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Molly Rockamann

Ferguson, MO - 2013 Honoree

Organization:

Earth Dance Farms
http://www.earthdancefarms.org

Original Nomination:

- Nominated by: Stephanie Peace

In Her Own Words:

Organic farming has long been an interest of mine, but I was at a loss for how to turn my interest into a career path. Then Molly Rockamann entered into my life. Molly, an environmental activist, founded EarthDance, an organization that trains beginning farmers in the skills of sustainable agriculture. She made it possible for me to learn how to grow food sustainably, and network with people dedicated to saving agricultural lands and growing healthy food. This inspirational woman has helped put me on my new career path as an organic farmer. Molly initially founded EarthDance to preserve the Mueller Farm. The Mueller family had been growing organic food for the St. Louis region since 1883 and Molly saw a need to preserve this historic farm. In 2009, Rockamann inaugurated the nation’s first part-time Organic Farming Apprenticeship Program, turning the Mueller Farm into a regional hub for growing food, farmers, and community. Since then, EarthDance has graduated 94 beginning farmers, and reaches more than 5,000 people annually through its Community Supported Agriculture program, farm tours, youth programs, and participation in local farmers markets. Last year EarthDance grew 10,000 pounds of organic produce for the region, and reached its goal of purchasing the Mueller Farm. EarthDance will be working with The Open Space Council, a local land trust organization, to place a conservation easement on the property, ensuring its organic food production into perpetuity. Alumni from EarthDance have begun farms of their own, school and community gardens, a farm-to-school summer camp, and nonprofits that empower urbanites to grow a better city. Anna Gall, a 2011 graduate who now owns her own successful farming operation, said, “EarthDance has sparked a pride and joy not felt since my childhood. There is something special about seeing life grow before your eyes, in which you had a part. Life's lessons are learned by farming!” Molly also started the Fiji Organic Project to create soil schools for Pacific Islands Farmers. She has testified to help pass the Missouri Urban Agriculture Zone bill, and in 2011, Molly was honored with the Natural Resources Defense Council's Young Food Leader Award for her efforts to preserve the Mueller Farm. Through her dedication to farmland preservation and sustainable agriculture, Molly has been able to raise funds totaling over $450,000 since 2008 and has become known as St. Louis’ leading provider of education in sustainable agriculture

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