It is with a very heavy heart that I write of the passing of our co-founder Jerry Brunetti. He was my mentor, my business partner of 26 years, my friend but most importantly Jerry Brunetti was my inspiration.
Jerry was one of the most unique and brilliant minds of our time. He formulated most of the products in the EarthWorks product line. He was one of the most prominent voices in sustainable agriculture and spoke all over the world on subjects starting with the soil and moving all the way through human health because he truly knew that everything starts with the soil first.
He de-educated me from my days as a County Extension Agent and helped me understand the importance of a good carbon based fertility program and how to balance soils chemically. I’ll never forget our first tradeshow as a company, it was outdoors at Rutgers University – our booth blew over and damaged his truck. We were two young guys selling “organics” in a conventional business and we over heard the salesman in the booth next to us say “those guys are going to ruin the industry!” I don’t think I knew what I was getting into at the time, but Jerry got quite the kick out of that exclamation and his motivation increased exponentially that day! I also don’t think after 26 years of business that we have ruined much of anything!
Jerry was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and was told that he had six months to live by a doctor who clearly didn’t know who he was. He fought in the same way he formulated products, with great conviction and as thoroughly as possible. He was asked to speak as far away as Australia on how to manage cancer in a non-conventional way and he helped untold numbers of people through the worst times of their lives. He even produced a DVD on the subject that was marketed through our friends at ACRES USA.
Jerry formulated products for golf courses, athletic fields, dairy farmers, crop and vegetable growers, pretty much any plant or animal based industry that he thought he could help. He was most at home walking a farm field trying to diagnose problems that a farmer was having with their animals. At first I didn’t get it, he would go to a farm because a cow was sick and he would bring some remedies to help the cow but the very next thing he would ask the farmer was “can I see your soil tests!”
Last year Jerry published what was to be the first of three books. It’s available through our website but I have told many people not to buy it! If they read it they’ll now know what a fraud I am because everything I know of carbon based fertility and soils management I learned from Jerry. I spent many of my Saturday afternoons with Jerry over the past six months just talking and trying to help him forget about his pain; and even then I continued to be his student. It occurred to me recently that my real place in this life is to be a conduit of his knowledge, to help grass growers and anyone in the horticulture industry understand the full cycle of soil to plant to animal nutrition.
Jerry Brunetti will be greatly missed, certainly by me, and my company, and by all that knew him or every heard him speak. He had a grasp on a truth that few have known and he did his best to share that knowledge. I just hope we were all listening. Rest in peace my friend.