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2016 Georgia Organics Conference: A Dedication

Barbara Petit, a respected pioneer in the state’s organic farm, food, and culinary community, has passed after a long fight against cancer. She served as the board president of Georgia Organics from 2003 until 2009 and led the organization during its rapid growth from a small grassroots group with only a volunteer staff to one of the most respected sustainable agriculture organizations in the country, now with a staff of 13.

“Barbara understood what could be accomplished when you brought different people together, sat down, and shared a home cooked meal,” remembered Alice Rolls, executive director of Georgia Organics. “She brought a level of professionalism and tenacity to a young, emerging movement, but she did it with a joyous spirit that inspired all those in her presence.”

“And she was so much more than a colleague,” Rolls says. “She was a dear friend to many of us, a fierce advocate for farmers, and words can not express how much she will be missed by her wonderful family, by us, and by the hundreds of people whose lives she has touched.”

One of the first to link rural farms to the urban farm to table movement, Petit also served as the founding director of the Atlanta Local Food Initiative, charting a course for the city’s sustainable food future and developing an urban agriculture ordinance that was passed by the City of Atlanta last year.

Under her tenure as the matriarch of Georgia’s good food movement, farmers markets grew from just nine to more than 100 across the state, and Georgia Organics’ annual conference – now the premier celebration of sustainable food and agriculture in Georgia – blossomed from 125 attendees to more than 1,000. Petit’s connections through the culinary world, specifically the group Les Dames d’Escoffier, helped attract international luminaries, such as authors Alice Waters and Michael Pollan and Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, to Georgia Organics events.

To recognize her leadership, Georgia Organics created the Barbara Petit Pollinator Award in 2009, which annually recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding community activation in Georgia’s organic farm and food movement. The award honors Petit’s visionary leadership that bridged urban and rural areas, and linked Georgia’s farming and culinary communities.

In gratitude and fond remembrance, we dedicate the 2016 Georgia Organics Conference to Barbara Petit. Please join us as we honor her legacy with the annual Barbara Petit Pollinator Award, which will be announced during the Keynote Address and Awards Ceremony, Saturday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. Here is a look back at the past winners:

2015……………………………Eric Wagoner
2014……………………………….. Teri Schell
2013………………………….. Helen Dubose
2012………………… Christine Anthony &
Owen Masterson
2011………………………………. Teri Hamlin
2010……………………………. Julie Shaffer
2009………………………….. Barbara Petit

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