Our Mission: To address issues and concerns relevant to organic inspectors, to provide quality inspector training, and
to promote consistency and integrity in the organic certification process.

Andrew Rutherford Scholarships

IOIA accepts applications for the annual Andrew Rutherford Scholarship Award, which provides full tuition for an IOIA-sponsored organic inspector training course during the following year. Both prospective and experienced inspectors are eligible to apply for the Rutherford Scholarship. It is awarded to an individual on the basis of need and potential as judged by the IOIA Scholarship Committee. Applicants can choose to attend any IOIA-sponsored training. The Scholarship pays for tuition, room and board but does not cover transportation or other expenses.

The late Andrew Rutherford was a farmer, organic inspector, and organic agriculture researcher from southern Saskatchewan. He served on IOIA's initial steering committee and then several years as a Founding Board Member.

IOIA also offers an annual Organic Community Initiative Scholarship (OCIS), which provides full tuition for an IOIA-sponsored basic organic inspector training during the following year. It is awarded to an individual on the basis of need and their potential to have a positive impact on their regional organic community. The Organic Community Initiative Scholarship is only open to applicants from outside of the US or Canada. Applicants can choose to attend any basic IOIA-sponsored training. The Scholarship pays for tuition, room and board but does not cover transportation or other expenses.


2018 Andrew Rutherford Scholarship Recipient - Debra Kiliru, North Carolina USA

Debra Kiliru’s passion and respect for the land began as a child growing up in Kenya. Over the years, much of her personal and professional work has centered around environmental education, community wellness, social justice and access to nutritious, organic food. She is a cultural education facilitator and has provided numerous service-learning programs domestically as well as in Ghana & South Africa with an emphasis on agriculture. She is a permaculture designer, a founder of the an organic market and co-founder of Youth P.L.A.N.T, a 3-8 Grade garden-based leadership program. She is a member of the Ghana Ecological Organic Platform and a consultant to the Global Ecovillage Network Ghana. Her research is focused on underutilized edible and medicinal plants in Africa, and exploring ways to ensure land restoration, farmer rights and enterprise capacity. She hopes to inspire young people to get excited about growing food and caring for our planet. 

She currently works in the public schools in western North Carolina, learning with children outdoors and supporting teachers to connect their curriculum to the natural world. She plans on becoming a crop and processing inspector so she can go deeper in her work as a farmer and social entrepreneur, and work along side creative people committed to increasing organic regenerative practices along the supply chain, both in the US and internationally. 


2018 OCIS Recipient - Lucia Toledo, Cochabamba, Bolivia

My name is Lucia Toledo, I am from Cochabamba Bolivia. My country has a great land and climate diversity. Near the Andean mountains we grow potatoes and Andean grains like quinoa, we have tropical places with tasty coffee, native cocoa and exotic fruits and I have the blessing to live in the middle of this two. Cochabamba, my hometown is a valley and is known for its wonderful weather. We have hilly regions and a few hours from the city we are able to enter the rainforest.

My grandpa was a farmer and since I was a kid I had the opportunity to enjoy nature and to get inspired by his hard work.

I studied agriculture engineering and had a strong inclination to organic agriculture and agroforestry. Looking for new way to keep the forest healthy I participated of an environmental conservation-restoration international program in Seattle called Earthcorps. This experience gave me the basis to expand my view in many ways to see the importance of community, sense of belonging and to have new tools to approach forestry.

Back in Bolivia I start an small agroforestry project close to home, we planted native srcubs and trees along with fruit trees inbetween we planted corn and vegetables all organic this in less then a acre. In the tropical zone of Cochabamba and with the help of my family we planted our first half acre of cacao in an agroforestry system as well.

Currently I work at an organic certification agency called IMOcert Latin America as an office assistant and inspector. I had the opportunity to participate in inspections to certificate herbs, coffee, cocoa and quinoa.

I am very glad and thankful of the OCIS scholarship is giving me the opportunity to continue expanding my knowledge in organic agriculture. I look forward to the crops training this April.


The Deadline for returning Scholarship applications is October 1.

Scholarship recipients are notified by December 15.

Download .pdf applications for either scholarship program from the links below.

Para el español, chasque aqui.

Completed applications and queries can be emailed to: scholarship@ioia.net

How to fill out the scholarship application forms (Read this first!)
Rutherford Application
Rutherford Recommendation Form
OCIS Application
OCIS Recommendation Form