Thanks to the many participants and community partners we work with, Tilth Alliance’s programs strengthen and amplify the movement to a better food future in Washington State.
The food we eat is at the center of an entire food system — and Tilth Alliance is active in many parts of it. Learn more about some of what we accomplished in 2021 below.
Organic and regenerative farming and gardening practices build soil health, conserve water, sequester carbon, and increase farmland productivity. As we respond to climate change, these practices must lead the way.
- 35 farmers across the state were awarded grants to enhance their sustainable practices.
- The Tilth Conference was held in-person with COVID precautions. Attendees participated in over 30 sessions, sharing technical and business practices, and thinking about the future of farming in Washington State.
- Farmers shared their stories in season two of the Farm Walks Podcast, our pandemic-safe approach to the farmer-to-farmer education program we have delivered with Washington State University for over 17 years. Tune in at farmwalks.org!
- 60,000 plant starts grown by local farmers and sold at our annual Edible Plant Sale were planted in gardens across King County.
- Our youth programs helped a new generation of organic advocates discover where food comes from and cultivate their skills.
- Our annual cohort of Master Composters and Sustainability Stewards participated in 30 hours of classroom learning before each delivering at least 35 hours outreach with community groups to support them develop composting systems and practices.
All people should have the opportunity to participate and prosper in a food system where healthy, affordable and culturally-significant food is available.
- 35,334 Good Food Bags improved access to fresh produce for families in South Seattle and King County. Each bag was filled with organic, locally-grown, and nutrient-dense seasonal fruit and vegetables that held cultural relevance for recipients.
- The community harvested 834 pounds of food from our U-Pick garden at Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands. Even more were able to make discounted purchases at our Farm Stand thanks to Fresh Bucks, SNAP and City of Seattle funding.
- In addition to 10,023 pounds of produce grown at Tilth Alliance’s farm and gardens, our programs purchased over $300,000 worth of produce from small sustainable farms including 112 in King, Pierce and Snohomish County. Intentional sourcing ensured small farms that are BIPOC, immigrant, veteran and woman owned and operated were supported by our purchases.
- We piloted our culturally relevant plant starts program. Through collaborative planning with immigrant, refugee, and BIPOC participants throughout King County we grew over 2000 starts that directly responded to their planting needs. Together we are trialing what can grow well in this climate.
Communities of color continue to carry a disproportionate burden of urban environmental hazards, and climate change impacts this further. Community-led solutions to achieving a clean and healthy environment direct Tilth Alliance’s work.
- Soil and Water Stewards trained by Tilth Alliance led wetlands restoration and infrastructure projects throughout King County to manage stormwater and protect watersheds in their local communities.
- Community members planted 1,000 plants to support wetlands restoration projects at Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands. This will improve local water quality in Lake Washington and support recovery plans for salmon.
- The Garden Hotline focused on natural management practices for plant pests, diseases and weeds. This included pesticide reduction education and resource conservation in terms of protecting soil and making compost.
- We reached even more people in our classes, with online sessions enabling gardeners from across the state to attend. Collectively these home and community gardeners manage a significant number of acres!
Action in Partnership
We believe more is achieved when we act together! In 2021, significant strategic partnerships included…
Eat Local First is the go-to resource for finding food grown, raised, harvested, and made in our state. Eat Local First features the WA Food & Farm Finder, an easy-to-navigate tool that connects consumers and local producers. With over 1,700 listings in 37 counties, consumers can connect to local farms and food businesses wherever they live, work, shop, visit and eat in Washington State.
Coalition for Organic & Regenerative Agriculture (CORA) is a new coalition spearheaded by Tilth Alliance during 2021. It advocates for the broad adoption of regenerative, organic growing practices by producers and gardeners of all types, and at all scales, throughout Washington State. As a collective voice, we will seek to influence public policies and programs to support a brighter future for Washington farmers.
Working in Community
We couldn’t do this work alone! Thank you to everyone in the Tilth Community who:
- VOLUNTEERED Even as the pandemic continued, over 1,000 people volunteered at the farm, wetlands and gardens that Tilth Alliance helps care for and in programs across King County.
- PARTICIPATED From one day sustainable gardening classes to year-long training in water and soil stewardship and farmer to farmer education, you learned skills to help respond to the global environmental challenges we all face.
- SHOPPED Thousands came to our Edible Plant Sale in May, visited the Farm Stand or invested in a CSA share to access produce sustainably grown at Tilth Alliance’s own farm and gardens and those of local farmers.
- PARTNERED So often we work in partnership, strengthened by other community and non-profit organizations. Hundreds of local, regional and national partners were involved in informing and co-delivering our programs.
- DONATED Those who invested in Tilth Alliance helped Washington be at the forefront of sustainable food system innovation.