Bill Dow, the food doctor

December 8, 2012 at 8:13 am Leave a comment

2010 photo by Harry Lynch/News and Observer

2010 photo by Harry Lynch/News and Observer

This is excerpted from Andrea Weigl’s fine feature in the News and Observer, which captures the many facets of Bill Dow’s lasting contributions to our community and many others.  Bill, 67, died earlier this week from unknown causes. A memorial service will be held Dec. 15 at 11 am at the Spring Friends Meeting house in Snow Camp.

Anyone who spends time this weekend shopping at one of the about 30 farmers markets across the Triangle can thank Bill Dow.

The Chatham County organic farmer and former physician helped start the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, the area’s oldest farmer-run market. He also was a leader in the Triangle’s local food movement.

Before the Carrboro Farmers’ Market started in 1978, few farmers grew produce to sell directly to consumers, restaurants didn’t list farms on their menus, and “locavore” was not part of the lexicon. Carrboro’s wildly popular farmers market could be considered the genesis of the Triangle’s eat-local scene, spawning dozens of farmer- and community-run markets from downtown Raleigh to Saxapahaw.

Dow was remembered this week by friends as a quiet, thoughtful man who lived by his convictions. Most of them knew him as a physician who became the state’s first certified organic farmer, believing he could do more good growing vegetables than dispensing medicines.

They may not have known that he had spent several years helping set up health clinics in eastern Tennessee. Or that his community organizing in those rural areas led him to help start farmers markets from Georgia to Arkansas. Or that he was involved in the effort to expand solar power in Chatham County, encouraging people to build solar-powered greenhouses and water heaters. Or that he was the first small organic farmer in the region to put 22 acres of his 30-acre farm under a conservation easement in perpetuity.

“He did so much,” said Daryl Walker, his partner, who had been with Dow for a decade. “He talked so little about it,” she said.

Read the whole story here.

Entry filed under: Farmers' Market, Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Food. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Rest in peace, Bill Dow “Dirt to shirt” — a home-grown organic cotton company

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