SUNRIVER, OR — An Oregon teenager won the inaugural Maddie Kruse Youth Award, longtime staffers were honored upon retirement, a new executive director was named and new officers were elected as the Home Baking Association celebrated its 100th anniversary at its annual meeting Oct. 22-24 in Sunriver, Ore.  

Violet Gowdy, a 15-year-old sophomore from West Linn, Ore., was the winner of the 2023 HBA Bake to Give Maddie Kruse Youth Award for her “Baking for my Community” project that included a series of baking classes for children with disabilities. Ms. Gowdy received $1,000 and a trip to the annual HBA meeting in Sunriver to receive the award in person with her parents.

The HBA, ADM Milling Co. and the Kruse Family Foundation partnered to establish the new youth award to bring attention to young bakers who actively make a difference in their communities. Top entries receive $100 from Lesaffre Yeast to support their community baking projects. The award was established in memory of Madeline (Maddie) Kruse, daughter of Tedd and Dawn Kruse, whose life was cut short by a drunk driver on May 31, 2015, at the age of 16. In addition to involvement in numerous high school activities, “One of Maddie’s greatest joys was baking and especially baking recipes that have been handed down for generations,” according to the HBA website. Dawn Kruse presented the award to Ms. Gowdy. Mr. Kruse is president of ADM Milling Co. The competition is open to youth in grades 7 to 12, with the entry deadline for next year’s award March 31, 2024.

Amy Harkey, a high school family and consumer sciences educator in Purdy, Mo., received the 2023 HBA Educator Award with her “Let’s Sell Some Cupcakes” project that incorporated the basics of baking cakes, cupcakes and frosting with marketing and business plans to market and sell the products made by the student bakery entrepreneurship team. She received $1,000 and a trip to the HBA annual meeting to receive her award.

Robert Harper, Hopkinsville Milling, Hopkinsville, Ky., was elected president of the HBA, succeeding Eric Wall of Grain Craft, who retired in June 2023.

Sharon Davis, HBA program director, and Charlene Patton, HBA executive director, both were honored at the HBA president’s dinner on Oct. 24. Ms. Davis started with the HBA in 1995 and has written or co-edited most of the organization’s printed and online teaching materials.

“More than 60 years of baking and more to come,” Ms. Davis said. “I can only say I’m a very blessed professional to teach and promote what I love, from my farm roots to ovens at home, in schools, libraries, camps, TV studios, radio stations, botanical gardens, and hotels, we have baked on.”

Ms. Patton joined the HBA in 1997, and as executive director has had the responsibility for its finances, implementing programs and handling logistics for all HBA meetings.

“The opportunity to combine my love for baking and sharing its many benefits with others across the country has truly been a joy,” Ms. Patton said. “I am thankful to have been a part of this tremendous organization and wish success for the next 100 years.”

Mr. Harper added, “Please join me in thanking Sharon and Charlene for their years of dedication to the vision of the Home Baking Association: Growing the practice of Home Baking.”

Earlier during the conference, Chris Kirby was named as the new executive director of the HBA. She will be based in Oklahoma City, Okla.

In addition to presentations by Ms. Gowdy and Ms. Harkey, other presentations at the meeting included: “In the Mix with Home Bakers: From Insights to Actions,” by Kevin Kurtz, chief executive officer and co-founder, Taste Buds Entertainment (Bigger Bolder Baking); “Consumer Insight – Baking TikTok: The Trend of Learning through Shortform Content,” Kristen Hoffman (Baker Bettie), owner and head chef instructor at Bettie’s Chicago; and “Baking Ingredients Market Review and Outlook,” Ron Sterk, senior editor, markets, Sosland Publishing Co. Partner reports were delivered by Karin Athanas, executive director, American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences; Sandy Spavone, executive director, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Inc.; and Tim O’Connor, president, Wheat Foods Council.

The HBA began in 1923 as members of the Soft Wheat Millers Association that produced self-rising flour sought to make advancements in the industry, including addressing rising public concern about chemical additives used in flour, as well as promoting home baking. The group became the Self-Rising Flour Institute 10 years later, and was incorporated as the Self-Rising Flour Institute, Inc. in 1951, before merging with the self-rising corn meal group in 1959 to become the Self-Rising Flour and Cornmeal Program, Inc. The group focused on stemming a significant nationwide decline in home baking that began in the 1960s as more women entered the workforce and as family meal preparation and eating patterns changed, in part due to the rise in microwave ovens and fast-food restaurants. Among other shifts in location, funding and sponsorship, the HBA became the last non-profit, generic communications program promoting baking at home in the 1980s.

“As (the) Home Baking Association celebrates 100 years in 2023, the organization boasts 120,000 newsletter subscribers, near weekly blog posts, a robust catalog of YouTube videos, instructional outreach through workshops and lectures, and important industry partnerships that contribute to an ever-expanding audience,” according to the organization’s website. The group’s focus audience includes educators, students and home bakers.

The HBA has 27 member organizations in addition to associate non-voting members and supporting associations.