Daron Joffe, ‘Farmer D,’ wins IACP award for food writing

The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) announced its annual award winners last week, which included Encinitas-based author Daron “Farmer D” Joffe for his book, “Citizen Farmers: The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities, and Give Back to the Earth,” written with Susan Puckett (Stewart, Tabori & Chang).

The IACP Awards is one of two major food-writing awards, the other being the James Beard award.

“I am honored and humbled by the IACP award,” said Daron Joffe. “Everyone can be a farmer and make a contribution to a better and more sustainable world. This book was written to empower people to find the soul in their food and share it with their community.”

Joffe moved to Encinitas in 2014 to serve as director of agricultural innovation and development of the Leichtag Foundation, based there. The Leichtag Foundation is developing the former Ecke Ranch between Quail Gardens Drive and Saxony Road into an educational community farm inspired by Jewish agricultural traditions.

“Daron has demonstrated how farms can be incredible tools to bring communities together, to teach our children, and to improve access to fresh food for everyone,” said Jim Farley, CEO of the foundation. “The farm at the Leichtag Foundation property is for everyone to enjoy.”

In the book, Joffe writes that the “citizen farmer” movement is about “taking actions that foster a healthier, more sustainable food system and passing these values to the next generation.”

One goal of the farm is to improve the local food system. During March 2015, 1,000 heads of lettuce were donated to the Community Resource Center in Encinitas.

“The produce is so fresh, it is picked and distributed on the same day,” said Angel Flores, food programs coordinator for the center. “We don’t need to spend time sorting it. We normally have to throw out or compost a percentage of the donations that we receive from the supermarkets because it is too close to expiring or it is too damaged to distribute. Our clients can see the difference and are excited to get such fresh and beautiful produce to bring home to their families.”

Joffe will continue to educate and share his knowledge at upcoming Leichtag Foundation events. He will be speaking and signing books at Eco-Fest (eeday.org) on May 17. Learn about upcoming farm events at leichtag.org/events.

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