Jim Cook Award
The Jim Cook Award honors food and farming entrepreneurs committed to solving chronic dilemmas in food and agriculture with determination, creative thinking, and hutz-pah. The recipient should have a slight level of irreverence, an elevated sense of integrity, and above all, a commitment to the quality of the work they produce. Recipients will receive a commemorative award and $200. Businesses, groups, and individuals wishing to make a contribution to Jim Cook Award Prize Fund are welcome to do so by contacting Bob St.Peter at 207-244-0908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone meeting the above criteria who resides in Maine. Two recipients will be chosen for 2011, one from Aroostook County and one state-wide.
Nominations & Voting
Each voter can make up to three choices and votes will be tabulated using instant run-off voting. A #1 selection will receive 3 points, a #2 selection will receive 2 points, and a #3 selection will receive 1 point. The awards will go to the person or groups with the highest totals. Please include full name and farm, business, or other relevant affiliation. Deadline for nominations is Friday, April 29. The winners and honor roll will be announced May 1.
Download nomination form here and mail to Jim Cook Award, PO Box 51, Sedgwick, ME 04676. You can also reply to this email with your choices.
In the words of Jim Cook…(from Jim’s vision for Crown of Maine Organic Cooperative circa 2006)
Maine is a place it can happen. As we look around the world we can see that it definitely ain’t happenin’ in too many places. We are fortunate to live in a place of great natural resource and beauty with a population small enough and government “grassroots” enough that we can act with reasonable hope of accomplishment. In our case at hand, “IT” is a community inter-connected through a self-providing food system that results in strong and vibrant local agriculture.
Contrary to the belief that we must centralize, specialize and globalize to succeed, we see that, whatever else we need to do to survive in this world, we must be strong, sophisticated and savvy at home. This means locally produced food, shelter and fuel. To have a regionally secure food supply we must have a strong farming base and strong support at home. Your support at home is what we term “co-production” for without it, nothing happens.
Just as farmers might cozy up to the fire in January and order the inputs for spring planting, your production planning input happens when you can tell your farmers what you like and how much you would like to purchase. We call this “co-production” because you are valued partners in our vocation of raising crops for our livelihood.
As the distribution vehicle for many Maine farms (some of them also your more local farms) we are in a great place to interface information about the “big picture” and coordinate efforts for the next year’s production. While it is our philosophy and policy not to compete or interfere with direct farm to customer sales, our job is to enhance each farm’s ability to produce and serve wider markets both in State and New England.
Over the last ten years we have witnessed and taken part in the keen interest Maine residents have for their rural roots and maritime traditions. The farming and fishing sectors of our Maine economy, however, are struggling. They are struggling because the existing food distribution system is all about forcing farmers to commodity pricing and maximizing corporate profit.
As small farmers, distributors and neighbors we have a unique opportunity in Maine to do business “as un-usual”.
The most frequently expressed equivocations to buying local products are “I can’t find it” and “I can’t afford it”.
The unspoken excuse is, “it’s just too much trouble.”
As we look around the Maine landscape we see the need to take the steps to improve access to local foods at affordable prices. The link COMOC is trying to forge is improved access to affordable local foods state wide.
Mainers have given enthusiastic reception to the field crops (see Products for complete list) we have been able to provide, including Maine grown and milled wheat flour. Coordinating production with overall demand is somewhat of a “chicken and egg” magic trick because we are not (merci a dieu) a large corporate entity with deep pockets. However, we have learned through hard won experience that by working together we can conceive and produce supply of both our traditional Maine crops and innovative “new crops” such as winter greens and specialty items for the restaurant trade.
Continuing to work together we expect to meet the demand for these products and enable production to go to the next dependable level. The net result of spending your money to purchase local products is a stronger and more independent local economy.