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.

Andrew Rutherford

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.

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.

Scholarship Recipients

2020 Andrew Rutherford Scholarship Recipient

Claudia Arellano, Sonora, Mexico

I am a Bio Food Processes Engineer. Before I began this work, I knew very little about organic, but slowly I began to learn about it and it opened an impressive and fascinating world. I understand that organic is not the same as artisanal like many have thought or believe - the organic world goes beyond the artisan. A little while ago, I knew only the essential and necessary ideas about organic, but never the less I took a course and it changed my expectations totally. I understood that even more, there is a great world of organic production out there and that we should all know about.

I would like to join a certifier body or agency as an auditor, where I can continue to develop my understanding and continue my trainings and broadening my knowledge of the food industry. The next trainings that I will take will help me to increase my knowledge and will be able to apply in my future employment, like being able to better analyze and perform an audit, which is one of my goals to fulfill.I worked directly with certifying organizations for 7 years approximately, in these years I was in charge of giving trainings about certification to the staff in production and in the field, including doing mass balance exercises, audit trails for our product. For 2 years I worked di-rectly with CCOF, where I was in charge of filling out applications and answering corrective actions, and keep-ing informed about whatever was happening that would do whatever was necessary involving with our organic product.

2021 Organic Community Initiative Scholarship Recipient

Laura Gutiérrez, Jalisco, Mexico

I graduated in July of 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree as an Agricultural Scientist from the University of Guadalajara, in Jalisco, Mexico.

I developed great interest in nature and everything related to it since my childhood, even though I grew up in a city and not in the country. The last semester of my university career I left the city to do an internship with an agricultural company. This allowed me to be a part of real agriculture in which the main objective was to have high productivity, which is understandable, but not when done with unsustain-able practices. As I became interested in what seems to me like a good alternative (organic agricultural practices), I began to investigate other types of management.

Some of those come from my country and many others from other countries, which led me to think about the importance of technology and knowledge exchange in these times of globalization.

All this led me to set some objectives to develop myself as a professional. First objective is resource preserva-tion, always keeping respect for ecosystems in mind, starting with an education oriented towards sustainable management practices, and in this way be a part of conscientious and rational decision-making by farmers. Second, but not less important, is to form a community of people interested in the preservation of resources (farmers) and healthcare with pesticide and GMO-free food (consumers).

Luckily, interest in healthy food consumption is growing over time. With this premise and good management, including each entity’s diversification of exportation products, less intermediaries, and no concentration of exports to a single destination, we can make the organic market a more attractive alternative for producers.

Scholarship Deadlines

The Deadline for returning Scholarship applications is October 1.

Scholarship recipients are notified by December 15.

Download and save .pdf application forms prior to filling out for either scholarship program from the links below.
If you open the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader (the free version, download at, you should be able to fill it out, save it and email back to us. There is a list of features in a menu on the right side of the screen - the writing pen in purple is the one you want. It will allow you to fill out the form and even add a 'digital signature'.

Para el español, chasque aqui.

Completed applications and queries can be emailed to: