Living Soil Awards 2021

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Living Soil Awards!

Watch the recording of the ceremony from Wednesday April 21, 2021

Thank you so much to the 34 farmers that took the time to fill out our nomination forms! You are all amazing soil stewards and are doing great things for your ecosystems and communities.

Cultivate Oregon and OPN’s parent organization Friends of Family Farmers thank the community for their support and feedback on our pilot program. We are committed to growing, changing, and learning to make the Living Soil Awards more representative of the many types of knowledge that built the practices we seek to reward. We are so grateful to have folks willing to go on this journey with us and create something more equitable, representative, and valuable in the future.

black tansy cattle
Once again with more pizazz 14

Farmers and ranchers in Oregon practicing regenerative agriculture – who seek to rehabilitate and enhance the entire ecosystem of the farm or ranch by placing a heavy premium on soil health with attention also paid to water management, reduced tillage, and cover cropping, and more. We acknowledge that the agricultural practices now called “regenerative” are often based on and rooted in indigenous worldviews and we welcome all farmers, ranchers, and traditional food producers who love their soil to apply. Farmers cultivating GMO or GE crops* will not be considered. If your farm (or your favorite farm!) prioritizes soil health and currently uses any of the following practices, they should fill out the nomination form:


  • Reduced or no tillage
  • Cover cropping
  • Increased biodiversity (plants and animals)
  • Adoption of organic amendments
  • Adding or changing crop rotations
  • Incorporating perennials (silvopasture, pollinator habitat, etc.)
  • Elimination /reduction of chemical inputs (pesticides, mineral fertilizers, etc.)
  • Control water and waste runoff 
  • Rotational grazing 
  • Riparian buffer zones
  • Reduced or no use of single use plastic (like plastic mulch)
  • Or any other practices designed to sequester carbon in the soil while making the land you steward healthy and vibrant


For more examples of possible practices used on the farm, check out the NRCS agricultural conservation practices. There is space on the nomination form to explain your approach in more detail.

*This refers only to crops modified through gene-splicing in a laboratory setting, not plant varieties isolated through selective breeding. Farmers cultivating hybrid varieties and grafting (both of annual crops like tomatoes and perennial crops like fruit trees) are still eligible to be considered.

Winners will be chosen in 4 categories and each winner will receive:

  • $1,000 cash!
  • A certificate acknowledging their excellence in soil management
  • A gift basket including FoFF and CO branded gear, educational materials and other goodies
  • The option to serve on the selection committee for next year’s Living Soil Awards
  • Recognition at the Living Soil Awards Ceremony happening virtually on April 21, 2021.


The runner up for each category will also receive a gift basket from the selection committee to acknowledge their hard work and dedication.

There are 2 ways that farms and ranches can be nominated for these awards. Regardless of which option is chosen the deadline for nominations is midnight on April 1, 2021.


Self-nominations are welcome! If you are a farmer using some of the practices listed above and want to put your operation forward for consideration, you are more than welcome to fill out our nomination form yourself.

Nominate Your Favorite Farmer

If you know and love a farmer who cares for their soil and stewards their land in this way, share this opportunity with them! The nomination form requires some intimate knowledge about the farm philosophy and practices so the best way to get in touch with them is to send them an email asking them to accept your nomination like the draft below:


I know that you grow and raise food while respecting to your soil and with climate resilience in mind. I came across an opportunity honoring producers like you and I think you would be perfect for it! I want to nominate you for the 2021 Living Soil Awards. This is an opportunity from Friends of Family Farmers and Cultivate Oregon to honor HEROs (holistic, ecological, regenerative operators) of all scales around the state.  Based on your philosophy around soil health and your farming practices, I think you would be a great fit for this award. Winners will receive $1,000 cash as well as a basket of awesome prizes and recognition in the virtual awards ceremony on April 21st, 2021.

If you would like to accept my nomination, please fill out this form by midnight on April 1, 2021. I believe you deserve recognition for the way you prioritize the health of your farm’s whole ecosystem. Thank you for what you do and keep up the good work!


With the help of engaged folks like you, we can reach all the producers who would qualify for this award. We encourage everyone who feels strongly about soil health and makes it a priority in their farming plan to apply. Thank you for helping us spread the word! Just remember…FARMERS MUST ACCEPT THE NOMINATION BEFORE THE DEADLINE TO QUALIFY!

Nominees select a category when they fill in their information:


  • Large Farm:  10+ acres mostly vegetables, annual crops, and/or seeds
  • Small Farm:  10 or fewer acres mostly vegetables, annual crops, and/or seeds
  • Large Farm:  50+ acres mostly Livestock
  • Small Farm:  less 50 acres mostly Livestock


In these categories, nominations will be reviewed and scored by the selection committee with a double blind approach based on the level of implementation of good practices at the farm, framed by the NRCS guidelines for soil health. The top 4 nominees in each category will be interviewed by the selection committee and the subsequent top 2 nominees will be visited by a member of the committee to see their practices in action, take photos, and conduct a short video interview. Winners will be selected prior to the recognition ceremony on April 21, 2021.

Thank you to all the farmers, ranchers and producers of all kinds who raise food while regarding their land and ecosystem as a living entity. We are so grateful to honor your commitment to soil health and climate resilience with the 2021 Living Soil Awards!

This opportunity is made possible in part by our generous sponsors. Thank you for your support of Oregon’s Soil HEROs!


If your business or organization would like to become a sponsor of the Living Soil Awards, please contact Rhianna Simes ( for more details.