Stories / In Memoriam

In Memoriam: JBF Leadership Award Winner Cynthia Hayes

JBF Editors

August 01, 2016


The James Beard Foundation is mourning the loss of Cynthia Hayes, co-founder of the Southeastern African-American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON). Hayes was a visionary environmentalist and a recipient of a JBF Leadership Award in 2013 for her work to provide education and training to small-scale underserved farmers and their communities on the best practices for creating sustainable and economically viable agricultural projects and programs, and gave them a voice in the organic movement. Along with SAAFON co-founder Dr. Owusu Bandele, Hayes gave African-American farmers a voice in the organic movement. “When you look historically and culturally at black farmers, they were originally organic producers,” Hayes said in our profile of her in 2013, “But they were also out of the loop in terms of sustainable agricultural projects and USDA organic certification. To put it simply, they had a lack of information.” Cynthia Hayes and her advocacy made a huge difference in our food world. She will be missed.


Read the full profile of Cynthia Hayes here.

Read more about SAFFON here.