2010 20.4 A Message From The President

Tilth Producers of Washington Board President

What a challenging growing season! Weather has wreaked havoc on yields and dampened spirits. Still, the increased interest consumers have shown in locally grown food raised in an environmentally friendly manner is encouraging. That surge in consumer demand helps put Tilth Producers right in the middle of a number great projects and programs.

WOW!

2010’s successful Washington Organic Week, or WOW! set a precedent for Tilth Producers and will be repeated in years to come.

Kick-off was Sept. 12 at the Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair where City Council Member Sally Clark read a Washington Organic Week Proclamation. Marty Beagle, Manager of the WSDA Organic Food Program told us about the importance of organic agriculture to the state, and the event concluded with an entertaining rap on the subject.

WOW! ended with a big splash on Sept. 19 with an organic cocktail contest at Tini Bigs in Seattle and the first Eat Out for Farmers night. Many restaurants throughout the state served organic meals and donated a portion of the profits to Tilth Producers.

Retail stores actively promoted local organic food, and there were many more activities to influence consumer food-buying habits. There were ads in Seattle Weekly and other publications and even a banner on Seattle buses. Check out our web site for more details. www.tilthproducers.org/programs/wow/

A huge Thank You goes out to the many sponsors who made the event possible. We couldn’t have done it without you. This was a great inaugural event, and it will be even bigger next year! Contact Nancy (nancy@tilthproducers.org) if you’d like to help with planning.

Farm Walks

We have had many great farm walks this year. They have been diverse and well-attended, with a great blend of experts and farm knowledge. Thanks to WSU Small Farms Team for partnering with us. Check out the Farm Walk recap article in this issue. (page 8 )

Web site

Mentioning WOW! reminds me— check out our new web site! Kelsey, our fabulous program assistant, created one for us shortly after coming on board. It is still being developed and expanded, so please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.

Conference

This year we return to Fort Worden in Port Townsend, site of an early and memorable Tilth Producers conference. The food will be great, prepared by Bon Appetit, and all the ingredients for Saturday’s dinner will come from within 50 miles of Port Townsend!

We have a great line up of workshops and speakers. This year, we’ll offer a pre-conference farm walk at Finnriver Farm, Thursday in Chimacum. Friday is an all-day symposium on growing grains on the westside. On Saturday morning, we are fortunate to have Chuck Hassebrook of the Center for Rural Affairs as our keynote speaker.

Look for the return of our highly popular silent auction and organic wine tasting, and of course bring your dancing shoes along so you can shake your booty to the sounds of Jangle Bones, a local mountain blues band. We have much to learn from each other and even more to celebrate.

Truly we have entered a time where some of Tilth’s founding visions have not only been realized, but embraced by growing numbers of people around the world. While we have much work to do, let’s pause and reflect on just how far we have come since 1977 when a group of sincere young people gathered in a barn near Arlington. And then we celebrate! Join us this November!

Elections

Sunday morning during the conference is our Annual Meeting. This is your chance to learn what we’ve been doing, what’s planned going forward, and hear from the folks that make Tilth Producers the vital organization it is. Most importantly, this is when we elect folks to fill open positions on the board of directors.

We rely on the varied skills and talents of our board members to provide Tilth with the expertise needed to move our agenda forward. We are looking for new members with computer, financial, and/or fund-raising skills. We also encourage growers on the eastside to get on board and help ensure Tilth programs meet ‘dryside’ needs.

Tilth Producers is unique in that our bylaws require that a majority of board members be growers. This ensures we meet the needs of sustainable and organic growers throughout Washington. There is a time commitment to being on the Board, and some work to do, but it is satisfying and worthwhile. It is a friendly and fun board whose members are skilled and energized. Please consider running for the board of directors and joining our great team. Talk to any of the current members for more information.

Nominations, please!

Each year we honor a grower and a farm advocate who have made significant contribution to our community. If you have someone you would like to nominate, please follow the procedures listed on the web site under “awards.”

Fund-raising

Fund-raising is challenging in these times, but we anticipate extra income from the silent auction and other sponsors. We are also developing an individual donor program. If your season turned out a bit better than expected, please consider donating to Tilth Producers. Every little bit helps make your voice heard louder and farther.

See you in November!

Tags: 2010, 2010 Conference, Conference, Fall, Pre-Conference, President, WOW!

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