IOIA accepts applications for the annual Andrew Rutherford Scholarship Award, which provides full tuition for an IOIA-sponsored organic inspector training course during the following year. Both prospective and experienced inspectors are eligible to apply for the Rutherford Scholarship. It is awarded to an individual on the basis of need and potential as judged by the IOIA Scholarship Committee. Applicants can choose to attend any IOIA-sponsored training. The Scholarship pays for tuition, room and board but does not cover transportation or other expenses.
The late Andrew Rutherford was a farmer, organic inspector, and organic agriculture researcher from southern Saskatchewan. He served on IOIA's initial steering committee and then several years as a Founding Board Member.
Organic Community Initiative Scholarship
IOIA also offers an annual Organic Community Initiative Scholarship (OCIS), which provides full tuition for an IOIA-sponsored basic organic inspector training during the following year. It is awarded to an individual on the basis of need and their potential to have a positive impact on their regional organic community. The Organic Community Initiative Scholarship is only open to applicants from outside of the US or Canada. Applicants can choose to attend any basic IOIA-sponsored training. The Scholarship pays for tuition, room and board but does not cover transportation or other expenses.
OCIS Travel Fund
The OCIS Travel Fund is supported entirely by donations and has helped scholarship recipients from South Korea, India, Mexico, and other countries travel to training.
IOIA is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit educational association, your donations are tax-deductible in the US to the full extent allowed.
2023 Andrew Rutherford Scholarship Recipient
Rachel Chapman, British Columbia, Canada
Rachel Chapman is a young, motivated organic farmer residing in the organic capital of Canada, Cawston BC. She has seven years of organic farming experience, including volunteer efforts in sustainable projects in Canada, California and Mexico, and speaks English, French and Spanish. Rachel is part of Mariposa Organic Farm since 2019. She also helped start an organic CSA veggie box program at an established farm on Salt Spring Island. With some conventional ag experience, she understands the differences, pros and cons of organic and conventional farming, and being able to distinguish one from another.
At the CSA program, she was also blessed with the opportunity to work alongside an organic VO. She was able to learn about the job, which sparked her interest in pursuing this career. Seeing how she was able to take on her inspection contracts while at the same time producing clean, quality food for her family and community was highly inspiring.
Rachel recently learned that organic inspection applications are at an all time high, while actively working organic inspectors are at an all time low in her region of BC. This serves as just another great motivator to pursue her goal to become an organic inspector in British Columbia Canada, and possibly abroad.
Future goals include expanding/ honing her farm and farming methods so she can provide for her family and local community.
2023 Organic Community Initiative Scholarship Recipient
Balkrishna Dahal, Nepal
As my family belongs to a farming background, I grew up working in the field with my parents. The melodious songs sung while cultivating paddy, the delicious local dish prepared by my mother after a long day’s work, and many other instances are engraved in my memory as joyful moments. I remember how my grandfather carried a drum on his back and rotated the handle to release a water-like substance, which I later understood was a chemical pesticide. And I cannot forget the fact that we lost our grandmother to cancer.
Organic Farming is close to my heart. At our Karuna Organic Family Farm in Nanglebhare, Nepal, we completely follow integrated farming, free of chemicals, and pesticides, and free of external inputs, recycling all wastes inside the farm, and the change we’ve seen in the form of darker soil, robust plants, and growth in the number of earthworms and natural enemies is satisfying.
Through the OCIS training, I hope to bolster my knowledge and put it into practice on my farm, leaving no stone unturned to mold my knowledge and understandings in this field.
The Deadline for returning Scholarship applications is October 1.
Scholarship recipients are notified by December 15.