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.

Interested in nominating a farmer or an advocate for 2015?

To nominate a candidate for either award please review the criteria here and then complete the fillable form and return to us via mail, fax or email (information on form); or use an online form to nominate a Farmer of the Year here and an Advocate of the Year here. Deadline for nominations is Thursday, October 22, 2015.


On Saturday, November 8th 2014 in Vancouver, WA at Tilth’s 40th Anniversary Conference, Tilth Producers honored Anne Schwartz of Blue Heron Farm with a Lifetime Achievement Award along with our Farmers of the Year to Ray and Becky de Vries of Ralph’s Greenhouse and our Advocate of the Year to David Granatstein of WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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

Anne Schwartz (Blue Heron Farm) – Lifetime Achievement Award

This lifetime achievement award is in recognition of Anne’s dedication and commitment toT-40_November 08- 2014_088 organic agriculture. She has been at the forefront of organic agriculture and the Tilth movement for nearly 40 years and an indisputable leader of Tilth Producers of Washington. Anne was instrumental in establishing the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) and Small Farms Program, USDA organic livestock standards, and the WSDA Organic Food Program. We honor Anne’s efforts that have elevated Tilth Producers to regional importance and national relevance: her commitment to expand farmer-to-farmer education, dedication to organic research, and influential advocacy for national and state regulations and policies that support producers.

This award recognizes Anne’s hard work, honesty, dedication and love for the mission of Tilth Producers. Your impact reaches far beyond the Skagit Valley, and we celebrate your lifetime successes throughout Washington, the United States, and internationally.

Ray & Becky de Vries (Ralph’s Greenhouse) – Farmers of the Year

This farmer of the year award acknowledges you as outstanding T-40_November 08- 2014_086stewards of the land, and a friendly, shining beacon in the Skagit Valley. You are appreciated as teachers who set an example of peer-to-peer education, generously helping other growers gain a foothold to success. We honor your support of the community, cultivating both land and people. Thank you for being dedicated members of Tilth Producers and organic agriculture in Washington State.

David Granatstein (WSU CSNAR) – Advocate of the Year

This advocate of the year award acknowledges our deep gratitude for your service to T-40_November 08- 2014_087sustainable agriculture spanning 40 years. We honor your research within CSANR to add diversity to orchard floor management that has revolutionized the organic tree fruit industry in Washington State. In addition to research, your leadership as a volunteer with advocacy work on behalf of growers across the NW has been critical to steward the development of
sustainable and organic agriculture in both the public and private sectors. Thank you for being an integral part of four decades of Tilth success.


Year Farmer of the Year Advocate of the Year
2013 Kole & Sonia Tonnemaker Ellen Gray
2012 Juana Lopez Paramo & Clayton Burrows Karen Kinney
2011 Eric & Sheryl Zakarison Colleen Donovan
2010 Watershine Woods Fred Berman & Patrice Barrentine
2009 Hilario Alvarez Mary Embleton
2008 None Gus Hoover
2007 Rick & Marilynn Lynn Goldie Caughlan
2006 Jim & Harlyn Meyer Diane Dempster
2005 Michaele Blakely Jerry Pipitone
2004 Nash Huber Miles McEvoy
2003 Grant Gibbs Diane Dempster