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NASFT Announces Winners Of Inaugural Leadership Awards

The judges included Haven Bourque, founder of HavenBMedia, Oakland, Calif.; Christine Bushway, Executive Director and CEO, Organic Trade Association, Washington, D.C.; Irene Hamburger, Vice President of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; John Raiche, Vice President of Marketing, UNFI, Providence, R.I.; Erin Roach, director of recruitment and marketing, Social Venture Network, San Francisco, and Errol Schweizer, Senior Global Grocery Coordinator, Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas.

Honorable mentions went to the leaders of three specialty food companies. They are:

About the winners:

Nasser Abufara – Citizenship

As founder and director of Canaan Fair Trade, Abufara has worked to empower small farmers in the Palestinian olive oil industry and create economic opportunities in his native West Bank since 2004. The organization now works with 1,700 farmers and is the largest exporter of certified Fair Trade and organic Palestinian olive oil to the U.S. and Europe, and continues to expand education and micro financing to further the industry.

Shawn Askinosie – Business Leadership

Askinosie, a former defense attorney, has created a chocolate business that reaches far beyond single-origin bars to empower cocoa farmers and employees. Askinosie Chocolate sources all beans directly from farmers in Ecuador, Honduras, the Philippines and Tanzania, and shares profits.  Locally, through Chocolate University, he engages young people to broaden their worldview and introduce them to entrepreneurship.

Karlene Hunter – Native American Natural Foods

A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Hunter has spent more than 25 years working on educational and economic development on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. She launched Native American Natural Foods with business partner Mark Tilsen in 2007 to produce Tanka Bars, a jerky with bison and cranberry that is made on the reservation providing economic opportunity to one of the most impoverished areas in the U.S. 

About the NASFTThe NASFT is celebrating its 60th anniversary. It is a not-for-profit trade association established in 1952 to foster commerce and interest in the specialty food industry. Today there are more than 3,075 members in the U.S. and abroad. The NASFT's website for consumers,, provides an insider's look at specialty foods and the companies, food entrepreneurs and artisans behind them. The NASFT's sofi™ Awards  honor the outstanding specialty foods of the year. For more information on the NASFT and its Fancy Food Shows, go to

Winter Fancy Food Show Press RegistrationThe Fancy Food Show is a trade-only event. The NASFT provides complimentary press badges to qualified media.  Learn more and register.


Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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