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Tiffany Traynum’s Blog

Give Thanks to Your Food Visionary - Nominate Them for a 2013 Growing Green Award!

Tiffany Traynum

Posted November 20, 2012

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2013 GGA Cover photos_Sheep.JPG

The holiday season is my favorite time of year. You could easily argue that there are other seasons as equally stunning as winters on the west coast, but there is undoubtedly no other time that feels as good as when Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around.

Most of my feel good moments are spent at my mother’s home reliving my childhood. Like most children, I would become practically unglued waiting for the thanksgiving meal to be done. I had no concept of where my mother purchased the food from, how much it cost, or exactly how long it took to prepare. I only knew that the meal would be amazing and that I would leave the table full and happy. As an adult, it’s fun to step back into that role for a day or two; to be at home with mom and feel so taken care of.

While I was tempted to do the same this year – sit back and let my mom handle Thanksgiving dinner—I decided it was time to get involved. Not just because my mom deserves a helping hand, but because I’ve learned so much recently about food and where our food comes from, I knew it would be a great opportunity to support our local famers, food producers, and local business committed to good food and sustainability.

If you’re like me—and you care about your health, the environment, and food justice—being able to trust your food source is essential. When I purchase something, I like to be confident that it was grown in antibiotic-free, healthy soil; from a farm practicing fair labor standards, and that the people behind these labels have ecological integrity.  It’s nice to know that the people behind our Thanksgiving meal prioritize the concept of food and stewardship.

Needless to say, my mother was surprised when I not only offered to help with the grocery shopping this year,  I had very strong feelings about where we would and would not go (it was a little too late plant a vegetable garden in her yard). I did some research, talked to a few foodies around the office and found that my family and I have plenty of options that will ensure our holiday meals are delicious, environmentally responsible, and support local growers and producers making organic food mainstream.


2012 GGA Wiinners Gabe Brown, George Siemon, Lucas Benitez, Andrea Northup, and Greg Asbed

The fact that we have so many good food growers and ranchers in northern California make us quite fortunate; but we do not hold the monopoly on food heroes. For its fourth annual year NRDC is holding the Growing Green Awards to recognize people throughout the country that are making extraordinary contributions that advance ecological farming practices, climate stewardship, water stewardship, farmland preservation, and social responsibility. Last year – my first Growing Green Awards (GGA)—I was blown away by the winners, judges, and nominees. Young people like Andrea Northup, 2012 GGA Young Food Leader and principal architect of the farm to school provision in the “Healthy Schools Act” in Washington, D.C.; or the co-founders of the Coalition of Immokalee (CIW) workers and 2012 GGA Food Justice winners Luca Benitez and Greg Asbed, who revolutionized Florida’s fresh tomatoes industry, transforming it from one of the most repressive employers in the country to becoming the most progressive in the industry.

Now that Growing Green Awards 2013 is almost here, I cannot wait to see who will be honored and the amazing contributions they are making to food. Nominations are open now until December 7th. Winners not only receive extensive recognition and cash prizes; they also receive a platform to continue important food discussions that will affect generations for years to come.

Is there someone in your life that fits the bill? Who do you rely on for that fresh, organic turkey?  Is there a business leader in your community impacting your grocery experience in a healthy, sustainable way? What about that young food advocate that regardless of age, positively impacts the way your family shops and eats? We not only want to know them—we want to celebrate them. If that person is you—tell us by nominating yourself.

I know that my contribution to my family’s Thanksgiving meal does not make me a Growing Green Awards contender. It’s the influence of this amazing food award and the exceptional people honored however, that encourage me to be more of an active consumer and want know more about the plate of food being placed in front of me.

Nominate your food hero today for a 2013 Growing Green Award and share their food story with us!

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

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