First Annual Tony Kleese Award

TPS Board and NC State Researchers sampling blueberries

In honor of the our late founder, Tony Kleese, we have created the first annual “Tony Kleese Award.” This award will be in recognition of a plant breeder who’s career reflects Tony’s values for visionary work towards an organic, open, and just food system.

Award Criteria

Nominations will be accepted for plant breeders until October 18th. Anyone is allowed to nominate a plant breeder and self-nominations will be accepted. The award recipient will be selected by the Executive Director and Board of The People’s Seed and will be based upon the following criteria.


  1. The plant breeder’s career clearly demonstrates a commitment to the unique needs of small/mid-sized farmers as well as home growers.
  2. The plant breeder’s projects focus on developing varieties for organic production systems in the Southeastern United States.
  3. The plant breeder’s projects are dedicated to maintaining fair and open access to plant genetic resources for future generations.

Please fill out this form to nominate a plant breeder or to nominate yourself.

Award Details

A one time award of $2,000 to be dispensed to an individual breeder or organization to be used at their discretion

  1. Recognition by The People’s Seed at their annual fall fundraising dinner
  2. Award winner will commit to an interview within one calendar year after award and be suggested to participate in future events highlighting similar plant breeding work

We look forward to your nominations and feel free to distribute widely!

Nominate a Plant Breeder