Earthwise Organics

Tony's vision for the future is a thriving southeastern organic food system that incorporates a direct cultural and culinary link between the mainland and our Caribbean neighbors.  Inclusive in this is a farmer based  organic seed system that provides high quality regionally adapted seeds to our farmers and gardeners. 

He envisions a truly sustainable food system where the relationships with the Earth and each other are strong and the distances are short.

Read more about Earthwise Organic's projects highlighted below:

Let us know how Tony can help you with your local and organic food and farming projects.


Earthwise Organics, LLC is the business under which Tony Kleese manages projects that support the development of  an organic food system that celebrates the abundance and culture of the Southeastern U.S. and  the Caribbean.  That sounds so good you can almost taste it, but what does it really mean?

Organic, at least in a legal sense in the US, is defined by the US Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program as "a production system that is managed to respond to site specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity". From a marketing standpoint it is a green label that allows organic farmers and consumers to connect.

Defining a food system can be challenging as it covers a wide spectrum of inputs, activities, infrastructure and organizations.  During his years at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Tony worked with fellow board members and staff to define the various components of a food system:

  1. Land
  2. Water
  3. Inputs
  4. Farmers/labor
  5. Infrastructure
  6. Consumers
  7. Waste

Tony  has been actively involved in the development of local and organic food systems since 1989, as a farmer, educator, and activist.  Some highlights include:

  • Was a founding member of Eastern Carolina Organics, in 2004, Production  Coordinator from 2007 to 2009
  •  Managed organic vegetable and cut flower operations in the Piedmont and Mountains of North Carolina
  • Helped develop the USDA's National Organic Program as the Coordinator of the Organic Trade Association's Organic Certifier's Council
  • Was the first Coordinator of the Sustainable Farming Program at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro, NC
  • Served on its Board of Directors of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association for six years (three as Chair) and was the Executive Director from 2000 to 2007. He also helped develop and manage CFSA's organic certification program
  • Provided hundreds of workshops on organic farming and certification
  • Helped guide individuals, organizations, businesses and governments in developing strategic plans for local and organic food systems