The 2011 Pedro Ilic Awards will honor Allan and Mineca Griggs of Shasta County as outstanding farmers and Holly George of UC Cooperative Extension in Plumas and Sierra counties as outstanding agricultural educator.
The 2011 Pedro Ilic Award for Outstanding Farmers will be presented to Allan and Mineca Griggs, who grow winegrapes, vegetables, blueberries and blackberries at Cove Crest Farm near Montgomery Creek in northeastern Shasta County. The couple sell their wines and produce at farmers markets in Redding. Though they are the farm's primary employees, the Griggs also host volunteers each summer who are interested in learning about sustainable agriculture practices.
The Griggs have cooperated with UC Cooperative Extension field trials, including a blackberry variety trial. In 2010, Cove Crest Farm was the setting for a workshop about organic controls for powdery mildew — after cooperating with a UC Davis research trial. The day included lunch hosted by the Griggs. Allan Griggs is also a co-founder of the Shasta Cascade Viticulture Association, which has grown to more than 140 growers and 30 wineries from Chico to the Oregon border.
The Griggs were nominated by Dan Marcum, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor, and Greg Butler, president of the Shasta Cascade Viticulture Association.
"Allan and Mineca Griggs have shown that small farms can begin, grow, succeed and flourish with self-reliance, hard work, learning and sharing," wrote Marcum and Butler in their nomination. "They are not only successful in their business, but also leaders in the broader community of Shasta County."
Holly George, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Plumas and Sierra counties, will be honored with the 2011 Pedro Ilic Award for Outstanding Agricultural Educator. In addition to serving as a livestock and natural resources advisor, George has provided leadership in agritourism research and education. She is a co-author of two editions of the manual Agritourism and Nature Tourism in California.
George has also played an important role in helping members of the Sierra Valley agricultural community tell their own stories in the "Passion for the Land" digital storytelling project. The project brought together ranchers, farmers, artists, UC Davis scholars, students and Cooperative Extension professionals to try to share the challenges of sustaining working landscapes. She is also participating in the Sierra CRAFT farmer-to-farmer education project.
George was nominated by UC Cooperative Extension colleagues, Penny Leff and Deborah Giraud.
"Holly George is an outstanding leader and educator who uses her skills, creativity, warmth and passion to teach, inspire and connect many people in the agricultural community," wrote Leff and Giraud in their nomination. "Her dedication to helping other educators, as well as small-scale farmers and ranchers, to develop skills and build community shows the best qualities of an educator."
The awards will be presented on March 7 by the University of California's small farm program at the California Small Farm Conference in San Jose.
The awards are named for the late Fresno County farm advisor Pedro Ilic, whose untimely death in 1994 prompted the UC Small Farm Program to annually honor those who carry out his legacy of personal commitment to small-scale and family farming. The annual awards honor an educator and a farmer who embody characteristics that helped make Ilic successful.