News Blog

Loss of a Key Sustainable Ag Leader

Cynthia Hayes Photo courtesy of Southern Foodways Alliance.

Cynthia Hayes
Photo courtesy of Southern Foodways Alliance.

Southern SAWG joins the Southeastern African American Farmer’s Organic Network (SAAFON) in mourning the sudden death of their co-founder and Executive Director, Cynthia Hayes. Cynthia was a good friend of Southern SAWG and we will miss her keen wisdom, great spirit and wonderful charm. Cynthia was a tireless supporter of sustainable agriculture who planted the seed for SAAFON in 2006. Because she believed “farmers could best articulate and meet their own needs” she worked to empower farmers, not just tell them what they needed to do. Cynthia won many awards for her pioneering work, including the 2013 James Beard Leadership Award for her exemplary service to the sustainable agriculture and African American Community.    

In a recently released statement SAAFON stated the following:  “The Hayes and SAAFON families are heart-broken but are more committed than ever to continuing the organization’s vital work.  We value and appreciate your continued support at this time.”

Southern SAWG encourages the whole southern sustainable agriculture community to rally around this important organization during this time of loss.