2011 21.1 2010 Farmer Of The Year & Advocates Of The Year

One of the most enjoyable parts of the Tilth Producers Conference each year is discovering who has been selected as Farmer of the Year and Advocate of the Year. Each November the board brings to light those folks among us that truly shine in their passions and advocacy. Indeed, this year is no different.

The folks recognized here exemplify a huge part of what makes Tilth Producers the marvelous organization it is. We are most grateful for their dedication, perseverance, inspiration, and tenacity.

2010 Farmer of the Year

Watershine Woods of Filaree Farm, Omak

Our Farmer of the Year is a remarkable person who, like many that come to farming, find themselves wearing many hats. In addition to running the farm and raising a couple of kids—both of whom have spent many happy years working on the farm—she developed a business and product line known through out the United States for high quality and value.

On Filaree Farm, the importance of biodiversity and complex ecosystems, mixing leguminous trees alongside tree fruit, developing rich fertility and a careful eye for quality have been the driving factors for over three decades.

Watershine Woods was instrumental in developing a marketing cooperative and collaborating with other growers in the region to market their products together. Perhaps most important is her dedication to working with people to solve problems and create opportunity. As she nears retirement, she has been mentoring the next generation to pick up the reins and keep moving this farm into the future.

As the board reviewed nominations, they were inspired by the words of those Watershine inspires, folks who were deeply touched to discover they could become good farmers themselves.

The plaque presented to Watershine reads, “To Watershine Woods for her dedication to developing and refining dozens of strains of garlic, for creating a business marketing seed garlic nationwide, and for providing unique market opportunities for small farmers in the Northwest.

“We acknowledge her commitment to the earth’s living systems, to her local economy and to sharing a lifetime of knowledge about organic fruit and vegetable culture.

“We commend her work in creating the Okanogan Producers Marketing Association and developing new markets for Okanogan organic farmers. Watershine has provided an inspiring business model while mentoring young people and preparing them to assume management and ownership of the farm. And, Watershine accomplished all this with great generosity and an inspiring vision for a sustainable future.”

2010 Advocates of the Year

Patrice Barrentine & Fred Berman

WSDA Small Farm & Direct Marketing Yes, you read right, it’s a plural. This year, we are thrilled to honor two people, sometimes seemingly joined at the hip, that work across our state helping farmers, promoting farm products, and tirelessly advocating on behalf of Washington’s small farms with anyone and everyone with whom they can wrangle a bit of face time.

These two people are 24/7/365 models of what good government should look like and how it should work. It’s because of the work done by folks like Patrice Barrentine and Fred Berman that our state can point to growing numbers of new farms and farmers, not decreasing numbers. Bar none, these two are one of the very best expenditures our state ag dollars can fund.

The plaques presented read:
“To Patrice Barrentine for her exceptional advocacy on behalf of Washington’s small farmers. She has traveled Washington State and the region extensively, visiting farms and direct markets, hosting women farmers’ roundtables and farm tours, strengthening regional agri-tourism, disseminating essential resources for farmers and increasing awareness of the concerns of farmers at the state level.

“In her role at the WSDA Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program, Patrice exercises her talent for identifying the needs of small growers, bringing those issues into the public eye while creating new programs to benefit growers and increasing awareness of Washington agriculture.”

“To Fred Berman for his outstanding work in supporting Washington’s small farmers. His ability to connect with farmers, coupled with his innovative, positive approach, helped WSDA identify and develop programs that meet the needs of Washington growers. Fred is an advocate for producers and processors trying to navigate the complexity of state and federal food production regulations.

“He has spent countless hours travelling the State and region, visiting farms and farmers, hosting farm tours for future farmers and legislators, developing regional agri-tourism plans, and working with regional farming organizations to advocate for all farmers statewide.”

Tags: Advocate Of The Year, Farmer Of The Year, Filaree Farm, Fred Berman, Patrice Barrentine, Watershine Woods