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.
2021 Andrew Rutherford Scholarship Recipient
Victoria Plasse, Idaho US
I am a long-time Teton Valley, Idaho resident. I have a 360-degree perspective on the food industry--from dairy farmer on a raw biodynamic grade A dairy to marketing director for a grocery store to certification manager for a nationally distributed granola bar to freelance writing and legal research. I hold a MFA International from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a BA in English and Political Science from Bucknell University, graduating from both institutions with honors. I regularly contribute to Big Sky Journal, Western Home Journal, Sun Valley Property News, Teton Family Magazine, Jackson Hole News & Guide as well as other regional publications.
I completed my level 100 IOIA training for Processing and Crops this summer and would like to complete the third scope of Livestock this year as well. I have been lucky enough to begin shadowing with the Montana Department of Agriculture Organic Program and I am optimistic that by next year, I will be ready for contract work and can begin my course as a full-time inspector. While on my shadow inspections this summer, I quickly realized that yes, I have a solid foundation of real-life experience and I know my way around a farm but that also being an inspector is a complex role. Inspectors need to not only be effective and well educated but diplomatic in their course of action.
The Deadline for returning Scholarship applications is October 1.
Scholarship recipients are notified by December 15.