Meet Nicole Gurreri: A CCOF Foundation Future Organic Farmer

The Future Organic Farmer Grant winners were judged to have the strongest combination of commitment to leading a lifelong career in organic agriculture, investment and participation in the organic community, and dedication to growing the organic movement. Each grant recipient will receive $2,500 to apply toward their studies in organic agriculture. 

Find out how to apply for your own Future Organic Farmer Grant.

Learn more about supporting the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund through a donation.

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Nicole Gurreri often spent hot summer days helping her grandfather– a retired farmer–manage his garden. Though she enjoyed the rhythm of weeding and harvesting, her favorite activity was picking his plentiful fruit bushes, always making sure that she ate one berry for every one that was dropped into her harvest bucket.

Many years later Gurreri found herself at College of the Atlantic, a tiny school on the coast of Maine with a strong focus on sustainability. As she studied ecology and natural sciences her freshman year, she became interested in the local and organic agriculture movements. This interest led her to an internship at a cut-flower farm in Virginia, as well as a three-month WWOOFing stint around Alaska.

When she returned to College of the Atlantic her junior year, Gurreri became an employee at her college's vegetable production farm Beech Hill Farm, where she has worked for the past year. In addition to her farm duties, Gurreri spent the past year organizing a farm-to-school program with a local elementary school, where they teach lessons about agriculture and help the kids grow food and explore their local food system. She also designed and executed Beech Hill Farm's flower and herb garden, as well as a small children's garden on the College of the Atlantic campus.

“To me, organic agriculture is the synthesis of many of my passions: it integrates nature, ecology, plant science, outdoor living, food, community, culture, and education,” Gurreri explained. In the future, she hopes to continue educating people of all ages by using farms and gardens as hands-on experiential learning tools.

Congratulations Nicole!

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grants.

The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund 2016 grants were made possible by the generous support of CCOF, the UNFI Foundation, the CCOF Processor/Handler Chapter, the Clif Bar Family Foundation, Dr. Bronner’s, Driscoll’s, Duncan Family Farms, Forager Project, Frey Vineyards, Frontier Co-op, Green Ox Pallets, Independent Natural Food Retailers Association, National Co+op Grocers, Organic Valley, and SunRidge Farms. Thank you to these organizations for helping us inspire the next generation of organic farmers!

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Today, less than 1% of America’s farmland is organic, and farmers who want to transition their land face a long and costly process. Hear from CCOF's CEO Kelly Damewood about what we're doing to address this challenge:

One percent