The sustainable agriculture community lost one of our very best this week, Alison Wiediger. Alison was an innovative farmer, an amazing teacher and a wonderful person.
Alison and her husband Paul Wiediger owned and operated Au Naturel Farm near Smiths Grove, Kentucky, and together had over 80 years of production experience using organic methods. They pioneered hoophouse technology for year-round production, and wrote one of the first books on the subject, Walking to Spring: Using High Tunnels to Grow Produce 52 Weeks a Year. They helped develop and manage a producer-only farmers’ market in their area, and also developed their own email market during the “off” season. Because of their innovations, Alison and Paul were featured in one of Southern SAWG’s first Natural Farming Systems in the South videos.
After participating in Southern SAWG’s Experienced Organic Farmer network, Alison and Paul went on to teach hundreds of people about hoophouse production and marketing at Southern SAWG conferences and workshops. Growers and potential growers were always thrilled to learn from these excellent, experienced farmers, not only because of their knowledge, but also because of their positive and entertaining presentation style. Numerous farm service providers around the region invited Alison and Paul to teach growers in their area as they became aware of their deep knowledge and great teaching skills.
Alison and Paul were staunch supporters of Southern SAWG, primarily because they wanted to help farmers. They hosted a field trip on their farm when the Southern SAWG conference was held in Louisville, and in 2016 they provided a generous sponsorship for 50 farmers to attend the 25th anniversary conference. Their attitude of gratitude was so strong that they simply wanted to pass on the gift of learning to more farmers. Alison also served on the Southern SAWG Board of Directors for several years.
Alison was certainly a gift to all who knew her and to the sustainable agriculture community of the south. Alison, you will be sorely missed. Paul, our deepest sympathies are with you.