Tag Archive | "Joshua Levine"

Myron Levine

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DSC_0012 By Stephen J. Kotz

How did the idea of holding a memorial dinner for your son first take shape?

After the accident, we were contacted by the East End chapter of Slow Food. They wanted to know if we would agree to do a benefit with the money going to his children. We said if they wanted to have a dinner in his honor, we’d be willing o do that as long as it would fund something related to organic farming.

Ted Conklin of The American Hotel agreed to donate The American Hotel for the dinner. Everything was donated. The first year, it was sold out.

We raised $12,000 to $15,000 and we used the money fund two interns for Sylvester Manor.

This year the fourth annual Joshua Levine Memorial Dinner will take place on Sunday, April 6. What have you got planned differently this year?

The dinner itself will again be at The American Hotel, but this year Dodds and Eder said they would like to host the pre-dinner party. Their space is gigantic, so we can get 250 people in that space and it wouldn’t seem crowded.

We were never able to have a silent auction before because we never had the space, so we have been going out in the community to get items for that. The generosity is unbelievable. We’ve gotten donations for foursomes from The Atlantic, The Bridge, East Hampton, Noyac, Hampton Hills, South Fork, and Sebonac [golf clubs] a two-night stay at The Huntting Inn and a gift certificate to The Palm; Topping Rose, Sen, the Cuddy, the Living Room, Marders, you name it.

Who will be the beneficiary of this year’s event?

The second year, they told us about the edible schoolyard project. That really appealed to me. If anything, that would really memorialize Josh and what he was all about. It was really about helping kids to understand. It has evolved now so what they learn in the garden is integrated into the classroom. These kids are passionate about it.

They felt they needed to bring some stability to the program by having master farmers who would work with the schools. We decided that first year we needed three master farmers. Slow Food East End actually had an application that went out to the farming community with a stipend of $4,000 each.

We did the same thing last year, but with 18 to 20 schools now involved, we needed an extra master farmer.

This year we are hoping to raise $40,000. Now there are 25 or more schools, so we’ll need one or two more master farmers. We are also trying to raise money for projects some of the schools need.

How did your son find his way from the city to farming?

Josh was doing real estate in the city. He was successful. He just didn’t like it.

We had been out here since 1979. I do a lot of gardening, so l guess it was in his blood. His wife, Anne, was born on a farm in Virginia and he just wanted to learn about it. He applied for an internship at Quail Hill with Scott Chaskey. Scott hired him and the next year promoted him to be the market manager.

He was looking to get an education and then looking to use it to do something else. He wanted to start a business helping families make organic gardens and then he’d come and help them care for them.

What does the future hold for the Joshua Levine Memorial Foundation?

The principal purpose of the foundation will be to continue to support the edible schoolyard program and other things Josh might have been passionate about.

It’s gotten a life of its own now. These gardens are really important. It’s not just about growing food, it’s about learning about life…. There are just so many lessons you learn in this program.

It’s also important for my grandchildren. There’s a selfish part to this. I want my grandchildren to know who their father was.

The Fourth Annual Joshua Levine Memorial Foundation Dinner will be held on April 6 at The American Hotel with a pre-dinner party and auction at Dodds & Eder in Sag Harbor. For more information or to buy tickets, visit joshualevinefoundation.org.



A Legacy for Levine

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When Myron and Susan Levine bought their first vacation home on the East End in 1979 at Whalebone Landing in Southampton, Myron planted a garden. Years later, sifting through family photographs, he discovered a photograph of his then five-year-old son, Joshua, weeding the garden — an image of a child discovering what would become a lifelong passion.

Now, it is in honor of Joshua’s memory that Myron and Slow Food of the East End hope to make local agriculture an intrinsic part of the lives of children on the Twin Forks, just as it played a vital role in Joshua’s life.

Joshua Levine may have come from New York City with a background in real estate development, among other entrepreneurial pursuits, but it was in farming he found a calling

After almost a lifetime of summering near Sag Harbor, Levine and his family moved to the region, and in 2008 he joined the Peconic Land Trust’s Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett as a volunteer. Levine became a summer apprentice in 2009 and a full time member of Quail Hill’s staff in 2010, his wide grin and affable nature on display each week at the Sag Harbor Farmers’ Market as Quail Hill’s Market Manager.

Levine’s life was cut tragically short in November of 2010 when he was killed in a tractor accident at the farm. Levine was 35 years old and was survived by his wife, Ann and his two small children, Willa and Ezra.

The community rallied around the Levine family, many in mourning, but later looking for ways to celebrate the life of Joshua Levine.

In an effort to pay homage to Levine’s commitment to agriculture on the East End, last year Slow Food East End and the Joshua Levine Memorial Foundation — a charitable organization founded by Myron and Susan — teamed up for a dinner in Levine’s honor at The American Hotel. The proceeds for the evening funded the opportunity for two young farmers to work at Sylvester Manor, a 350-year-old farm on Shelter Island.

Myron said in an interview this week that Sylvester Manor benefited from the program was particularly poignant as Levine had been interviewing for a job directing the farm, but passed away before he was offered the position.

For the benefit dinner’s second year, Myron said the goal was to open the funding up towards something that would benefit the whole of the East End community. Slow Food East End, which has supported edible gardens in local schools with funding and educational resources, and the Levine family ultimately decided that aiding that mission was a worthy cause and one Joshua would have supported.

This year, the groups will hire three garden coordinators to work with the growing number of edible schoolyards on the East End.

According to Slow Food East End President Mary Morgan, two coordinators will be hired to service schools on the South Fork. One will work on the Southampton side, covering schools in Sag Harbor, the Hayground School, the Lower Ross School, Tuckahoe and Southampton schools, while the other coordinator will focus their efforts on the Ross Upper School, the Child Development Center of the Hamptons, as well as the East Hampton, Springs, Amagansett and Montauk school districts.

The third coordinator will work with schools on the North Fork, she said, as well as Hampton Bays and Quogue, said Morgan. All three coordinators will also work with schools that have yet to establish an edible schoolyard in the hopes of getting new programs off the ground, she said.

Applications are due, fittingly, by the Spring Equinox, next Tuesday, March 20, with the three coordinators selected by March 31. They will be celebrated at the charity fundraiser, the second-annual Joshua Levine Memorial Dinner, which will be held at The American Hotel on April 1.

“These are wonderful programs, but they need to be more self sustaining,” said Myron. “Parents leave, teachers leave, students leave and these gardens require the long-term knowledge and assistance to keep growing. We would especially love to see them grow in terms of the kind of curriculum schools develop around their edible gardens.”

That agricultural, education and the culinary arts were close to his son’s hearts only makes the funding more appropriate, said Myron.

“Josh was a truly amazing person,” said Bryan Futerman, the chef of Foody’s, board member of Slow Food East End and educational coordinator for that organization. “What we envision here is a passing down of agriculture traditions and knowledge, which he would have appreciated. It is important to reach young children and as they grow pass down this knowledge for them so that when they get older they turn around, like Josh, and teach others what they have learned.”

For more information about the internship program visit www.slowfoodeastend.org.

The Second Annual Josh Levine Internship will be held on Sunday, April 1 starting with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Bay Street Theatre, followed by dinner at The American Hotel. Reservations can be made through Myron.Levine1941@gmail.com.