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2012 Sustainability Award Winners


August, 2012
The Chefs Collaborative announced the 2012 Sustainability Award Winners. These awards recognize individuals who have played an exemplary role in promoting a national network of chefs changing the sustainable food landscape.

The organization called for nominations in May.  "Our members and friends responded with more than a hundred chefs, producers and sustainable food leaders doing amazing work all over the country," said Melissa Kogut, executive director of Chefs Collaborative. The Awards Committee selected finalists for each award and presented them to an esteemed group of judges. "The judges votes are in and we are proud to recognize this year's Pathfinder, Foodshed Champion and Sustainer," added Kogut.

The organization's members and friends will toast the 2012 Sustainability Award Winners on Tuesday, October 2, at noon, at the Seattle Art Museum. The Awards lunch is set for the conclusion of the 2012 Sustainable Food Summit, September 30 - October 2, in Seattle. Kim Severson of The New York Times will be Mistress of Ceremonies and John Sundstrom of Lark restaurant and a team of some of Seattle's best chefs are planning a meal that will make the Pacific Northwest proud.

Founded in 1993, Chefs Collaborative ( is a national network of chefs changing the sustainable food landscape using the power of collaboration, education and responsible buying decisions.

The 2012 Sustainability Award Winners

  • Pathfinder
    Paul Willis
    Founder and Manager Niman Ranch Pork Company, Thornton, Iowa

    This award recognizes a visionary working in the greater food community who has been a catalyst for positive change within the food system through efforts that go beyond the kitchen.

    Paul Willis is a second generation farmer who has advocated for sustainable and humane animal welfare through hog farming. He believes in raising hogs outdoors or in deeply bedded pens, not only because it allows the pigs to demonstrate their natural behaviors but also because it creates a higher quality product.  Over the past 30 years we have lost over 96 percent of hog farmers in the U.S. while the average number of hogs per farm has risen by over 1000%. As the industry transitioned to an industrial method of farming Paul worked to preserve traditional hog farming methods- both for the farmer and the consumer.


  • Foodshed Champion
    Lora Lea and Rick Misterly
    Owners, Quillisascut Farm, Rice, Washington

    This award recognizes a food producer (farmer, fisher, artisanal producer) in the Pacific Northwest committed to working with chefs and who exemplifies the following principle:  Good food begins with unpolluted air, land, and water, environmentally sustainable farming and fishing, and humane animal husbandry.

    "I feel it is the duty for all of us who love working with the land to share the information we have gained with others. This farm school is my goal for passing on the knowledge gathered over the last 20 years on this piece of land," says Lora Lea Misterly, co-owner of Quillisascut Farm in Rice, WA.  For thirty-one years, Rick and Lora Lea Misterly have been living the "slow life," growing Quillisascut Farm. They started out with a bare piece of ground; gradually over time they have built a home, a farmstead, a cheese business and a culinary school to share their love for all things farm to table - building healthy soil, maintaining a vibrant garden, nurturing seeds that tell a story of love, beauty, taste and seasonality.
  • Sustainer
    Kären Jurgensen
    Chef Instructor, Seattle Culinary Academy, Seattle, Washington

    This award recognizes a chef who has been both a great mentor and is a model to the culinary community through his/her purchases of seasonal, sustainable ingredients and the transformation of these ingredients into delicious food.

    K√§ren has mentored, inspired and taught chefs and culinary students through her work as a chef/instructor at Seattle Culinary Academy, and chef/instructor at Quillisascut Cheese Company's Farm School, teaching professional chefs, culinary students and agricultural professionals farm to table practices and philosophies.  She is the founder of the Seattle Chefs Collaborative chapter and is still active on the board.  She is the co-author of ‘Rethinking the Kitchen,’ the sustainable kitchen handbook.


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