The last face-to-face chat I remember having with Vicki Simons, the former editor of The Independent, was at the annual Columbia County Fair. Simons was by then on the Fair’s board, and her sincere enthusiasm for (and dedication to) local agriculture positively radiated from her face. Simons died earlier this year; her husband Tony Jones, the former Inde publisher, has now announced the following award in her honor... So, who’s going to nominate Carole Clark first?
5/24/2010: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tony Jones, 518-755-7865
Lael Locke, 518-392-5850
Award Honors Simons’ Commitment to Local Food
CHATHAM — A prestigious new award has been established in memory of Vicki Simons, long-time editor of The Independent newspaper, executive director of Columbia County Bounty, and sparkplug for many causes targeting community improvement.
The Victoria A. Simons Locavore Award—which consists of a plaque and a stipend of $1,000—recognizes outstanding vision and accomplishment in expanding the availability, quantity, quality or distribution of local foods reaching local mouths.
Organizations, farms, restaurants, co-ops and individuals are eligible for the award so long as they reside within 50 miles of the Village of Chatham and their efforts primarily benefit residents of this region.
Tax-deductible contributions are welcomed to the Victoria A. Simons Locavore Award Fund at Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation, P.O. Box 1189, Hudson, NY 12534.
A golf tournament to benefit the fund is scheduled for August 9 at Columbia Golf & Country Club.
The new award will be presented annually during the Columbia County Fair over Labor Day Weekend. For 14 years Simons was a director of the Columbia County Agricultural Society, which puts on the Fair, where she championed organic and non-traditional forms of agriculture locally, facilitated the restoration of the original Fair House and expanded community use of the fairgrounds.
Nominations (and self-nominations) for the award are encouraged and may be sent to the Award Fund c/o HRBT Foundation at the address listed above. The deadline is July 31. Nomination letters should provide a one-page narrative describing the applicant’s activities and explaining how they support the mission of the Locavore Award Fund.
The word Locavore was coined in San Francisco at the 2005 World Environment Day to describe and promote the practice of eating a diet consisting of food harvested within a 100-mile area. The Locavore movement encourages people to grow their own food; buy from farmer’s markets, CSAs, and other local food programs; and to patronize restaurants, caterers and other food preparers that feature local ingredients.
Simons was a strong proponent of Locavore activities as part of her commitment to see greater use of locally produced food and to keep agriculture an integral part of the community experience.
As a writer and editor, she documented the shift to organic and niche farming activities locally, and as a motive force of Columbia County Bounty helped bring farmers together with chefs, restaurants and caterers to facilitate greater, more creative use of local food products. She also helped establish the Bounty model in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties as steps toward a Bounty program covering the entire Hudson Valley.
Simons died March 1 following a brief battle with cancer.
The Award Fund is made possible in part through a grant from the Green Pastures Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.
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