12/08/2010 07:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Deadline Extended! Nominate a Sustainable Food Hero by Dec. 12 for NRDC's Growing Green Awards

The holidays are a festival of food, so what better time of year to celebrate the heroes that are filling our plates with fresh, healthy, sustainable food every day?

Across the country, farmers, producers and food pioneers are transforming the way we think about what we eat and its impacts on the environment. With climate change already threatening our food systems and harmful chemicals continuing to invade our homes, the work of these food heroes couldn't be more important.

That's why the Natural Resources Defense Council is recognizing extraordinary contributions to the field of sustainable food and agriculture with its third annual Growing Green Awards. Through these national awards, NRDC recognizes food producers, entrepreneurs, knowledge leaders and young food advocates who are shaping the future of food in our country.

All 2011 Growing Green Awards winners will be widely celebrated here on The Huffington Post, through NRDC's network of 1.3 million members and online activists, and in other media outlets. And we're giving out $15,000 in prizes to help these food pioneers advance their outstanding efforts.

If you know a sustainable food pioneer, nominate them by Dec, 12 through this simple online form. You can nominate someone (or yourself) in one of four categories:

Food Producer: Farmers or other food producers, including aquaculture, who employ innovative techniques to sustain agriculture, the natural environment, workers, and community

Business Leader: Entrepreneurs who effectively use the marketplace to promote sustainable food systems, develop infrastructure that enables producers to be more sustainable, or advance sustainable innovations anywhere along the supply chain from farm to fork

Knowledge Leader: Researchers or practitioners who advance the science that is needed to implement a more sustainable food system

Young Food Leader (*New category*): Sustainable food advocates, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and innovators who are 30 years old or younger

Click here for more information on eligibility. And meet the winners of the Growing Green Awards from 2010 and 2009.

The seeds for sustainable food are already planted. Families from coast to coast are recognizing the importance of making fresh, healthy food a priority again. It's time to help our food leaders grow their work to ensure that the food industry nurtures our bodies and the earth.