Meet Abigail DeVries: A CCOF Foundation Future Organic Farmer

The Future Organic Farmer Grant winners were judged to have the strongest combination of commitment to leading a lifelong career in organic agriculture, investment and participation in the organic community, and dedication to growing the organic movement. Each grant recipient will receive $2,500 to apply toward their studies in organic agriculture. 

Find out how to apply for your own Future Organic Farmer Grant.

Learn more about supporting the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund through a donation.

Abigail DeVries is a highly passionate and motivated earth steward and change agent seeking opportunities to reconnect people with their community, land, food, and themselves.

Her journey to discovering and falling in love with diversified organic farming has been long and not so straightforward. She came to it first with a love of a very specific piece of land that her grandparents owned in Northwestern Illinois. The daughter of a missionary pastor, DeVries spent a rather unorthodox childhood hopping around the globe from calling to calling—mostly in Southeast Asia and Africa—returning every few years to that lovely little farm in Illinois that never seemed to change all that much. Children tend to remember and cherish the places, the smells, the fireflies that wait for them to get back from their adventures.

Flash forward a few years, and DeVries found herself at St. John’s College studying the classics, trying to puzzle out the meaning of things and her place in the world. As much as she loved being surrounded by big old books and grand thoughts, DeVries found that she missed being sweaty, tired, and hungry after a long day of hard work. She missed having dirt under her fingernails and calluses on her hands. She craved work that felt real and meaningful—work that made her feel connected to the natural environment and the people around her.

After many years of trying to fill in the gaps in her own connection to the natural world, DeVries found her passion for experiential education and helping foster meaningful relationships with the land through tilling the earth and facilitating life in organic farming. She hopes to one day establish an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable farm in the Midwest that integrates agroforestry and organic practices to grow healthful food for the community, to be a model of integrated land stewardship in the heartland of conventional agriculture, and to be a space for educating and empowering children to interact with the natural world in a connecting and meaningful way. Ecologically and socially minded agriculture has the power to transform lives and communities in this disjointed and fractured time in our nation’s culture.

Congratulations Abigail!

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grants.

The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund 2017 grants were made possible by the generous support of CCOF, the UNFI Foundation, the CCOF Processor/Handler Chapter, the Clif Bar Family Foundation, Dr. Bronner’s, Driscoll’s, Duncan Family Farms, Frey Vineyards, Frontier Co-op, Heath & Lejeune, Gary and Meg Hirshberg, Lost Republic Distilling Co., Organic Valley, SunRidge Farms, and True Organic Products, Inc. Thank you to these organizations for helping us inspire the next generation of organic farmers!


Today, less than 1% of America’s farmland is organic, and farmers who want to transition their land face a long and costly process. Hear from CCOF's CEO Kelly Damewood about what we're doing to address this challenge:

One percent