This weekend we lost a shining light in the organic farming and food movement: Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm.
Jack’s personal history and journey are worth reading about and can be found in his books. He and his wife Anne worked tirelessly for 50 years to create Butterworks Farm, which is one of the most regenerative and biodynamic farms I have personally encountered. Jack always strove to cultivate a harmonious vision of what farming and food production could be.
Above all, Jack was a very dear friend, colleague and inspiration.
Five years ago Jack was diagnosed with colon cancer, though that hardly slowed him down from his educating and farm chores. I really thought he would live on forever!
I met Jack and Anne the first year I returned to Vermont to look for a farm and find the community I so craved. They quickly became good friends, and meeting him was a moment of pure affirmation that I was on the right path.
Jack and I met at a grain growing conference in the fall. I was immediately attracted to both his brilliance and practicality. And I also knew that he practiced what he taught and was successful at it by all measures. He definitely walked the talk, which I have found is a rare thing in today’s world of “experts” in all things agricultural and food related.
I was doing some writing and collecting my thoughts the evening after the conference when Jack came into the room. Earlier that day it seemed we had stories to tell each other, and we became fast friends after three hours of talking and listening.
One thing about Jack is that he always had time for anyone willing to listen and learn. (Anne too! I consider her one of the world’s most brilliant dairy cow whisperers.)
Jack and I interacted many times over the past 15 years, helping each other in any way we could. I am going to miss him terribly.
When I had this idea of Farmers To You, Jack was the first farmer I called. His opinion was important to me, and I was grateful for his support and encouragement. He told me that the concept of Farmers To You could be key to uplifting organic family farmers in Vermont. His support never wavered.
Jack personifies both the brilliance and determination that makes our partner farmers at Farmers To You so special. I consider Jack and Anne’s yogurt to be some of the best in the country, because of the integrity they bring to its production, their animals and their farm.
I will remember him and hold him warmly in my heart as we carry on his work, and give generously of ourselves as he always did.
Jack – may your next farm be pure heaven!
Links to books and videos:
Real Organic Project Video of Jack and Anne
Vermont Digger Article on Jack and Anne