2013 23.2 A Message From The President


Michele Catalano accepted the position of Executive Director effective March 1st. Michele has done a great job as Interim Managing Director and we are very pleased to have her on-board long-term. Michele joined us amid many transitions within Tilth Producers and has used her talent for organization to develop new systems for administering the two grants we received last year and making the office run smoothly.

Education Coordinator Jacqueline Cramer and Administrative Assistant Melanie McConachie, are also in the office hard at work. Ariana Taylor-Stanley is focusing on policy issues, including a new advocacy project funded by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. We will engage in the hiring process for a part-time Program Coordinator this spring.


Each January, board and staff set the direction for the upcoming year. We received two grants last fall and the staff has outlined the execution of our deliverables. These deliverables include many of the educational programs we have been offering with the addition of new classes. Look for more Farm Walks, including several “hands-on” events, and full-day workshops we’re calling “Crop-Mobs”. We will also host “One-Day University” events in the coming year. While we have added a few new educational activities, our basic programs are still intact.


Our programs and services aim to benefit all growers in Washington and we want to expand our reach to areas currently underserved. We will survey all current and potential members to gather information about how we can best grow and serve our community.

Look for a more robust online Member Directory later this year and the printed version in early 2014. We’ll be in touch soon to get your input and gather your updated listing information and advertisements.


This year we approved a near balanced budget and now we have a lot of fundraising to do! Monies received from the grants help support and grow our core activities. We will have to raise additional funds to meet our remaining needs.

This year we plant to reach a broader audience with our message, create an individual donor campaign developing a coordinated “pass-the-hat”, and offer multiple matching donation fund drives.


Sally Lovell will resign from the board in April. We have convened a Finance Committee to re-assign all the great work Sally has done for the organization. Since 2004, Sally donated her time as a bookkeeper and financial manager, working many hours each week keeping us on track. She will be sorely missed and we are grateful for her many contributions to Tilth Producers. Laurie Landeros has been elected as our new Treasurer.

At the beginning of the year, Halli Winstead resigned from the Tilth Producers board due to time constraints. Sheldon Malone was elected to replace Halli on the board, and at the January meeting we elected Ann Leason as Secretary. We thank them both for stepping up! We’d like to share a bit more about the new faces to our board.

Addie Candib moved to Western Washington from the east coast in 2005, and now lives and farms in Olympia. She is a co-organizer with the Washington Young Farmers Coalition and sits on the board of the West Olympia Farmers Market. She is passionate about working with heritage pork and pursuing small- scale grain and dried bean production.

Cornelius Adewale is a graduate student with the department of Crop and Soil Science at WSU. He is currently researching the development of a model for measuring the carbon footprint of Organic Farms. He was trained as an Agricultural Economist at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife Nigeria.

Mike Hackett and his spouse Peggy live and work on a small farm at the foot of the Chuckanut Mountains named Moonlight Homestead. Mike also works at the Skagit Valley Food Cooperative. Previously, Mike was a faculty member with WSU’s Extension Livestock & Sustainable Farming program and a WSDA Organic Food (Certification) Program Field Inspector. His enduring passion is to foster healthy soil, produce sustainably grown crops and animal products, and work toward a secure and abundant food system for all.

After early careers in small business management and community newspaper publishing, Laurie Landeros joined forces with a team of bankers who were creating a ‘new kind of banking’, an approach that would consider people and planet as well as profit – a triple bottom line. Childhood experiences on her grandfather’s dairy farm and her father’s commercial salmon troller, combined with her fifteen years in community banking have created a passion for rural communities and sustainable, healthy food systems.

Sheldon Malone grew up on his family’s farm. Today, he is working on getting the family farm back into production. Sheldon is a welder, plumber, electrician, mechanic, heavy equipment operator, truck driver, and accomplishes whatever needs doing on a farm.

Tags: Education, Executive Director, New Board Members