Illinois Stewardship Alliance was honored to present Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant with a career achievement award at their Annual Meeting on December 10, 2014 in recognition of her years of dedication to promoting local food and sustainable agriculture.
Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant is the Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator serving Logan, Menard and Sangamon counties. And prior to Extensions reorganization a few years ago she was the Small Farms Specialist for the state of Illinois.
There are very few food and farm projects in Central Illinois that she does not have a hand in, and it is not a stretch to say with more than 25 years of experience working in sustainable agriculture and local food systems that every significant project or advancement related to local food in Central IL, and even a number of statewide efforts, at some point had or has her fingerprints on it.
She was a co-founder of the Central Illinois Farm Beginnings Program and currently organizes the Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network. She is a founding member of the Illinois Organic Growers Association Board and was instrumental in its formation. She has served as a member of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance board and as our board president. She is one of the main forces behind the successful and growing Illinois Specialty Crop, Agritourism and Organic Conference, and has chaired the Organic Track for the last several years. She serves as a governor appointed member of the Illinois Local Food, Farms and Jobs Council and is a board member of the non-profit organization Illinois Farmers Market Association and the Spence Farm Foundation. She recently played a key role in founding the Grow Springfield network. In 2013, she was appointed to the USDA Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. She is the past president of both the Illinois Chapter Soil and Water Conservation Society and the national soil and water conservation society.
Her list of involvements and credentials go on, but it is safe to say that there are few people in Illinois who have done more to advance the local food movement than Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, and it is with great respect that we recognize her perseverance and dedication to this important work.