"No words" was my first response to the news posted on Facebook last night that long time organic movement leader Amigo Bob had died after a four plus year long fight with cancer. Then I cried.
He also helped me learn about organic viticulture over the last decade, starting with having coffee with me in 2010 in St. Helena and explaining the basics to me, as well as decrying "the pesticide pushers." (I had not known the farm supply store that sold toxic chemicals to Napa growers was just a half a mile away hidden from public view on the opposite side of Highway 29).
He could assess the health of a vineyard not just by sticking a shovel in the ground but by watching the insects and life in the vineyard. Birds and spiders were a great metric in his book.
His vineyard clients include everyone from your basic Mendo grower (selling to Bonterra) to the high falutin' Napa crowd (Long Meadow Ranch, Tres Sabores, and many more). He preached companion planting (pomegranates and olive trees). But more than an agriculturalist, he was an organizer and an activist.
He never intended to get involved in ag; at first he was involved in trucking organic produce, but then a movement started and he was at the very core of it.
Read of his many accomplishments and fervent missives here in these past posts and look for more to come online this week, as his passing is mourned far and wide.
I also have many unpublished interviews with Amigo and will share some excerpts from these later this week when I have more time to write.
FOR FURTHER READING
Sierra Foothills Report: Amigo Bob Cantisano, Rest In Peace
National Geographic: The Future of Food
Bioneers: Remembering Amigo Bob