Gerrit Loo Memorial Achievement Award
Beginning in 2001, the Gerrit Loo Memorial Achievement Award has been presented at ACORN’s annual conference to an outstanding organic advocate and/or farmer who has contributed to the organic community in Atlantic Canada. The award was established in memory of Gerrit Loo, an organic pioneer on PEI.
Joey Pittoello was the recipient of the Gerrit Loo Memorial Achievement Award at ACORN Conference 2023. The award was presented by ACORN Board member, Judy Loo, in memory of her late father.
Who inspires you with their passion and innovation for organics?
Nominations for 2024 will open fall of 2023.
Note, you must be an ACORN member in good standing to make a nomination; current ACORN Board members and past recipients are not eligible as nominees.
Past Recipients of the Gerrit Loo Memorial Achievement Award
2023: Joey Pittoello, NS
2018: Lester Craig, PE
2017: Alan Stewart, NS
2016: Claude Berthélémé, NB
2015: Reg Phelan, PE
2014: Herman Mentink, NS
2013: Tim & Kirsten Livingstone, NB
2012: Beth McMahon, NB
2011: Judy & Jon Lien, NL and Ralph Martin, NS
2010: Ted Wiggans, NB
2009: Danny Bruce, NS
2008: Karen Davidge, PE
2007: Raymond Loo, PE
2006: Neil Van Nostrand, NS
2005: Susan Tyler and Clark Phillips, NB
2004: Daphne Davey, PE
2003: Sian Newman Smith, NS
2002: David Cozac and Debbie Russell, NB
2001: Stu Fleischhaker, NB
Gerrit Loo (January 28, 1928 – January 19, 2001)
Gerrit was born on a farm in Waggingen, Netherlands. After surviving World War II he was drafted by the Dutch army and sent to Indonesia to fight in their war of independence. In 1951 he immigrated to Canada and settled in Prince Edward Island where he bought a farm. Together with his wife, Joyce, they raised seven children.
Gerrit had an abiding love of living things. He was especially interested in heirloom varieties of vegetables and farm animals. Although he had no formal training in plant genetics, he understood the principles of plant breeding and collected his own seed, always carefully selecting for superior characteristics.
In the 1970’s he and his twin brother, Evert, began to experiment with potato breeding and became interested in breeding for disease resistance. Eventually they developed the cultivar, Island Sunshine, and after a long process of field trials it was registered in 1995. This was a very proud moment for him. Island Sunshine has several characteristics that make it a good organic cultivar.
Like many farmers, Gerrit also worked off the farm at various times during his life. Experience with the production of frozen foods led him to be hired by Seaspray Farms Organic Cooperative in the early 1990’s to assist in the development of a line of frozen vegetables. He believed in the principles that Seaspray represented and eventually sought organic certification for his farm in the mid-1990’s.
Gerrit and Evert continued the plant breeding program until both became ill. Evert passed away in April 1999. Gerrit passed away in January 2001.