Jeff Dickinson, who works as a farmer, educator, and researcher at the Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware, was recently honored by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) during its annual conference held Feb. 16-18 in Newark, Ohio.
Dickinson received the OEFFA’s Service Award, which “recognizes extraordinary service in support of sustainable agriculture.”
Also during the conference, Jeff Dean, of Sandusky, received the Stewardship Award, while Scott Myers, of Wayne County, was named the Policy Leader of the Year.
“I am continually amazed at the passion and commitment of OEFFA members to our shared vision of a sustainable, just, and resilient food and farm system,” said Rachel Tayse, OEFFA executive director. “I congratulate Jeff, Jeff, and Scott not only for their excellent contributions to the organization, but to the leadership and mentorship they offer to build future generations of sustainable and organic farmers.”
A press release issued by OEFFA states, “When Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware, Ohio, was founded in 1990, their first hire was Jeff Dickinson. He was studying for his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University then, and started to work part time at the nonprofit educational farm and nature preserve. When he completed his degree, he was hired as Stratford’s director and has been on staff ever since.
More than 30 years later, Stratford is a popular destination for school children and adults alike to learn about the natural world. The farm welcomes more than 12,000 visitors a year through hands-on learning, camps, and other environmental programming.
At the start, his work encapsulated everything from fundraising to lawn mowing. Through Dickinson’s direction, the educational programs have continuously grown in quality, and now a professional team of staff, interns, and volunteers make the nonprofit run year round.”
Timothy Van Meter, an associate professor at the Methodist Theological School of Ohio in Delaware, presented the Service Award to Dickinson.
“Who in agriculture has had a bigger impact with children?” Van Meter said. “Knowing where their food came from, how systems work, why you have a pond, why you have animals, why you have all these holistic ways of growing and being better.”
After accepting his award, Dickinson said, “What service (is this) when you get to spend your whole life doing the things you love to do?”
To nominate a sustainable agriculture leader for 2024’s awards, visit news.oeffa.org/awards.
Information for this article was submitted by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).