11/09/2012 03:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Know Any Good Food Heroes? Nominate Them for the Growing Green Awards

Every holiday season, it's a struggle to not start drooling when walking down the aisles of a grocery store. You know the feeling as the savory scent of tantalizing samples waft into your nostrils from bakery & deli counters, to the picture perfect food magazines tempting you with mouthwatering recipes while you wait to scan your items, pack your canvas tote, and trek out into the autumn air. This time of year, the lure of maple-glazed mashed sweet potatoes and garlic-laden Brussels sprouts dance like sugar-plum fairies in my head. So with food on the brain it really makes sense to give thanks to the people making sumptuous holiday feasts possible, and transforming the future of sustainable food.

For the fifth year in a row, the Natural Resources Defense Council is searching nationwide for exciting leaders who are making our food system healthier for us, more sustainable for the planet, and more equitable for food workers. It's time to apply for the Growing Green Awards.

Foodies, farmers, and everyone in between, we need YOU to help us find the food leaders who make you most excited to sit down at the dinner table. Click here to nominate your favorite farmer or food leader before December 7!

Winners from GGA years past have only made us hungrier for the stories of amazing food heroes from across the country. We've met workers in Florida, who are transforming the state's $600-million tomato industry to support fair wages and human rights for thousands of laborers. We've visited Washington, DC, to find one young woman leading the effort to get farms into schools and fresh, nutritious food onto students' plates. And on a no-till 5,400-acre ranch in North Dakota, we've met a farmer who's bringing back the agrarian practices of our ancestors, and combining it with modern sustainable farming techniques to increase soil health and produce nutritious, profit-making crops.

Meet our 2012 Food Producer Winner: Gabe Brown, of Brown's Ranch in Bismark, North Dakota

But we know there are so many more stories out there. That's where you come in.

Through December 7, we're collecting nominations in four categories:

Food Producer: Farmers or other food producers, including in aquaculture, who are using innovative techniques to sustain agriculture, the natural environment, workers, and communities ($10,000 prize in this category!).
Business Leader: Entrepreneurs whore are using the marketplace to promote sustainable food systems, enabling producers to be more sustainable, or advancing sustainable innovations anywhere along the supply chain.
Food Justice Leader: Advocates and entrepreneurs who are creating equitable food systems, promoting safe and fair working conditions, and improving access to nutritious food for communities in need ($2,500 prize).
Young Food Leader: Sustainable food advocates, entrepreneurs, and innovators who are 30 years old or younger ($2,500 prize).

Do you have an urban farm nearby? Do you know of a business leader who is supporting fair wages for agricultural workers? Are young people in your community leading the charge to ensure sustainable, fresh food is available to everyone? Is there a restaurant or chef who has implemented innovation through their supply chain? Are you a sustainable food hero?

If so, we're ready to hear all the tasty details. Nominate yourself. Nominate your favorite farmer or food leader. And help us spread the word about the 2013 Growing Green Awards


Left to right: Myra Goodman-GGA Judge; Jonathan Kaplan-NRDC;
Andrea Northup-Young Food Leader 2012; and Molly Rockamann-Young Food Leader 2011