Jean Sullivan is the recipient of the 2023 Farm & Food Care Champion Award. She was presented with the award at Farm & Food Care Ontario’s (FFCO) annual conference in Elora, Ont. April 13.
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The award has been presented annually by FFCO since 1999 in recognition of an individual or group’s significant commitment to public outreach and support for Ontario’s farming community. The award presentation was part of the agenda at FFCO’s speakers’ conference, ‘Table Talk: Shifting Perspectives’, a day-long program for the Ontario agriculture industry, featuring speakers and collaboration around growing public trust.
Sullivan, an Ottawa Valley resident, was nominated by the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers’ Association in recognition of her broad range of agriculture-focused volunteering, with letters of support submitted by Bruce Hudson and Ashley Knapton. Her award was presented by FFCO Vice Chair Crispin Colvin with assistance from Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Lisa Thompson and Senator Rob Black.
“It is a privilege to honour someone who has taken an active role in getting the message out about agriculture each year. Recognizing leaders like Jean, who champion agriculture in Ontario, is an important way for the community to say thank you for all the work these leaders do,” said Colvin. “Jean deserves recognition for all the work she does to bring awareness of agriculture to her community.”
Sullivan is described by nominators as an unwavering and dedicated supporter of Ontario agriculture and food. Both professionally, as an agronomist, and as a volunteer, she has undertaken numerous initiatives that help promote agriculture and food and educate people from all walks of life, and enhance public trust and confidence in food and farming.
Her efforts make food and farming understandable, personal and relatable to her community through telling the story of local agriculture, FFCO said in a release. Sullivan volunteers in a wide variety of roles and organizations and is always looking for ways to share agriculture’s stories and successes with the public.
Currently, Sullivan serves as a director of the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame, is a director of the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers’ Association, a 4-H leader in West Carleton and on the board of directors of the Carp Fair. Her efforts were instrumental in bringing FFCO’s Breakfast from the Farm event to Carp in 2021. She also started the first-ever ‘Real Dirt on Farming’ 4-H club, taking senior 4-H members through issues addressed in the award-winning publication.
“Jean is truly the greatest kind of asset for eastern Ontario. She has her heart set on the success of the industry, and more importantly the people in and around it,” said nominator Ashley Knapton. “Her vision and fierce determination are contagious. I, along with many other next generation agriculture enthusiasts, are lucky to have Jean to look up to. I consider Jean a mentor and respect her experience in how to engage a broader audience every time we have the opportunity to work or volunteer together.”
“Jean cares deeply about her community and actively initiates ideas to bring agriculture leaders and consumers together,” added nominator Bruce Hudson, Past President of the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association. “She deserves to be commended for her outstanding advocacy work in promoting agriculture to youth and consumers at large.”