Bill Duesing Award
Bill Duesing founded CT NOFA, The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, in 1982, and when he announced that he was facing the final chapter of his life, he said, “I trust my colleagues in this mission will continue their efforts to realize a sustainable and joyful future for all.” Bill passed on July 12, 2018.
In his honor, Bill’s many friends have joined with CT NOFA to carry on his legacy through the creation of “The Bill Duesing Organic Living on the Earth Award.”
Bill’s passion for conservation, organic farming and land care, activism and advocacy, and education can be seen throughout Connecticut in his life’s work. From the expansion of organic farming and landscaping, to the founding of CT NOFA and Common Ground High School, to the legislative efforts that led to tangible impacts on the environment (such as the statewide ban of synthetic pesticides on school grounds), we honor Bill by continuing his unfinished work through education and advocacy.
This award is given to an individual or organization who has worked to advance organic living on our earth and supports the continuation of the life work of Bill Duesing. We continue to cherish the legacy of our founder through this annual celebration of his many contribution.
2023 AWARDEE: MICHAEL NADEAU
The 8th recipient of the Bill Duesing Organic Living on the Earth Award: Michael Nadeau
Michael Nadeau is one of the leading authorities in the field of sustainable organic and ethical land care strategies in the United States. He is sought after for creating attractive sustainable and restorative environments using organic practices that respect the ecology of the property and reflect the philosophy of the client. Michael’s organic and sustainable holistic land care approach carefully maximizes wildlife habitat with specific plantings and techniques, improving the overall health of land, water, and wildlife.
He is a co-founder of CT NOFA’s Organic Land Care program, which has educated and accredited nearly 4,000 land care professionals since its inception in 2001. In 1999, Michael helped write the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care to address a national problem: while the term “organic” is clearly defined in terms of food and agriculture, land care and landscaping — an industry with wide-reaching impact on the health of our environment — had no such national definition for the term. The goal was to define what “organic” would mean in the context of professional land care, and to formalize the practice of organic land care so that the public could reliably choose practitioners who meet organic standards. Ultimately, these standards were the basis upon which the coursework for the CT NOFA Organic Land Care Program was developed. He also co-authored the NOFA Organic Lawn and Turf Course Manual, the only 100% organic handbook for the care of athletic fields and home lawns.
To this day, Michael continues to teach courses within the program, lecture throughout the northeast region about organic land care and restorative practices, and offer a variety of organic land care and environmental restoration consulting services.
Michael Nadeau has previously been the recipient of the 2009 CT Award for Conservation Excellence, the 2009 Environmental Service Award, the 2010 Hummingbird Environmental Stewardship Award, and the 2018 NOFA Person of the Year Award. Involved in the landscape and tree business since 1968, Michael has continued to remain a pupil of Nature and is a published writer on subjects including ecological, sustainable, and organic land-care topics.
2022 AWARDEE: JOHN PITTARI JR.
The 7th recipient of the Bill Duesing Organic Living on the Earth Award: John Pittari Jr.
Selecting John Pittari as the recipient of the Bill Duesing Living on the Earth Award exemplifies the spirit and substance of the award itself. Before he died four years ago, Bill expressed his fervent wish that the movement to which he dedicated his adult life be carried on by his colleagues. John fulfills that mandate every day!
John and Bill go way back to the origins of the organic movement locally, statewide, and even nationally! He and Bill were truly pioneers in promoting healthier living through sustainably grown foods. John worked at New Morning in Hotchkiss Ville for several years, and in 1981 he bought it, lock stock and bulk barrels and have owned it ever since. It was a wonderful place to shop. He was always present in the store to answer his patrons’ questions and promote local, organic agriculture. John and his family have advanced the economic, social, and ecological durability of organic farms in Connecticut by providing a friendly, humane, respectful, and mutually beneficial working partnership between farmers and their markets. New Morning Market provides the public with organic food and other products from organic farms, many of them local, and has done so for more than half a century! This fulfills one of Bill’s major goals for the movement.
John has deservedly received many awards over the years for his contributions to the growth of an organic lifestyle. He has been a generous contributor to CT NOFA and currently serves as the Board’s Co-Vice President. New Morning Market’s mission statement clearly describes John’s commitment to the continuation of Bill’s life work. He is the perfect recipient for this award!
2021 AWARDEE: DR. KIM STONER
The 6th recipient of the Bill Duesing Organic Living on the Earth Award: Dr. Kimberly Stoner
Kim is one of the early board members of CT-NOFA and was Chairperson and Board President (years unknown). Kim single-handedly founded the Organic Land Care Program – an arm of CT-NOFA that deals with the well-being of our landscapes and its inhabitants. She was the first Chairperson of the Committee. It was her vision that shaped the direction and depth of the program, which has helped to educate and empower thousands of persons in the land care profession. She worked closely with Bill to advocate for an Organic Connecticut and beyond.
Her work as an organic vegetable entomologist continues to inform organic farmers and gardeners. Her work with bees and pollinators: to understand their challenges and inform farmers and land care persons how to nurture these essential allies, is a keystone of her life’s work.
She is first a scientist, but with the uncanny ability to recognize and embrace the metaphysical aspects of science. Kim is a devout Quaker, tirelessly advocating for peace in the world, between people and all the living organisms on the planet.
Dr. Stoner’s Research:
Dr. Stoner has expertise in developing alternatives to insecticides for managing vegetable insects, working with organic farmers and land care professionals on pest management, and studying the exposure of pollinators to pesticides in pollen and nectar.
- B.S. in Zoology, Duke University 1979
- Ph.D. in Entomology, Cornell University 1987
- Assistant Scientist 1987-2001
- Associate Agricultural Scientist 2001-2019
- Agricultural Scientist 2019-Current
Dr. Stoner’s research has identified a variety of possible alternatives to insecticides for managing insects in several different vegetable crops. One alternative is to grow varieties with resistance to insects, such as brassicas (cabbage, broccoli and related crops) that resist caterpillars due to differences in the waxes on their leaves. Another is the use of cultural methods, such as use of straw mulch on potatoes and eggplants, which increases the effectiveness of predators against the Colorado potato beetle. Another method she has studied is biological control of the Mexican bean beetle, using the parasitoid wasp Pediobius foreolatus. She has also participated as a member of the Northeast Organic Network in an intensive case study of organic vegetable and cash grain farms in the Northeast.
Dr. Stoner’s research focuses on several aspects of bees and pollination:
- Exposure of bees to pesticides in pollen and nectar, in collaboration with Dr. Brian Eitzer of the Analytical Chemistry Department
- Attractiveness of ornamental plants to honey bees and native bees
- Pollinator habitat on Connecticut farms and practices to create or improve habitat
- Pollination of pumpkins and winter squash