Monday, July 4, 2016

Amigo Bob, A Founding Father of the Organic Farming Movement in America, Needs Your Help

One of our great organic farmers who champions organic farming and advises dozens of farmers and wine grape growers about organic practices is fighting for his life and needs your help.

Amigo Bob Cantisano, who has (and still does, in many cases) consulted to numerous wineries in Napa and Sonoma (and elsewhere), is battling Stage IV HPV-related Neck Cancer - and he has few financial resources.

His current and past clients include Martorana, Preston and Slipstone wineries in Dry Creek (Sonoma County), Tres Sabores and Frog's Leap in Rutherford and Long Meadow Ranch (in Napa County) and many more. He is one of the founders of CCOF as well as the founder of EcoFarm, the annual organic farmers gathering.

As a recent email I received in mid-June states, "He has been fighting quietly for the past 2.5 years using integrative therapies, but recently his cancer has grown significantly and the alternative practices need to be supplemented with a more intensive regimen.

He will begin chemotherapy treatment at Stanford soon and is hoping to qualify for an innovative clinical trial of immunotherapy so as not to require more aggressive traditional therapies that can be so damaging and carry the possibilities of permanent side effects. In either case, there are no guarantees.

Amigo needs to completely focus his efforts on defeating this cancer. For that reason, he has discontinued traveling as an organic farm advisor. He doesn't have much money, as he has focused his life on building organic agriculture for the rest of us as an activist, teacher and leader. He has given so much to our community and to the Earth. It is ironic that Amigo has probably prevented thousands of cancer cases over the years through his work to eliminate pesticides, and now HE is the one getting cancer. Most details on the web site.

Amigo has devoted more than 45 years to growing the Organic Movement. We know him as a pioneer and a leader. He started one of the first organic farm supply companies, founded an organic food co-op, produced organic food and olive oil, founded the EcoFarm Conference, helped establish CCOF, and has advised organic farmers all over the world. More recently his passion for fruit trees led him to create the Felix Gillet Institute [which preserves heirloom varieties].

Amigo is a stalwart friend, a source of wise counsel, a loving father and grandfather, and so much more."

His friends have set up an account for Amigo where you can donate online, or, if you prefer, you can send a check to his bank.

To make an online, credit card donation, please visit:

Checks can be made out to the "Amigo Bob Fund" and sent to Amigo Bob Fund, c/o Exchange Bank, 2201 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, California, 95403.

Personally I would like to say Amigo Bob was one of the first organic vineyard experts I met, back in 2010, and he was very generous with his time in helping a then total newbie learn how organic vineyards are different from conventional vineyards.

While staying at Tres Sabores briefly, for a conference, proprietor Julie Johnson said her vineyard consultant Amigo Bob was on the premises and that I could talk to him. We met for coffee in St. Helena and talked for more than an hour. Subsequently, I interviewed him on the phone for more in-depth briefings. He was always helpful, always patient, ready to explain.

When the organic movement needed him, he was always there - whether it was fighting against Dow chemical in Hawaii ("it's the Wild West out here," he emailed me, about the rampant use of pesticides there, as local activists fought to restrict pesticide use) or telling me who was doing the best research on new biopesticides (organic).

Please help. I've donated $100 and urge you to match that gift as best you can (or better it!)

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