The August West Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture was established from a promise I made to my son August when he was born. As the father of a newborn child, I was worried. What would I teach him? What tools could I provide to prepare him for life? As a farmer, I was terrified. Given the unregulated proliferation of genetically modified crops making up over 80% of our corn and soy, what would his quality of life be? Given the number of toxins, pesticides, and herbicides in our food, would he be sick later in life? What if he was and I wasn't there to care for him? How could I not do all in my power to protect him from such dangers? What about all of the other children of his generation? How could we fail them?
The August West Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture is my commitment to my son and all of the children of this country to leave them something better than what we started with. This foundation was founded on the basic premise that we are running out of time, and now is the time to "push back" against giant corporate agribusiness threatening the future of our food supply.
As a child, I wanted to be a farmer. I couldn't think of a nobler task in life. It is only recently that I have even considered giving myself the title of "farmer." The ability of the foundation to reach a wide audience and create as many new farmers as possible is paramount to its success. AWF aims to create greater agricultural diversity and encourage farmers to utilize proven, traditional farming methods to keep our food chain healthy and safe, now and for future generations.
I believe that the only way to make a change is through education. Education of children, families, and farmers is the only way to reverse the dangerous course our agricultural system has taken. In my entire life, I have never found a more important endeavor.
I am dedicated to bringing our agricultural heritage back and reviving the respect that comes with it. I am dedicated to seeing that every child has the education and knowledge to choose a healthy, nutritious meal. Most importantly, I am looking forward to leaving my son August something better than what we started with.
Farmer / Chairman of the Board, AWF
Cambridge, NY, 2014