2015 25.2 New Board Members

New Board Members: An Introduction

Three new members joined the Tilth Producers Board of Trustees in November 2014. Shawn Bell, Jeremy Cowan and Jessica Gigot bring their expertise and passion for organic and sustainable agriculture to further the Tilth Producers mission and support the Executive Director and staff.

Shawn Bell

Shawn Bell is an impassioned soil science and micro-organism enthusiast who first became involved in organic agricultural issues as a produce stocker at the Community Food Co-op of Bellingham in the early 1990s. His introduction there to the biodynamic and permaculture communities created an interest in soil science, and spurred him to later study the relationship that plants and animals have to their microbiome worlds at the University of Hawaii. Recently he completed the Master Composter / Recycler course through Skagit County.

Currently, Shawn is employed in the grocery department at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op, where he takes a keen interest in farming practices, after-harvest care and post-harvest marketing. Shawn views sustainable agriculture through many lenses, and seeks to find solutions to issues critical to farmers. He has spent several years concentrating on policies that impact farmland preservation, local food systems, the risks of genetically modified organisms, and land use practices that inhibit the growth of new sustainable farms.

Jeremy Cowan Jeremy Cowan grew up in a suburb of San Diego, where he managed the family garden and raised meat rabbits. He realized his love for plants when fate pushed him into a BS in horticulture. While completing an MBA he had a nagging urge to explore vegetable production, which led him and his family to WSU Mount Vernon in 2008, where he later completed a PhD in horticulture. The focus of his research was on high tunnels and biodegradable plastic mulches.

Currently, Jeremy is the regional horticulture specialist in the WSU Spokane County Extension office, where he serves as a bridge between growers and the University, organizing workshops, farm tours, and co-leading the area’s Cultivating Success courses.

At home, Jeremy and his family are establishing a small farm on their seven acre homestead outside of Spokane. Last year they raised hogs, sheep, and laying hens, are now adding a chicken breeding program, and will sell vegetables through the Local Inland Northwest Cooperative (LINC ) and a small CSA.

Jessica Gigot

Jessica Gigot, Ph.D., M.F.A. is a farmer, poet and teacher. She owns and operates Harmony Fields, a small, organic farm in Bow, WA that produces herbs, specialty produce and lamb as well as offers art and health workshops through the farm’s Art in the Barn series (www.hfproduce.com). C urrently, Jessica is also part-time science faculty at the Northwest Indian College and teaches courses in their native environmental science program with a focus on food sovereignty.

After working on several farms in the Northwest, Jessica completed graduate work in plant pathology and horticulture at Washington State University’s Mount Vernon Research and Extension Center and her research focused on sustainable soil and plant disease management. During her time in graduate school she fell in love with the diverse agricultural and artistic communities that coexist in the Skagit Valley and decided to stay. In her free time Jessica enjoys visual art projects, hiking in the Chuckanut and Cascade Mountains and playing music with her husband in their old-time folk trio called the Dovetails.

Tags: Board Members, Tilth Board