Merging into a Statewide Tilth Organization

Seattle Tilth Joins Forces with Tilth Producers

By Liza Burke, Communications Director

Michelle Catalano, Executive Director of Tilth Producers (left), and Andrea Dwyer (right), Executive Director of Seattle Tilth.

Michelle Catalano, Executive Director of Tilth Producers (left), and Andrea Dwyer (right), Executive Director of Seattle Tilth.

It’s official — we’re merging! Seattle Tilth is joining forces with Tilth Producers of Washington. Both boards of directors have voted “yay” and the decision will be effective January 1.

As a new merged organization, our impact will be greater. By coming together, we have a better chance of realizing our shared goals in creating a sustainable and equitable food system.

Key benefits of merging include:

  • Tilth Producers logo_colorLarger, more visible and influential organization
  • Increased capacity to advocate for and create systems change
  • Enhanced ability to raise funds
  • Tilth Producers will gain the benefits of joining a larger organization with strong infrastructure
  • Seattle Tilth will gain a statewide network

Executive Director Andrea Dwyer explains, “The conventional food system is a vast and complex force that is invested in the status quo. As smaller organizations, we have less of a chance of making a difference. By working together, we can share resources and our voice will be amplified.

DSC_0680

Over 600 organic farmers, including 20 Seattle Tilth staff and farmers, gathered in Spokane for the 2015 Tilth Producers Conference.

The decision to merge was the result of eighteen months of active discussion and negotiation between the two boards. There were no lasting concerns and everyone recognized the shared values and common goals between the two organizations and supports the merger enthusiastically.

Seattle Tilth’s Board President, Liza Turley, explains her vision for the future. “I hope to see healthy local food become accessible to all communities and organic agriculture in Washington thrive.”

Planning meeting at Pragtree Farm on Aug. 27, 1977 where the name "Tilth" was adopted for the regional organization. (Photo by Jef Jaisun)

Planning meeting at Pragtree Farm on Aug. 27, 1977 where the name “Tilth” was adopted for the regional organization. (Photo by Jef Jaisun)

Now the hard work begins. Integrating two organizations with such deep histories and traditions is a big task. As you might know, the two groups originate from the same roots back in the early 70’s, but they have evolved in different ways.

Becky Warner, the president of the Tilth Producer’s board, explains, “Our two organizations have always worked in similar areas but from somewhat different ends of the food system. Over time, the areas of focus were starting to overlap. Bringing together all our work under one new organization offers a full food system-wide perspective and increased capacity to make a meaningful difference for farmers, eaters and the food system.”

gfb 50Our goal is to unite forces in a way that retains the best of both cultures. We’ll spend time thinking about who we are and how we identify ourselves, what we want to call our new organization and how to integrate plans and systems.

Both organizations are responsive to community needs and will be asking for input from their communities. We don’t have preconceived notions about what people want, nor do we think we have all the answers. The process will be gradual and incremental. Programs in both organizations will continue as usual while we learn more about how our combination can lead us to a stronger future.

We will update our stakeholders and community members along the way. More information is available on our FAQs.

UPDATE: Cascade Harvest Joins the Mix
In an unexpected turn of events, Cascade Harvest Coalition was unable to continue due to financial reasons and will be joining the mix. The merger between Seattle Tilth and Tilth Producers has become a three way merger of like minded agricultural organizations!  Read more.

We encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas. Email Executive Director Andrea Dwyer at andreadwyer@seattletilth.org or call (206) 633-0451 ext. 104. Don’t be shy! We’re excited for people to share our enthusiasm for the future as we become a united organization.

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