Dear Tilth Community,
I imagine you must be as astounded as I am at how quickly life can change in the course of just a few days. There is no doubt we are experiencing a historic event that is having a profound impact on our daily lives and our sense of well-being and security. While for many of us it feels as if the fabric of our communities could begin to unravel under the stress, I have seen people and organizations coming together to hold tight to the threads that keep us whole. I am profoundly grateful for all that people are doing to ensure we continue to work for and with each other in community through this surreal and difficult time.
Like many others, Tilth Alliance is working hard to make the adjustments necessary to keep people safe while continuing to serve our community. I wanted to share with you some of the adjustments we have been making, and some of our thoughts about the future — keep scrolling to read those.
Thank you for continuing to support Tilth Alliance, and the entire non-profit community, as we all work together to keep our community whole, healthy and safe. We look forward to being “in-person” with you all again soon.
Farm, Learning Gardens and Volunteer Opportunities
In light of Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, all volunteer work parties will be on hold for the next two weeks.
The Garden Hotline remains open for business and ready to take all your gardening questions, Mon.-Sat.; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Keep an eye out for their newsletter with gardening tips, and check them out on Facebook.
Our Master Composter/Sustainability Steward volunteers are leaping into action to help out by getting our gardens planted, creating educational articles and other resources, and more. If your group could use their help, let us know!
Classes & Summer Camps
To protect the health and safety of you and our staff, all in person adult classes scheduled through the end of April have been either cancelled, postponed, rescheduled or moved online. Class instructors will be in touch regarding changes and cancellations. Full refunds will be made available for cancelled classes. We will be offering online classes in April and May so that we can continue to offer educational opportunities until we can all be together in person again.
We are continuing to plan to hold summer camps as normal, starting in late June. Registration is open on our website — get the kids in the garden! We look forward to having the opportunity to get them outdoors and engaged in growing, harvesting and eating fresh, healthy food. In the event that summer camps cannot be held, we will offer refunds or opportunities to transfer ticket to camps held during the school year.
Edible Plant Sale
We have been planning and looking forward to our annual Edible Plant Sale, which is scheduled to happen over the first weekend in May, for several months now. It is our largest annual fundraiser! Now we have the interesting challenge of converting the event to an “online sales and customer pick-up” event. We will miss celebrating spring with the community in-person, but we are determined to meet our commitment to the local farmers who supply the plants and to the dedicated gardeners who rely on this plant sale as their primary source of quality seedlings. Learn more about the online Edible Plant Sale.
Good Food Bags
We have made it a priority to deliver as many Good Food Bags as possible to people in need throughout this crisis. Although many of the sites that received weekly delivery of free or subsidized produce through the program have had to close, we continue to find new avenues for getting bags of fresh local produce to the community. Thanks to additional funding from King County’s Best Start for Kids we are able to increase the amount of produce we can distribute through that program. At the same time the Good Food Bags program puts fresh produce on the plates of low-income families, it also supports local farmers whose sales are likely to be adversely impacted by restaurant closures and the delay in the opening of farmers markets. We are grateful to be able to continue this program in force despite the current challenges we are all facing. Please note that until further notice we have suspended all volunteer food packing shifts for safety reasons.
We continue to plan for the opening of our farm-stand at Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands and a new community supported agriculture program. Stay tuned for details as they become available!
Farm Program Events
In light of national and local recommendations to cancel public gatherings, both Meet Your Farmer CSA Fairs planned for Whatcom and Skagit counties have been cancelled. Instead, a live-streamed online event will be held, followed by a series of “Meet Your Farmer” videos shared online so consumers still have a chance to find out how they can support local farmers.
The Farm Guide received a record number of listings this year and is on track for production this spring. We will let you know where you can find one once it is available! Farmers, please update your listings with information about any delivery services you plan to offer in place of attending farmers markets.