production affects people.
He hopes to share what he's learned, ideally in an on-farm, in-garden environment with community interaction like apprenticeships and community programs.
In 2009, Frontier Natural Products Co-op and its brand Simply Organic made a combined contribution of $130,000 to establish the scholarship at CASFS. Kathy Larson, Frontier Vice President of Sustainability feels this is the premier sustainable and organic training program in the U.S. "And our scholarship," she says, "empowers a new generation of sustainable agricultural leaders.
Almost 1,500 apprentices have been trained in CASFS's organic fields, orchards and greenhouses. They have learned how to raise food and flowers — and how to make our food system more sustainable. They are the next generation organic farmers, market gardeners, urban agriculturalists, school garden teachers and other leaders — all working to promote local, healthy food in communities around the country.
Simply Organic, an all-organic brand from Frontier Natural Products Co-op, offers an extensive and growing selection of certified organic spices, seasonings, and mixes while supporting organic agriculture around the globe. By providing the best available organic seasonings and donating one percent of sales to organic agriculture and education, Simply Organic genuinely offers "Simply Healthy Living. Simply Great Taste." Find out more about Simply Organic at www.simplyorganic.com.
Frontier Natural Products Co-op™
Founded in 1976 and based in Norway, Iowa, Frontier Natural Products Co-op offers a full line of natural and organic products under the Frontier, Simply Organic, Aura Cacia® and Aura Cacia Organics® brands. Products include culinary herbs, spices and baking flavors; bulk herbs and spices; and natural and organic aromatherapy products. Frontier's goal is to provide consumers with the highest-quality organic and natural products while supporting and promoting environmental and social responsibility. For more information, visit Frontier's website at www.frontiercoop.com.