Following our elections at the close of last year, we are pleased to announce our Board of Directors for 2019!
Board members serve on behalf of all stakeholders to ensure that our organization is financially sound and capable of carrying out our mission to build an ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable food system. The board represents Tilth Alliance in the community, advocates for its programs and serves as its legal authority.
Starting this month, the following individuals comprise our board, including new officers, for 2019.
Nancy Tosta (President)
Nancy has served on the Board of Directors of Tilth Alliance for the last two years. She is a resident of Burien and currently also serves on the Puget Sound Regional Food Policy Council, on the King Conservation District Board of Supervisors (Associate Supervisor), on the KCD Regional Food System Review Team, and Burien’s Environmental Science Center Advisory Committee. She works with her local school district on science education, including school gardens. She has BS and MS degrees in soils and plant nutrition. She pioneered the use of remote sensing and GIS for resource management starting in the 1970s and spent more than 25 years promoting use of GIS and geospatial data sharing. She’s held senior level positions in state, federal, and regional government and is currently serving her second term as a Burien City Councilmember. For the last 20 years, she oversaw a consulting business, working with public agencies and foundations on environment, health, economic, climate change, and food system issues. She is passionate about cooking, gardening, traveling, photography, and being a grandmother.
Jim Baird (Vice President)
Jim was born and raised in Central Washington. His is the descendant of four generations of farming families involved in growing crops, managing land, and irrigation projects since the 1870s. He has farmed a variety of crops including apples, potatoes, onions, wheat, alfalfa, and mixed vegetables on 1,500 acres for over 40 years. Jim has toured agriculture regions and consulted in food production in 20 countries around the world and been involved with agriculture commodity groups including Growers Clearing House, Wa. State Apple Comm., Wa State Hay Assoc., He currently sits on the WSU’s CSANR advisory board for Ag research, is a graduate of WA State Ag Forestry program, and over the last 9 years has created two educational farms (Cloudview Royal and Cloudview Ephrata) for experiential farm learning and school tours.
Ben Page (Treasurer)
Ben Page is Director of Finance for Axio Research. Prior to Axio, he was Senior Director of UWEO Finance and Planning at the University of Washington beginning in 2012 and led finance teams at early stage technology and services companies beginning in 2002. Ben oversees accounting, financial planning & analysis, and financial systems & compliance at Axio. His other past professional experience includes positions with publicly-held companies Adobe and Epiphany as well as with privately-held companies in enterprise software/SaaS and telecom technology industries. He began his accounting career at Ernst & Young. He holds a BBA in Accounting from Gonzaga University and a JD from Seattle University and is a member of the Washington Society of CPAs and the Washington State Bar Association. Ben is a native of Washington State and an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking and skiing as well as politics and classical music. He has served on the Board of Directors and as past-President, Treasurer, and Finance Chair of the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank. Ben’s family has a farm in the Wallla Walla Valley growing wheat, alfalfa and grass hay.
Liza Turley lives in Fall City, is a dedicated year-round farmers market shopper and avid cook. Liza joined the Seattle Tilth Board of Directors in April 2007, while she was a student in the Foster MBA program, and has served as board president for six years. When not at the Farmer’s Market or hiking with her husband and band of dogs, she is a senior business analyst for Puget Sound Energy. Liza also has a dozen years of experience working in catering and special events in Seattle and Boston, MA. In the coming years, Liza looks forward to engaging more community members and partners in the organization’s mission to drive measurable improvements in our WA food system that increase access to healthy, fresh and locally grown food for everyone and contribute to a resilient and healthy environment.
Elaine is a community volunteer with more than 30 years of experience in international education, in settings that have included universities, museums, nonprofit organizations, and the travel industry. Closer to home, she grows vegetables in her spare time, and was an early graduate of Seattle Tilth’s Master Composter program in 1989 (her most valuable Master’s degree).
Tim Gruner has over 20 years in various aspects of finance and accounting. He earned an MBA at the Haas School at UC Berkeley, is a CFA Charterholder and passed the CPA exams in Washington State. Tim began his career with General Electric in their Financial Management Program before working in Mergers & Acquisitions for Sumitomo Corporation and Deloitte & Touche. Subsequently, he spent a decade serving as the lead finance person (VP Finance/CFO) for companies with revenue between $10 Million and $80 Million and between 20 and 150 employees in the retail, distribution and transportation/logistics, and recycling industries. Tim is currently a consultant to large public technology companies in various accounting, FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis), product launch, and (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation projects. Tim lives in Woodinville where he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and son, and tending to his wonderfully productive garden.
Mike Lufkin is the Local Food Economy Manager for King County, and is responsible for overseeing the implementation of King County Executive Constantine’s Local Food Initiative, which seeks to strengthen the local food economy and increase access to healthy, affordable food. Towards that end, Mike works with food and farm stakeholders across the county to develop and implement projects and actions that help achieve the goals of the Initiative. Mike is an attorney by training with more than 15 years of experience helping public and private sector organizations solve complex land and natural resource challenges, and has a long track record of developing and managing complex projects to successful completion.
Anne Schwartz graduated with a degree in Animal Science from Washington State University (WSU) in 1978 and has been farming in the Skagit Valley in WA since. Blue Heron Farm produces certified organic vegetables and berries marketed regionally. Anne has been active with organic certification issues at the state and national levels, especially with livestock issues. Anne was an active advocate in the creation of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR), WSU. She served on the Board of Tilth Producers of WA for 35 years. She continues to serve on other non-profit boards and advisory councils to promote organic and sustainable agriculture research, and regional food systems. Her latest focus, inspired 40 years ago by the failures of cost/benefit accounting taught in Ag Econ classes to adequately value “externalities,” is to create an initiative to integrate True Cost Accounting into the research and teaching structure of the College of Agriculture at WSU. In her spare time, she trains her Border Collies to work livestock.
Food writer and culinary consultant Cynthia Nims is a lifelong Northwesterner whose latest cookbooks, Crab and Oysters, were released in 2016. She has authored, edited or otherwise contributed to many other cookbooks, and served as food editor of Seattle magazine as well as editor of Simply Seafood magazine. She is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Les Dames d’Escoffier Seattle, having served as president of the board for both those organizations. Cynthia holds the Grand Diplôme d’Etudes Culinaires from La Varenne cooking school in France, where she worked on numerous book projects with owner Anne Willan. She lives in West Seattle with her husband. Her blog, Mon Appétit, can be found at http://www.monappetit.com.
Miles Ventura McEvoy
Miles is a lover of the natural world with a passionate commitment to the people who live close to the earth – the farmers, fishers and harvesters that provide sustenance and life for us all. His work has been in protecting the integrity of organic agriculture from farm to market. He has inspected hundreds of organic farms and processors, audited certifying agents around the world and enforced compliance with organic standards. Miles led the WSDA Organic Certification Program for 20 years during which time he worked closely with Tilth Producers. From 2009-2017, Miles led USDA’s National Organic Program. Currently, Miles is training organic inspectors and working with certifiers on ensuring compliance with organic standards, especially with long supply chains. Miles also currently serves on the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources Advisory Board and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements Standards Committee.
Lee Ann Johnson
Lee Ann’s professional experience spans strategic brand consulting and business management. She’s led branding and naming initiatives for Fortune 500s such as Amazon, Boeing, and Johnson & Johnson, as well as for nonprofits like Forterra and multiple units at the University of Washington. Recently she worked with Tilth to unify its newly merged organization under the Alliance name with a new tagline. Lee Ann has run consumer businesses with responsibility for revenue generation, product development, and P&L management—started the US office for a UK-based volunteer travel company, led efforts for national toy and food product lines, and business strategy for a laptop computer company. She lives in Phinney Ridge where she is currently on the Advisory Council for Phinney Neighborhood Association/PNA Village and a regular (dirty) hands-on volunteer for seniors who need help keeping their gardens thriving.