Organic Agriculture Program Receives Sustainability Award

Ames: The Office of Sustainability awarded the Iowa State University Organic Agriculture Program the 2024 Live Green! Award for Excellence in Sustainability as part of a two-day symposium on sustainability.

“Their efforts and dedication to supporting sustainability and the Live Green! Initiative through commitment to empowering organic agriculture is impressive and so very impactful to the legacy paid forward for countless generations of Cyclones.” Said Merry Rankin director of the Office of Sustainability. “I am so thrilled to honor their outstanding work.”

Merry Rankin: left and Olivia Miller: right, present the 2024 LiveGreen! Award for Excellence in Sustainability to representatives of the Organic Agriculture Program, Karenna Petersen and Josiah Pollock for the programs efforts in sustainability in 2023.

The award was granted for the Organic Agriculture Programs outreach achievements in sustainability in 2023 which included 7 field days, the 23rd Annual Iowa Organic Conference, three webinars and trainings with USDA-NRCS; through this programming the ISU program reached 1,860 people.

A majority of this work was sponsored through the Transitioning to Organic Partnership Program which provides an opportunity for farmers interested in organic production to transition their acres to organic. Through the efforts of the Organic Agriculture Program, more than 2,000 acres in Iowa are on track to become certified organic in 36 months, eliminating the use of costly and environmentally damaging synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, improving ecosystem services, providing edible food to Iowans, and giving the farmer a competitive market in which to sell crops at a living wage, creating strong and sustainable communities across Iowa.

The Organic Agriculture Program also takes an active role in influencing students toward sustainability through the Transitioning to Organic Course offered every other spring. In 2023, 22 undergrads, graduate students, farmers and extension staff took the course with students taking the knowledge back to their communities and to those seeking to transition their farms to organic. “We are so grateful for the recognition from the Office of Sustainability for all our efforts in 2023” said Dr. Kathleen Delate “We are excited to continue our work to make Iowa organic.”

The 25-year program provides organic research and extension services to organic and transitioning farmers based off research from the Long Term Agroecological Research (LTAR) site in Greenfield, IA. The LTAR is the second oldest organic-conventional comparison in the nation. For more information on the program visit


Students Karenna Petersen, Kasia Pytel and Sam Seddon
share information on the Organic Agriculture Program
during Sustainapalooza, part of the two-day Symposium
on Sustainability at Iowa State University.