2016 26.4 Building Tilth

I hope you have had a wonderful 2016 growing season. My year has included moving on from my urban farming efforts in Seattle, settling back on Bainbridge Island, and returning to rural agricultural production in partnership with my good friend Renee on her land in Poulsbo—Full Tilth Farm. As a former Tilth Producers board member and farmer, I am honored to continue serving on the board of the merged Tilth organization as we make the transition from separate entities to a unified food-system-wide nonprofit.

I would love to sit with each of you local Washington state farmers and small farm advocates who read this publication and simply ask: what inspired you to get into agriculture in the first place? Is there a particular Wendell Berry quote that galvanized you? A certain piece of land that grabbed you and pulled you in? An aspect of the way of life that keeps you going through hard times? I’m sure there are as many answers as there are individuals, and I believe that the Tilth organization exists to help make the dreams of sustainable farmers possible.

By connecting the dots between various aspects of our food system, we work to fund, educate, inspire and otherwise improve sustainability, economic viability and social equity within that system. Direct support of agricultural producers and programs that increase local food buying among consumers are all part of this work.

This has been a year of transition and integration for both the board and staff as we envision and plan ways to build upon our merged organizations and create the new organization we all want. As planned, we are working diligently to come up with the best possible new name, which will be shared with you in the coming weeks.

As we look toward the future, we have been building a team of individuals who have solid skills and experience to help us build better farm programs. You’ll get a chance to meet the team at the Tilth conference in November. We are also thinking about how to best expand or create programs based on needs around the state, and to that end are soliciting your input. We are doing listening sessions around WA, meeting folks and gathering good information about people’s interests, desires and perceptions. The next listening session is in Wenatchee at the Tilth conference on Saturday evening and I hope to see you there.

Being a member of the Tilth community means being part of a movement, one in which people understand and promote the importance of sustainable food production, not to mention the fulfillment it brings to those who practice it:
“The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming, whose hands reach into the ground and sprout, to him the soil is a divine drug. – Wendell Berry

Thank you so much for all you do, and thank you for the opportunity to continue to serve you. We welcome your feedback at any time, and particularly at the conference—looking forward to seeing you in November in Wenatchee!

Becky Warner, Board of Directors, Tilth

Becky Warner is a Tilth board member and farmer at Full Tilth Farm (no relation). She was board president for Tilth Producers in recent years, co-owner and manager of City Grown Seattle and a founding member of the Washington Young Farmers Coalition.

Tags: Tilth, Tilth Movement, Wendall Berry