Turlock’s Christine Gemperle has been named the winner of the inaugural Allies for Agriculture award by United Phosphorus Ltd, a global company focusing on sustainable agriculture solutions.
Joe Vassios is the food value chain and minimal risk level lead at UPL and presented Gemperle with the honor. He spoke about the purpose of honoring farmers and agricultural leaders across the nation with the new award.
“The Allies for Agriculture program was made to honor those unsung heroes who really try to promote some new farming practices,” he said.
One of the new farming practices that Gemperle has promoted was the use of cover crops for soil and water. She originally started planting cover crops to serve as a habitat for pollinators, but she quickly noticed that the soil became richer and retained water better over time, which was essential in a region where drought has persisted.
“Christine and her family exemplify what it means to be an Ally for Agriculture by playing a critical role in the food chain while taking care of the natural resources of their farm,” said UPL North American Head Craig Brekkas. “From her daily activities as an almond grower to the pollinator program to implementing a whole-orchard recycling program, UPL is proud to honor Christine for her accomplishments.”
As part of the award, winners choose a non-profit for UPL to make a $1,000 donation to. Gemperle chose Turlock’s United Samaritans Foundation to receive the funds, an organization she holds close to her heart.
“I was sort of blown away like, how did they find me?” Gemperle joked. “I couldn’t have been happier to give this to United Samaritans. When they said I won this award and I had to give this to somebody, it was a no brainer.”
The Gemperle family has been involved with United Samaritans since they were first founded 28 years ago. Her uncle, Ernie, was one of the original founders while her cousin, Michael, currently serves on the Board of Directors.
“My parents and my family have been the people who have been deeply involved in it since the beginning,” Gemperle explained. “There are all sorts of ways that we can give in this community, whether it’s giving financially or giving our time.”
For 28 years, those working with the United Samaritans have volunteered countless hours of their time to make and deliver food and other basic needs to the most in-need communities of Turlock and the surrounding cities.
Linda Murphy-Julien is the executive director of United Samaritans and explained how the $1,000 UPL donation on behalf of Gemperle will help the organization.
“We’ve been hit hard with the prices of everything going up,” she said. “Food has doubled, my budget for fuel is up to $3,500 a month. I can get people to donate food, but it’s harder to donate for fuel or fixing a truck that went down. Getting the $1,000 which is unrestricted allows me the opportunity to see what we need. Right now, it’s going to food as our numbers increase.”
Vassios explained that the Allies for Agriculture honor will be awarded every other month moving forward and that anyone across the nation can be nominated at www.alliesforagriculture.com.