The national organization Beyond Pesticides awarded Jim Riddle, of Winona, its Dragonfly Award on April 28, 2017, at its annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minn. The Dragonfly was awarded “In Honor and Appreciation of Jim Riddle for leading the nation in advancing organic integrity in policy and practice.”
Riddle delivered a keynote address at the Beyond Pesticides conference, Healthy Hives, Healthy Lives, Healthy Land: Ecological and Organic Strategies for Regeneration. His talk, Make America Organic Again, focused on the importance of organic policy and food production in advancing sustainable practices that protect human health and the environment. He discussed the importance of the Organic Foods Production Act, which establishes the USDA organic food label, in setting standards for organic production practices that build soil biology and eliminate a reliance on toxic and petroleum-based synthetic substances. Riddle was formerly chair of the National Organic Standards Board, which oversees implementation of the organic law.
For more than 30 years, Riddle has been an organic farmer, gardener, inspector, educator, policy analyst, author and avid organic eater. He and his wife, Joyce Ford, own and operate Blue Fruit Farm, where they grow blueberries, black currants, elderberries, aronia berries, honeyberries, and more. He was founding chair of the Winona Farmers Market Association and the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA), and co-author of the International Organic Inspection Manual. Riddle serves as chair of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Task Force and was instrumental in passage of Minnesota’s landmark organic certification cost-share program, which now is a Farm Bill program that provides 75 percent reimbursement for organic certification costs nationwide. Riddle worked for the University of Minnesota as Organic Outreach Coordinator and as Organic Research Grants Coordinator for Ceres Trust. He served on the Leadership Team for eOrganic, the national Extension Community of Practice for organic agriculture and on the Citizens Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Founded in 1981 as a national, grassroots, membership organization, based in Washington, D.C., that represents community-based organizations and a range of people seeking to bridge the interests of consumers, farmers and farm workers, Beyond Pesticides advances improved protections from pesticides and alternative pest management strategies that reduce or eliminate a reliance on pesticides. Beyond Pesticides’ membership and network span the 50 states and the world.