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Award Honorees

Marty Mesh, Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers

2014 : Growing the Organic Industry Award

Marty Mesh

Marty Mesh has dedicated more than 40 years to organic agriculture. In 1973, he started growing organic produce and helped start a co-op so that people could purchase organic food. After attending the University of Florida, he founded Bellevue Gardens Organic Farm. For 25 years, working with his hands in the soil, he learned the methods that would later become organic standards. He also worked with other farmers to create a certification program to differentiate organic products in the marketplace. In 1989, he helped form Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers Inc. (FOG), and has served as its executive director since 1995. FOG’s certification arm, Quality Certification Services (QCS), now certifies over 900 farm and handling operations in the U.S. and abroad.

Mesh has been involved at all levels—local, regional, national, and international—and in many different efforts— food systems, policy analysis and advocacy, public speaking and training—to transform the food system and grow organic agriculture and the industry. He has served on the Board of Directors for many organizations including The Organic Center and the Accredited Certifiers Association. He also served as a charter board member for the Organic Materials Review Institute, and was on the steering committee that helped form the Southern Sustainable Agricultural Working Group which has made significant progress towards increasing the viability of farms in the south.