The Tony Kleese Award

Tony Kleese Award

In honor and memory of the Tony Kleese, we issue an annual award to a plant breeder doing awesome work in the Southeast. The award offers a cash prize and a media component to continue the work of elevating and spotlighting the important work of plant breeders.

Anyone can nominate a plant breeder for this award (self nominations are also accepted).  The award recipients are selected by the Executive Director and Board of The Utopian Seed Project based upon the following criteria:

  1. The plant breeder’s career clearly demonstrates a commitment to the unique  needs of small/mid sized farmers as well as home growers. 
  2. The plant breeder’s work focuses on developing varieties for organic production systems in the Southeastern United States.
  3. The plant breeder’s projects are dedicated to maintaining fair and open access to plant genetic resources for future generations.
  4. Strong consideration will be given to traditionally underrepresented and minority plant breeders. 

Award details

  1. A one-time award of $2,000 to be dispensed to an individual breeder or organization to be used at their discretion 
  2. Recognition by The Utopian Seed Project through all their media outreach.
  3. A plant breeder profile and media exposure through articles, videos and photography.

This award is partially funded by our Patreon supporters.

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Past Award Recipients

Tony Kleese Award winner - Edmund Frost

Edmund Frost

2018 Tony Kleese Award

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Matthew Blair

2019 Tony Kleese Award

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Jordan Collins

2020 Tony Kleese Award

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2020 Award

Anyone can nominate a plant breeder for this award (self nominations are also accepted). Nominations will be accepted for plant breeders until December 31. The award will be announced by the end of January 2021. Please share widely #tonykleeseaward