IRVINE, CALIF. (September 21, 2021) – Western Growers will honor agriculture advocate, educator, philanthropist and trailblazer Carol Chandler with the 2021 Award of Honor. The Award of Honor is Western Growers’ highest recognition of achievement and is given to individuals who have contributed extensively to the agricultural community.
Chandler is partner of Chandler Farms in Selma, Calif., a fourth-generation family farming operation that was founded by W.F. Chandler in 1880 and grows grapes, peaches, plums, nectarines and almonds. Besides serving on the board of Western Growers - including her current tenure as Treasurer - Chandler, alongside her husband, Bill, were named Agriculturists of the Year by the California State Fair Board of Directors in 2020.
“Underneath Carol’s warm and gracious demeanor lies a fierce and committed advocate for agriculture’s rightful place in our society,” said Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia. “There are few in our industry who have given so much time and energy in service to the greater good, and even fewer who have mustered the strength to stick with the fight even as others withdraw from disappointment. Advocacy is not for the faint of heart, which is one of many reasons Carol is so deserving of our highest honor.”
“I was overwhelmed to be chosen for the Award of Honor,” Chandler said. “It's meant so much to me to be on the Board of Western Growers through the years.”
Besides operating Chandler Farms with her husband and sons, John and Tom, Chandler was chair of the President's Water Task Force for California State University at Fresno; serves on the University of California President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources; and held positions with the University of California Board of Regents, the California State University Board of Trustees and the Fresno State Board of Governors. She is past state president of California Women for Agriculture, and she was named Woman of the Year by the California State Legislature twice, in 1992 and 2002. In 2004 the Fresno Chamber of Commerce named her Agriculturist of the Year.
“The Central Valley has much to be proud of and Carol Chandler is at the top of that list,” said President & CEO of Woolf Farming and Processing Stuart Woolf, who will be emceeing the Award of Honor presentation at the 2021 Annual Meeting. “She’s a wonderful person, leader and great friend to many. Carol’s sharp mind, strong core values and eternal optimism make her a perfect role model. I’m very proud to call her my friend.”
Chandler’s calling to give back to the agricultural community started early. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis and a master’s degree from California State University at Fresno, she taught in the San Joaquin Valley, including Fresno City College. Her philanthropic work includes belonging to the La Feliz Guild of Valley Children’s Hospital and receiving the Tapestry Award by Common Threads for outstanding achievements in agriculture.
Now, it is time to recognize Chandler’s dedication to improving the businesses and lives of those in the agricultural community. Chandler’s achievements and service will be recognized at the Award of Honor Dinner Gala at the Western Growers 2021 Annual Meeting at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego. The 2021 Annual Meeting will be held from Nov. 7 – 10, 2021; to register to attend or to take advantage of sponsorship opportunities, please go to the 2021 Annual Meeting website.
About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Western Growers' members and their workers provide over half the nation's fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including half of America's fresh organic produce. Connect and learn more about Western Growers on Twitter and Facebook.