Local Foods LeaderGAMBIER, Ohio (November 25, 2009) The Ohio Department of Agriculture honored Howard Sacks, Kenyon College professor of sociology, with the Indigenous Leadership Award for his role as a champion of the local-foods movement.
Robert J. Boggs, Agriculture Department director, presented the award on November 12 to Sacks, who directs the Kenyon Rural Life Center and is a member of the Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council. The award recognizes Ohio leadership in the promotion of local-food systems.
Sacks was a founder of the Knox County Food Policy Council, the first of its kind in Ohio, and developed Kenyon's Food for Thought program, which combines farm viability, a local food network, and educational and research opportunities for students. "Thanks largely to the work of Howard, Kenyon College has been recognized as a national leader in the trend of bringing local foods into college dining halls," Boggs said.
"Food for Thought has enabled Kenyon to advance its educational mission and address the local community's interest in preserving rural character," Sacks said. "And I firmly believe that we've only begun to see the positive economic impact a local food initiative can have for Knox County."
Sacks has taught at Kenyon since 1975. He is the co-author of Catching Stories: A Practical Guide to Oral History and Way Up North in Dixie: A Black Family's Claim to the Confederate Anthem.
Amalie Lipstreu, Agriculture Department senior program manager for sustainable agriculture, said, "We thought it was important to recognize those people within the state who were demonstrating leadership, knowledge, and action that was really exemplary." She added that Sacks, through the Food for Thought program, has created a model for education and outreach to the agricultural community.
The first-time award was presented during a meeting of the Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council with local food policy councils from around the state.