Agricultural economist John Ikerd presented the keynote address to the 2002 Washington Tilth Producers Conference in Yakima. Entitled The Family Farm on the Cutting Edge, his speech outlined the vision for a new agriculture that is ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just. Below are Washington organizations working to make that vision a reality.

Abundant Life Seed Foundation (
The Abundant Life Seed Foundation is devoted to preserving the genetic diversity of plants by saving rare and heirloom seeds. The foundation was in the process of restructuring when, in August, 2003, the building that housed Abundant Life Seeds' offices and primary seed collection was destroyed by fire. As a result of the fire, the future of the Abundant Life Seeds catalog is uncertain. The organization plans to continue, however, with its non-profit research and educational mission under a new name, the Organic Seed Alliance. The Alliance will focus on professional seed grower education, collaborative research and public breeding of open-pollinated varieties.

Campbell Farm  (
Located in the heart of the Yakima Valley, Campbell Farm was established in 1978 by the Presbytery of Central Washington to serve as a retreat and learning center. Over the years the farm has become a gathering place for people of diverse cultures, including special outreach programs for Native Americans and Latino farm workers.

Cascade Foothills Farmland Association (
Delight in fresh-picked apples, take the kids to a petting zoo, enjoy a sleigh ride pulled by Belgian draft horses, or attend a wine tasting festival. These are a few of examples of events offered by members of the Cascade Foothills Farmland Association, a non-profit organization that promotes agricultural tourism in North Central Washington. They produce a free map with directions to wineries and farm stands in the heart of the state.

Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources (
The Center was established by Washington State University in 1991 to promote sustainability in agriculture, natural resources and local communities through education and applied research. The Center facilitates linkages between WSU researchers, farmers, the food industry, environmental organizations, and public agencies on a broad range of initiatives across the state. The Center is currently developing the Biologically Intensive & Organic Agriculture research and education program at the university. When established, WSU will be one of the first institutions in the country to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in organic agriculture. In July, 2003, the Organic Farming Research Foundation recognized WSU for its organic farming research and educational programs. The foundation noted that WSU currently has 14 production research projects, 11 Extension initiatives, and several other consumer/economic research projects that advance the state of knowledge on organic issues.

Friends of Family Farmers (
Pierce County, which once was one of the major agricultural districts of Western Washington, looses on average a farm every two weeks. Friends of Family Farmers formed in 1998 in an effort to help reverse this trend through citizen education, effective farm policy, and efforts to improve the economic viability of farms. In 2001 they were successful convincing the Pierce County Council to create a Farm Advisory Commission to advise on policies to support local agriculture. In cooperation with American Farmland Trust, they hosted a series of community meetings to discuss farming issues and potential solutions.

Heifer International - Pacific Northwest (
Heifer International has worked in US communities since 1947, and their new Pacific Northwest office is their 7th regional program. Heifer Pacific Northwest's immediate focus is supporting immigrant farmers and working with others to form a national coalition for immigrant and other under-served producers.

Institute for Rural Innovation and Stewardship (IRIS) (
Since its founding in 2002, IRIS has brought together a broad coalition of individuals, organizations and agencies concerned with charting new directions for the future for agriculture in Central Washington. Their focus is on returning profit and sustainability to family farms and rural businesses through educational programs on ecologically sound management practices, natural resource and energy conservation, new marketing strategies, value-added products, and implementation of appropriate technologies. In October, 2003, IRIS hosted the first Washington Family Farm Summit which brought together national leaders in the sustainable agriculture movement with local farmers and ranchers seeking to create new opportunities for agriculture in our region.

Kitsap Food & Farm Alliance (
The Alliance seeks to increase consumer demand for fresh, local farm products through their "Select Kitsap" marketing program. In association with West Sound Farms they provide information on a wide array of resources in the community.

Rural Roots (
Rural Roots is a regional, sustainable food and farming organization working in the 7 eastern counties of Washington and 10 northern counties of Idaho. Their goal is to encourage sustainable agriculture in the Inland Northwest through an emphasis on education and marketing. Their website provides detailed information on Rural Roots' numerous programs. Included are Cultivating Success, which provides on-farm educational opportunities through WSU and the University of Idaho.

Washington Tilth Association (
Initially formed to host the Northwest Conference on Alternative Agriculture in November, 1974, Tilth has grown into a regional network of farmers and gardeners devoted to sustainable agriculture and urban ecology. Tilth's sister organization, Oregon Tilth, maintains an internationally recognized organic certification program. Below is contact information for Tilth chapters in Washington.

Seattle Tilth (
The Seattle Tilth garden, located at the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood, is an organic oasis in the heart of the city. Nationally known for starting the Master Composter program, Seattle Tilth helps educate urban gardeners both young and old. The Tilth Demonstration Gardens provide year-round models for intensive vegetable and fruit production. The Children's Garden introduces hundreds of youngsters each year to the wonder of plants and the natural world. And each September the Tilth Organic Harvest Fair reunites country and city cousins in an annual celebration of Washington agriculture.

Sno-Valley Tilth (
Tilth's newest chapter, Sno-Valley Tilth promotes organic and sustainable food production in the Snoqualmie and Snohomish watersheds. As a support network for local farmers, they serve as a forum for bringing together people devoted to biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture. In addition, they seek to educate the general public about the value and importance of sustaining our region's farming heritage.

South Whidbey Tilth  (
Founded in 1982, South Whidbey Tilth sponsors garden tours and classes, and hosts a booth at the Island County Fair to educate the public about the importance of agriculture in their community. In the year 2000, they initiated the purchase of an 11-acre site for the Tilth Farmers' Market, Sustainable Agriculture Center, and community garden.

Tilth Producers (
Representing organic farmers across the state, Tilth Producers hosts an annual conference, and publishes the Washington organic farm directory, which is available both in print an online. The Tilth Placement Service includes listings of more than 50 local organic farms offering apprenticeship opportunities.

Vashon Island Growers Association (VIGA) (
The Vashon-Maury Island chapter of Washington Tilth, VIGA is devoted to promoting and advancing agriculture on the islands. VIGA sponsors an annual Harvest Festival and Get Growing, a series of workshops on sustainable agricultural practices, local food system development, and Vashon's agricultural history. In the spring of 1999 they organized an island-wide fundraising campaign that raised $250,000 to purchase the Village Green in the heart of Vashon to preserve it as a community park and as a site for the VIGA farmers market.

Whatcom Farm Friends (
Whatcom is one of top 100 agricultural counties in the United States, but it has lost more than 11% of its farmland in the past five years. Whatcom Farm Friends' goal is to preserve agriculture in the county by building public awareness about the positive contribution that farming has on our economy, environment and culture.

WSU Small Farms Team (
The WSU Small Farms Team is at the forefront of the sustainable agriculture movement in Western Washington. Composed of more than two dozen Extension faculty and small farm advocates, the team provides sound, research-based information and educational programs for farmers, consumers and decision-makers. Their website includes a wealth of information on all aspects of crop production and marketing.

Additional Sustainability Resources
For additional sustainability resources, see the Resources listing on the 21 Acres website.