By Intern Howard Lanney
Josh Levine left New York City and his career as a real estate broker to follow his dream of becoming an organic farmer. Josh began as a volunteer at Quail Hill Farm in the summer of 2008, before progressing to a summer apprentice the next year, and finally accepting a full time position in the spring of 2010. In a tragic farm accident on November 30th, Josh’s dream was cut short. Josh’s legacy however, and his passion for farming and education will live on through the Levine Farming Internship, a project of Slow Food East End.
“It was a sudden and tragic thing and our community needed to do something,” says Slow Food East End Education chair and local chef Bryan Futerman. The Levine family decided the best way to honor Josh would be through an internship for young farmers that would carry along the spirit of the work that Josh was doing. From that point “people really jumped on it,” Futerman says. A Slow Food dinner was held in Josh’s honor, with many restaurants donating to the cause.
After a successful fundraiser, Slow Food East End formed a group through their education subcommittee to determine how to structure the Josh Levine Farming Internship. Eventually two internships were awarded at the Sylvester Manor farm on Shelter Island. “We wanted to honor individuals and not an organization,” says Futerman, “we decided Sylvester Manor would be a great place to carry on the Slow Food tradition.”
On June 15th, community and Slow Food members gathered at Sylvester Manor to present the Levine Farming internship to Nate Kraus-Malett and Bobby Walden. Walden, who plans to be on the farm for at least two seasons and has an interest in livestock development was excited about the opportunity. “I feel blessed to be part of a movement that is actively working to address some of the important problems surrounding food production in this country,” says Walden, who is already active in Slow Food as a 2008 Terra Madre delegate. Walden continues, “the support of Josh’s friends and family…instills in me all I will ever need to know that I am making the right choice in pursuing this life…The world needs us.”
“Education was [Josh’s] passion,” says Futerman, “teaching farming is an important thing and it was an honor to be able to participate.” The chapter hopes to continue their efforts in the future and for Josh Levine’s legacy to live on through the education of many young farmers.