Annual Farmer & Advocate Awards

The Board Directors and the membership of Tilth Producers honors individuals who have gone above and beyond to promote the mission of the organization and embody the spirit of our core values. Awarded at the Tilth Producers annual conference in November, these awards are given to one outstanding farmer, Farmer(s) of the Year, for their efforts in land stewardship and one outstanding advocate, Advocate(s) of the Year, for their efforts in representing organic and sustainable farmers.


On Saturday, November 13th, 2015 in Spokane, WA at Tilth’s 2015 Annual Conference, Tilth Producers honored Diane Dempster of Charlie’s Produce with a Lifetime Achievement Award along with our Farmers of the Year to Terry Carkner of Terry’s Berries and our Advocate of the Year to Dick Carkner of Terry’s Berries.

Lifetime Achievement Award | Farmers of the Year | Advocate of the Year

 Diane Dempster, Charlie’s Produce – Farmer’s Own – Lifetime Achievement Award

This Lifetime Achievement Award, given November 2015, is in recognition of Diane’s devotion to organic agriculture, regional farmers and organizational distinction. Diane’s presence has been instrumental in building and continuing the Tilth movement for nearly three decades. Diane has been at the forefront of organic agriculture, providing steadfast leadership in Tilth Producers. Her guidance led the organization to excel in educational programs and services for Washington farmers, in addition to creating critical outreach and marketing opportunities for retail businesses selling organic foods. Diane’s vision of connecting farmers with consumers resulted in the popular Washington Organic Week campaign, celebrating organic products around the state. For over 20 years, Diane’s involvement in planning successful workshops and dedication in sourcing Washington
organic products has set the high standard for which Tilth’s annual conference is known.

Diane’s loyalty, hard work, and commitment to excellence that have served so many farmers in the region. Her leadership is responsible for the secure foundation that Tilth Producers has enjoyed for decades, and carries into the future.

 Terry Carkner, Terry’s Berries – Farmer of the Year

This Farmer of the Year Award, given November 2015, recognizes you as an outstanding steward of the land who has blessed Puget Sound residents with amazing food for over 30 years. We are grateful to you as our wise and kind teacher who is ever ready to lend an ear and share an idea. You have given generously of your time to educate your peers, community, and the next generation of growers, spreading organic farming knowledge throughout the world. Ever humble, you are always curious to learn more and experiment with new innovations, bravely lending your ground for new organic farming research to help others. You have been a champion of the local food movement, steadfastly showing the world that carefully tended farms can succeed – and feed a lot of people really well.

 Dick Carkner, Terry’s Berries – Advocate of the Year

This Advocate of the Year Award, given November 2015, acknowledges our deep gratitude for your tireless work to build sustainable food and farming systems for the people of Washington. Ever the educator, you have always made it a priority to inform politicians, farmers and the public about the needs of the agricultural community. We honor your pioneering leadership at Washington State University to direct attention and resources to research and outreach on the economics of small farm viability. We are grateful for your long hours of volunteer work and tenacious advocacy of critical policies that protect growers, farmland, and food production from urban sprawl – especially
while training the next generation of farmers and managing a diversified organic farm. We thank you for your decades-long stewardship of the fertile soils of the Puyallup River Valley.

Past Farmer & Advocate of the Year

YearFarmer of the YearAdvocate of the YearLifetime Achievement Award
2014Ray & Becky de Vries David GranatsteinAnne Schwartz
2013Kole & Sonia TonnemakerEllen Gray
2012Juana Lopez Paramo & Clayton BurrowsKaren Kinney
2011Eric & Sheryl ZakarisonColleen Donovan
2010Watershine WoodsFred Berman & Patrice Barrentine
2009Hilario AlvarezMary Embleton
2008NoneGus Hoover
2007Rick & Marilynn LynnGoldie Caughlan
2006Jim & Harlyn MeyerDiane Dempster
2005Michaele BlakelyJerry Pipitone
2004Nash HuberMiles McEvoy
2003Grant GibbsDiane Dempster