What’s been going on!
Another sad passing and tick of the clock. Sunday there was a huge gathering of the friends and community of Tony Kleese to celebrate his life and accomplishments. Tony died way too young after a short battle with cancer but also after a life full of commitment to building a better agricultural system which you can read about here.
Tony was not quite as old as many of us old rats in the sustainable ag barn but quickly jumped in and became involved in so many areas. We first met around 1989 when he was starting a farm east of Raleigh and we went to see it on a farm tour. That farm did not succeed and he also farmed in the mountains for a while but he quickly learned that the best use of his energies was to organize and teach farmers.
We worked together on many projects over the years including the Board of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Assoc., teaching classes at and helping to form the Central Carolina Community College Sustainable Ag program, teaching workshops around the southeast together and he was the one who coaxed me into going to Jamaica to work with his Jamaica Sustainable Farm Enterprise project. He even worked for us here on the farm for a short while in the early 90’s.
As many of us who, mostly inadvertently, helped lead the way to a more local and sustainable food system begin to age out or pass on it becomes ever more apparent just how fortunate we are in the southeast and particularly in North Carolina to have such a foundation of farmers, non-profits, researchers, organizers, markets and eaters who began to come together in the 80’s and work towards change. Tony was certainly in that vanguard and will be sorely missed but his energy and spirt will live on.
Picture of the Week
Classic Tony (in the middle) working with Jamaican farmers
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