2021 Emerging Leaders in Food and Ag Award Winners Announced

For Immediate Release

December 17, 2021


2021 Emerging Leaders in Food and Ag Award Winners Announced

Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag unveiled their ten Award winners at a virtual event on December 15.

Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag is a national initiative that aims to grow, connect, and celebrate visionary leaders across the agriculture and food system in order to ensure that the enormous challenges facing food and agriculture today are addressed by a new generation of innovative, engaged leaders.

The 2021 Award winners included farmers and people in various levels of the food and agriculture value chains across the U.S. and Canada.  An initial group of nominees was narrowed down to 25 finalists after open voting on the EmergingLeadersFA.com website.  From there, selection of the 10 award winners was based on a robust set of criteria, including responses to curated questions.

“We are so very inspired by this year’s award winners – each working in their own way to create a healthier, more vibrant, and more just food system,” said Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag director Sarah Day Levesque.

This year’s award winners are creating change by connecting under-served communities to better food sources, advocating for and training soil health principles, striving for increased food equity and justice, improving food system policy, addressing food production, and much more.

Day Levesque adds, “2021 was another challenging year across the food system and our 25 finalists AND 10 awards winners really highlight the incredible passion and commitment that leaders across the space have for making us stronger. The people on this list are working in big ways and small to create change. We look forward to continuing to grow the Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag community and to helping spur increased connection and collaboration that supports positive change in the food and ag sectors.”

The Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag Awards event and keynote will be available for online viewing in its entirety soon.

The 10 Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag Award winners for 2021 are:

  • Kayla Birdsong, Fresh Food Connect
  • Jessica Gnad, Great Plains Regeneration
  • Alyssa Harding, Sustainable Brands
  • Alyssa Hartman, Artisan Grain Collaborative
  • Aria McLauchlan & Harley Cross, Land Core
  • Krystal Oriadha, formerly of National Farm to School Network
  • Vanessa Garcia Polanco, National Young Farmers Coalition
  • Meredith Rose, Community Ag Alliance
  • Wanda Stewart, Common Vision
  • Shreyaa Venkat, NEST4US


Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag is a Breaking Ground Institute initiative. Breaking Ground Institute (BGI) is an education, event, and media company working to grow impactful niche market and business communities within agriculture and food by facilitating opportunities to learn and build stronger business relationships. In addition to Emerging Leaders, BGI is responsible for the Regenerative Food Systems Investment Forum.

For more information and to sign up to receive updates on the Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag initiative, visit www.EmergingLeadersFA.com.



Sarah Day Levesque, Director