2015 25.1 T40 Conference Review




Tilth’s 40th anniversary conference was inspiring and motivating for all who joined us in Vancouver, WA November 7 – 9, 2014, to celebrate the theme Re-Imagine Agriculture. Seven hundred producers, researchers, educators, students, and activists, filled meeting rooms, hallways and dining rooms throughout the three days. Everyone was keen to exchange ideas and information, learn from one another, and find solutions to farming’s challenges.


The weekend began with our first-ever Technical Assistance Fair and two symposia. “Growing for Nutrition” attendees learned about phytonutrition, the benefits of native and cultural plants, and that there’s more to wheat—and bread—than meets the eye. Those looking to improve their decision-making to more effectively plan and manage their farms spent the day at “Holistic Management for Specialty Crop Producers.” Afterward attendees mingled with incoming conference guests at the Friday evening Welcome Reception where they met poster presenters and the more than 75 trade show vendors. Later that evening was Tilth’s first ever Farmer TED Talks and Berry Jam, featuring spoken word, music, and tributes to Wendell Berry, Tilth’s inspiration in 1974.


T40 boasted thirty informative workshops, bookended by two stimulating keynote speeches. Raj Patel energized the crowd with his call for intentional activism by farmers to educate and help one another. His feisty speech stressed the need to empower disenfranchised agricultural groups so that they may succeed and contribute to the food economy. The closing keynote by Mary Berry called forth the value of family, exemplified by the lifetime work of her father, Wendell Berry, to ensure farmers have a voice and the ability to succeed. Like Patel, Berry stressed the need for farmers to work together to find solutions that will carry farmers—and agriculture—forward.


While we can’t recreate the excitement of the conference in its entirety, you can still gain valuable educational knowledge through audio recordings of the keynotes, symposia and workshops.


The 2014 Tilth conference generated energy and determination to continue the Tilth mission begun 40 years ago to create a successful agriculture movement. It was a gathering place for people to share plans and dreams for the growth of a sustainable organic food system in the Pacific Northwest… the theme of agriculture re-imagined stood tall.


The conference is no small feat—there are many people to offer grateful thanks from the Tilth Producers staff and board. Without the generosity of our sponsors, silent auction donors, food and beverage donors, committed trade show exhibitors, presenters and attendees, the conference would not be possible.


Thank you to everyone who contributed to T40.

Tags: Agriculture, anniversary, Conference, Keynote, symposia, T40, Tilth Conference, voice, workshops

pdf2015_25_1_Winter T40 Conference Review.pdf