Missoula, Montana | November 2010
The Organic Trade Association awarded Bob Quinn, Ph.D., organic farmer and founder of Kamut International, the Organic Leadership Award for his contributions in the “Growing Organic Agriculture” category. Quinn was honored at the OTA’s Annual Dinner and Dance, part of Natural Products Expo East held Friday evening, Oct. 15, in Boston. The award is the OTA’s highest honor given annually to individuals who exemplify innovation and vision in the organic movement.
An organic farmer for over 40 years and an OTA member since 1998, Quinn has been, as Montana Senator Jon Tester put it in his congratulatory video, “a leader in organics in the state of Montana and across the country for a long, long time.”
At the beginning, when organic farming was just an idea, he had many more questions than answers. “How do you control weeds without pesticides?” Quinn recalled asking the wheat scientist at Montana State University. The man slumped in his chair, “No one has ever asked me that question before.” From that moment on, Quinn’s eagerness and persistence to develop organic, sustainable farming methods have remained unchanged.
“As long as we keep pushing back the frontier of knowledge and asking the questions that have never been asked before,” Quinn said in his acceptance speech, “we can continue to be the leaders that we are for safe and organic food in America.”
Quinn highlighted the importance of organic foods as a means to combat growing medical bills and declining health. To fight the cheap foods that plague society, Quinn stressed the ideal “you can pay a little more at the register and save a lot more at the doctor’s office.”
Kamut International has grown into a worldwide commodity. KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat now grows on 40,000 acres in North America, works with over 120 organic farmers and sells in excess of 2,000 different KAMUT® brand products.
“It doesn’t matter how much we change the world, how big or small,” Quinn said in closing, “it only matters if we change it for good or not. And I believe that the organic movement really has been changing it for good.”
In 1986, Bob Quinn introduced the natural food industry to an ancient khorasan wheat under the brand name, KAMUT®. A relative of durum wheat, it had come to Montana from Egypt. (Kamut is the the ancient Egyptian word for wheat.) Through the trademark KAMUT®, the company is able to preserve an ancient grain. Ensuring strict production guidelines, that it is exclusively produced organically, they are able to guarantee it has not been genetically modified or altered.