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Driven to Address Food Sovereignty with Organic as Part of the Solution

by Adrian Fischer |

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.

Meet 2020 Future Organic Farmers Grant Recipient Malcolm St. Cyr

Malcolm St. Cyr has a wealth of life experience and a wide world view that will help advance organic in the United States and globally. Born and raised between Washington D.C. and Senegal, St. Cyr has been challenged to learn English, French, Arabic, and Wolof (a Senegalese dialect), as well as the ways of two different countries and cultures. His goals are rooted in his life experience in sub-Saharan Africa, where he learned the importance and the challenges of community and regional food sovereignty. One important answer St. Cyr has found to address complex food sovereignty issues is organic farming.

St. Cyr has specific goals as he strives to complete his two bachelor’s degrees at Iowa State University, one in Agronomy and one in Global Resource Systems. St. Cyr wants to empower farmers to continue their self-reliance and centuries-old traditions while embracing the latest appropriate sciences and technological advances for efficient and regenerative organic practices. His degree in Global Resource Systems will help him grasp market challenges and opportunities with interdisciplinary and systems approaches to managing global resource issues and cultural competencies.

The UNWHO, and other leading world organizations have determined and recommended that small agroecological farms feed the world. One way we can support these small-scale farmers is by nurturing the next generation of agronomists who are passionate and deeply knowledgeable about organic. Most of these small farms are already using organic methods, and St. Cyr hopes to strengthen their efforts by providing much-needed technical support. With his degree in Agronomy, St. Cyr will be able to provide technical support guided by a deep moral compass and community connection and backed with the latest science and organic methods.

St. Cyr writes, “My ultimate goal is to maintain and enhance sustainable organic production that already exists in sub-Saharan Africa, within the context of their culture and traditions, to establish sustainable, organic production that results in food self-sufficiency. I hope to also be instrumental in establishing effective organic supply chains between this region and organic markets in the U.S., including certifying organic production.”

Last year was the second time that the CCOF Foundation supported St. Cyr’s career in organic agriculture. His support was made possible both years by MOM’s Organic Market and our many other CCOF Foundation donors Says St. Cyr of his CCOF grant, “The investment in my future and dreams have been invaluable in boosting my confidence as I went forward last year.” St. Cyr completed his first year at Iowa State with an average GPA of 3.9!

Congratulations and best wishes to St. Cyr during his sophomore year this spring 2021!

Applications for CCOF’s Future Organic Farmer grant open April 1. Find out more and apply at the Future Organic Farmers website.