Omega Press Release

October 10, 2017

Soul Fire Farm Institute Receives Omega’s 5th Annual $10,000 Leadership Award in Sustainability Education

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Award Ceremony Set to Take Place During Omega’s Being Fearless Conference:  Watch Via Live Stream Saturday, October 14th at 7:30p.m.

RHINEBECK, NY – Omega Institute, home of the award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), today announced the fifth recipient of their Annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award. The award recognizes nonprofit peers who exemplify leadership in sustainability education and who share Omega’s commitment to building a more just and sustainable world. This year, Omega recognizes Soul Fire Farm Institute (SFFI), an organization working to end racism and injustice in our food system.

SFFI joins a cohort of past award recipients who are leading the way in sustainability education,  including, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater (2012), Scenic Hudson (2013), Groundwork Hudson Valley (2014), and Poughkeepsie Farm Project (2015).

“We are honored to recognize Soul Fire Farm Institute as a nonprofit that is making a significant impact in the Hudson Valley region. Their work to further equity in the food system is groundbreaking and pivotal,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega and visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living. “Soul Fire Farm Institute’s innovative work combines sustainable farming, public education, and strategic development support for grassroots activists.”

In addition to the $10,000 award, SFFI will also receive a strategic planning retreat at Omega, to help strengthen organizational development and further its mission.

“Food and land have long been used as tools to oppress people of color and the Earth, and are currently being transformed into our platform for liberation. We are thrilled to accept this recognition from Omega and pledge to continue the work to uproot racism, injustice, and exploitation in the food system,” said Leah Penniman, codirector of Soul Fire Farm Institute. 

SSFI will receive the award on Saturday, October 14th, at 7:30 p.m., during Omega’s conference, titled Being Fearless: Action in a Time of Disruption. The evening will include a special panel presentation, titled The Changing Role & Responsibilities of Media, featuring Amy Goodman, Van Jones, Jon Meacham, and moderated by Sarah van Gelder. Omega is live streaming the entire 3-day conference including Saturday night’s award ceremony and panel discussion. The live stream can be accessed with a donation of $5 or more. Other presenters featured over the weekend include Cornel West, Paul Hawken, Opal Tometi, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sister Joan Chittister, and more.

To learn more, or register for the online conference taking place Friday October 13-15th, visit or call 800.944.1001.

A limited number of press passes are available, please email to inquire.

Join the conversation on and on Twitter @omega_institute #OCSL, #BeingFearless.

About Soul Fire Farm Institute 

Founded in 2011, Soul Fire Farm Institute (SFFI) is committed to ending disparity, injustice, and racism in the food system. We are a survival and thrival training ground for people of color working to reclaim our ancestral right to belong to land and to have agency in the food system. We are a multiracial, people-of-color-led team of activist-farmers drawing upon the wisdom of our ancestors to uproot oppression. Our programs include sustainable farming and leadership training for people of color, strategic development support for grassroots activists of all backgrounds, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, food justice training for youth, and public education and organizing on equity in the food system.

About the Omega Center for Sustainable Living

Founded in 2009, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) originated as the first green building in America to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge certification—the highest standards currently available in sustainable architecture. The OCSL has since evolved into an environmental leader, offering programs that teach the regenerative thinking and environmental practices modeled by the building.

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About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 250 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and online at