Tony Kleese – Founder

Tony passed from this earthly plain on March 17th, 2018. We strive everyday to honor his legacy through The People’s Seed. You can share a memory of Tony here or read his obituary here.

Tony worked on developing local and organic food systems since 1989, primarily in the southeastern US and Caribbean. He was directly involved with developing the USDA’s National Organic Standards in the late 90s, was the first coordinator of the Sustainable Farming Program at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro, NC, served as Executive Director for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, and is a founding member of Eastern Carolina Organics. All of these roles focused on developing significant components of the local and organic food system, while building the knowledge and skill base needed to address one area that has remained in need of serious attention, regionally adapted organic seed. In 2010, Tony began an intensive focus on this area by joining the Board of Directors for the Organic Seed Alliance. He worked with the staff and Board to develop a 10-year strategic plan and increased the organizations activities in the southeastern US, including a project that focused on developing regionally adapted organic cucurbits. These experiences clarified the need for developing The People’s Seed.