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The Minnesota Farmers Who Helped Shape Organic Agriculture

Jim Riddle and Joyce Ford, founders of the International Organic Inspectors Association and long-time organic inspectors and teachers, live out their values at Blue Fruit Farm.

Jim Riddle and Joyce Ford, the managing owners of Blue Fruit Farm in southeastern Minnesota, have lived and worked on the same property for nearly four decades. And yet, that seems hardly enough time to contain all the couple has achieved—and their modest home, which only recently went on-grid, seems too unassuming to serve as a launch pad for the instrumental roles the two played in helping to define organic standards, policy, education, and practice around the world today.

The couple’s reach spans from launching a thriving organic farmers’ market to teaching organic certification and training certifiers in a dozen countries including Japan, Russia, Jamaica, and Iran. In recognition of their varied and impressive work, they earned the 2019 Farmers of the Year award from Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).

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