2013 23.4 A Message From the President

It is October already and the shorter days and morning fog always catch me by surprise. Fall is the time for harvest, storing for the winter, and planning for the year ahead. At Tilth Producers, we too, are getting ready for another year.

Now is the time to think about running for the Tilth Board of Directors. Please consider joining us and let me know if you are interested. The Tilth Producers Board is comprised of focused, friendly, interesting, and accomplished people. We seek a broad representation of Board members from across the state, and for our grower board members to farm a mix of crop types. We need people with financial and fundraising experience and those with knowledge about making the transition from a working to a governing Board are a plus. If you are interested or know someone who you would like to see on the Board, please contact us.

Earlier this year the Board created a new Finance Committee to oversee the budget and finances. Administering the two grants we were awarded last fall has required us to create financial systems and record keeping that we did not have in place. Thanks to Laurie Landeros, Board Treasurer, and Michele Catalano, Executive Director, for all their hard work in creating and monitoring these systems.

We set some lofty goals this year, and I’m pleased to say that we are on our way to meeting them. Interest in sponsorship of this year’s Yakima conference has been strong and sponsors continue to sign on. Currently we are more than three-quarters of the way to meeting our goal. There is still time for you or your business to become a conference sponsor. Please contact Michele or myself, or visit our website for details.

Tilth is thrilled to have received a matching grant for our fall donation drive, taking place between now and the conference. The fall donor drive provides our members an opportunity to support their favorite farm organization. Our generous donor match provides an incentive for members to support Tilth Producers, as every dollar donated will be matched one-for-one, effectively doubling every donation. So please give as much as you can. We will also be running a membership drive to bring new members into the Tilth Producers community this fall. You can help by telling your friends why you’re a member and encouraging them to join.

Plans for another not-to-be-missed conference are well
underway. We have a superb group of speakers lined up and a great mix of workshops planned. Plus the Friday symposium and tour are sure to attract crowds. The conference silent auction is back by popular demand and will be held Saturday evening during the wine tasting. Auction donations are being solicited now so please consider contributing an item. Donation forms are on our website or call the office for assistance.

We’re excited by the recent hire of Amy Moreno-Sills as the Food Coordinator for this year’s Yakima conference. This is also the time of year we solicit food donations for our amazing organic meals. If you would like to donate food for the conference, please let us know.

Can you believe that Tilth is turning 40 next year? While the Board and staff are busy preparing for the Yakima conference that’s just around the corner, they are also planning the 2014 “T- 40”conference to be held in Vancouver, WA, November 14 – 16, 2014. The first Tilth conference was in 1974 in Ellensburg and many of you were there! Like with T-30, all the Tilth chapters are joining forces to put on a big extravaganza for next year’s conference. Mark your calendars and be in touch if you would like to help the in the planning.

Governor Jay Inslee declared September 7th to the 14th as Washington Organic Week – WOW! This year’s weeklong focus on Washington organics was supported by 23 sponsors, and boasted several regional promotions. We started off the week’s festivities with the Blast-Off Party held at Hedlin Farms in the Skagit Valley – complete with a barn dance. Social media activity shared educational blurbs about organic agriculture in Washington and was led by our new 8 Days 8 Ways project. Also new this year was the Eat Organic for WOW! pledge campaign which engaged consumers and helped them to enjoy Washington’s bounty of organic products. The ever-popular Beer and Chocolate Tasting at Theo Chocolate in Seattle anchored the WOW! celebrations.

The 2013 farm walk season wrapped up in September, and thanks to our two grants, we offered an expanded line-up of 13 farm walks plus two hands-on “crop mobs”. We covered the state this year with a geographical mix that included new areas for Tilth programs, such as Asotin County. Attendance was strong throughout the season, with an average of over 20 growers at each farm walk. We thank the host farms and WSU Small Farms Team for their support with this successful annual program.

Tags: Conference, Executive Director, Fundraising