A.G. Kawamura and Joe Pezzini have been honored with the Golden Checkmark Award for their help in spearheading the development of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA).

Kawamura, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Pezzini, Chief Operating Officer, Ocean Mist Farms andLGMA founding chairman, received the award at an industry luncheon in Salinas, Calif.

Pezzini, current LGMA Chairman Jamie Strachan, and Western Growers Association President Tom Nassif presented the award to Secretary Kawamura saying, “The LGMA’s Golden Checkmark is an award given in recognition of those who support mandatory government inspection of food safety practices.Simply stated, the LGMA - the first program of its kind to provide mandatory government inspection of leafy greens farms - would not have been possible without the support of CDFA and of A.G.Kawamura.”

Secretary Kawamura presented the award to Pezzini.

“Joe has proven a tireless leader in the launch and implementation of the LGMA up to this very day,” Kawamura said.

Scott Horsfall, LGMA chief executive officer, said the creation of the LGMA took the dedication, commitment, and support of farmers, industry, and government.

“All of those who worked so hard to establish the LGMA should be proud of the fact that since its inception in 2007 over 100 billion servings of leafy greens have been grown under mandatory government inspection,” Horsfall said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed A.G. Kawamura as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture in November 2003. Prior to the appointment, Kawamura was a produce grower and shipper from Orange County where his third-generation farming family still grows strawberries, green beans, and other specialty crops.

Pezzini served as LGMA advisory board chairman from 2007 to 2010.He is past chairman of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and a member of the Produce Marketing Association’s board of directors.