NOFA-VT has created an annual tribute to Enid Wonnacott, who led the organization for 31 years before she died in January, 2019. Each winter, at NOFA-VT’s Winter Conference, The Spirit of Enid Wonnacott Award will be given to one or more deserving recipients who embody those qualities that made Enid such a beloved leader in the organic food movement. The criteria for recipients of the award are people who have helped agriculture to flourish in Vermont, are deeply committed to building community, and live with joy, kindness, and relationships at the heart of their work.
“In creating this award, we are honoring Enid’s loving and generous spirit,” said NOFA-VT’s Erin Buckwalter. Erin worked and laughed with Enid for many years, and now acts as the organization’s Development & Engagement Director. “We are so pleased to be able to recognize special people in Vermont who are doing work in Enid’s signature style.... spreading love and joy while shepherding the important work of improving the food system for all Vermonters.”
This inaugural year, NOFA-VT board member and The Farm Between farmer John Hayden, presented the award to four very deserving individuals:
- Bonnie Acker, Acker Arts — Bonnie is a lifelong artist and activist with a clear passion for local organic farms and food systems including Community Gardens, the Intervale, and of course, NOFA-VT. She is an enthusiastic feature at our winter conference working with children and others to make the connections between food, the environment, local community and art. Her distinctive and inspirational work seems to be found anywhere and everywhere organic farmers, gardeners and eaters gather.
- Jennifer Blackwell, Elmer Farm — Through their CSA and loyal following at Elmer Farm, Jennifer has fostered a strong and vibrant community. They've long been participants in NOFA-VT's Farm Share Program—ensuring that everyone in their community, regardless of income, is able to access their healthy, organic foods. Elmer Farm hosts workshops and other events as Jennifer gracefully welcomes people onto their farm for good food, learning, and socializing.
- Andy Jones, Intervale Community Farm — Besides managing the incredible 500 member ICF and CSA for the past few decades (no small feat), Andy has given selflessly as a leader of the local farming community. Two notable examples are his thoughtful guidance as a past NOFA-VT Board president, and chair of the recent NOFA Executive Director search committee. His farming technical expertise and wisdom are highly sought and shared freely with humility.
- Suzanne Long, Luna Bleu Farm — From the beautiful Luna Bleu farm and CSA near Randolph, Suzanne has been a mainstay in the local organic farming community for almost 30 years. She is a former NOFA-VT board member and is always ready to pitch in to any request no matter how large or small. Suzanne is known for being generous with her time with other farmers and is always willing to show up to help build community. We so appreciate this unwavering bright light among us.
This award is a joyful way to honor Enid’s spirit, and offers a special opportunity to widen the circle each year. It will help to ensure that Enid’s spirit lives on with us while also honoring the ideas that she embodied: building vibrant agricultural communities through good food, joy, kindness, and relationships.
From left to right: John Hayden, Suzanne Long, Bonnie Acker, Jennifer Blackwell, and Andy Jones