Meet Your Farmers

Support your Tilth Alliance farmers and get their delicious, local, organic food by joining the Tilth Alliance CSA!

Lisa Bernenschot
Country/State/Region of Birth: Wisconsin, USA
Background: Having found home gardening and working on a family farm fun and rewarding, joining Tilth Alliance Farm Works was a natural step in learning to build a small farm business for Lisa. She’s excited to be work actively outdoors with a diverse community to learn and practice useful farming skills and contribute to a local, sustainable food supply. Lisa is grateful for the guidance that Tilth Alliance Farm Works can provide and looks forward to seeing, tasting and sharing the fruit of her labor.
monica Monica Burnison
Country/State/Region of Birth: Montana, USA
Background: Monica started Nook & Cranny Farm at Tilth Alliance Farm Works with her sister in 2014, specializing in growing mushrooms. Now they’re interested in diversifying their farm, learning new skills and making connections with other new organic farmers. Monica is excited about getting her family and friends involved in food production and connecting them with where their food comes from, as well as being part of a growing community of queer farmers!
Sheila Calhoun
Country/State/Region of Birth: South Carolina, USA
Background: Sheila is most excited about connecting with other people through Tilth Alliance Farm Works who share her passion for growing organic vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Lily Gottlieb-McHale
Country/State/Region of Birth: Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel but grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia
Background: After volunteering on farms in Montana and California, Lily decided there’s no time like the present to realizer her dreams of farming and homesteading. Upon relocating to Seattle, she found Tilth Alliance Farm Works and is most excited for the community that Tilth Alliance Farm Works provides and being able to learn side-by-side with other farmers from diverse backgrounds. Lily hopes Tilth Alliance Farm Works will help her gain the farming, marketing and business-planning skills to start her own farm project.
Abukar Haji
Country/State/Region of Birth: Somalia
Background: Abukar grew up farming in Jilbi, Somalia, where he cultivated bananas, mangoes, corn, beans and tomatoes. His fresh produce was in high demand in the capital, Mogadishu, and other big cities. Fleeing the war in Somalia, he moved his family to Washington as refugees. He joined Tilth Alliance Farm Works the year it broke ground in 2011. Abukar says that farming with Tilth Alliance Farm Works is the only thing that reminds him of being back home. He enjoys farming in a diverse community and has taken on leadership roles on the farm, mentoring new farmers and assisting more experienced ones.
Kevin Helfrick
Country/State/Region of Birth: Florida, USA
Background: Kevin started gardening about six years ago with three pots of herbs and a Fuchsia plant from Home Depot. Tilth Alliance Farm Works offered him and his family a chance to turn a hobby into a livelihood. He’s anxious and excited to get his hands in the dirt and start producing food he loves for the people in his community.
Matthew Higgins
Country/State/Region of Birth: Washington, USA
Background: After graduating from Evergreen State College and establishing a community garden, Matthew joined Tilth Alliance Farm Works and brought unique experiences with him: working with Venezuelan socialists, developmentally disabled rural teens, Hawaiian-Korean organic farmers and suburban gardeners growing food for their communities. At Tilth Alliance Farm Works, he’s most excited about getting to know the soil and learning how to build healthy soil to grow food successfully.
Lucas Howe
Country/State/Region of Birth: Montana, USA
Background: Lucas first became interested in Tilth Alliance Farm Works during a tour of the farm. The opportunity to have access to the infrastructure to start his own farm excited him enough to apply and join! Lucas started farming while in the Practicing Sustainable Agriculture program at the Evergreen State College. Through that program, he became involved in work on the Evergreen Organic Farm, which helped grow his love for farming.
Mohammed “Mato” Juma
Country/State/Region of Birth: Jamama, Somalia
Background: Mohammed was introduced to Tilth Alliance Farm Works while part of a Somali-Bantu community garden that was approached by BURST for Prosperity to participate in a farm training program. Mato enjoys working on the farm and believes the work helps keep him fit and healthy. It also reminds him of farming in Somalia, and his life there, when he was younger. Mato appreciates that Tilth Alliance Farm Works helps him market and sell his produce. Mato hopes to continue growing his farm and increasing acreage.
Francis Kamau
Country/State/Region of Birth: Kenya
Background: Francis heard about Tilth Alliance Farm Works from a friend and was interested in the opportunity to learn from the program. He’s excited about learning new techniques for growing crops like drip irrigation. He likes that he is able to work with Tilth Alliance Farm Works’ experienced staff who will help guide him in applying these new practices. In five years, Francis hopes to be fully equipped with all of the modern organic farming skills so that he can own and operate  a farm with his wife, Elizabeth.
Margaret-Kanuki Margaret Kariuki
Country/State/Region of Birth: Kenya
James Kimaru
Country/State/Region of Birth: Kenya
Background: James is excited to be part of Tilth Alliance Farm Works, where he hopes to learn organic farming techniques so he can create a farm business that will enable him to be financially secure.
Traci Knight
Country/State/Region of Birth: Kentucky, USA
Background: After a long, successful career as an artisan pastry chef and bread baker, Traci decided to pursue her passion for sustainable, organic agriculture. She believes that integrative farming practices help meet the challenges of the 21st century head on, and provide a framework for food security that is going to become a central theme in the coming decades. Tilth Alliance Farm Works helps individuals like Traci gain the skills and knowledge necessary to accomplish their goals.
John Knox
Country/State/Region of Birth: Wisconsin, USA
Background: John is looking forward to being part of a community of farmers at Tilth Alliance Farm Works and believes farming is a great way to integrate more vitamins into the world. He’s also excited to experience the life-affirming practice of growing food. Despite being allergic to grass pollen, he still prefers the heavy outdoor allergies to working in an office! John is also Seattle Outpost Coordinator for Growing Veterans, an organization empowering veterans to grow food, communities and each other.
Bashir Mir
Country/State/Region of Birth: India
Background: Over the years, Bashir come to realize that organic agriculture is good for health, good for the environment and good for sustainability. At Tilth Alliance Farm Works, he hopes to learn more organic agriculture practices and set up a 21st century farm business.
Elizabeth Ndishu
Country/State/Region of Birth: Kenya
Background: Elizabeth grew up helping her mother work on a farm but it had been ten years since she last worked the farm before joining Tilth Alliance Farm Works. Wanting to use more organic produce at home, she had been looking for an area to grow food other than her backyard when a friend introduced her to Tilth Alliance Farm Works. She’s looking forward to learning more about regional crops and organic farming practices. She hopes to use the skills she learns at Tilth Alliance Farm Works to own and operate a farm with her husband, Francis, in the future.
Lucy Nduati
Country/State/Region of Birth: Kenya
Background: Having grown up on her father’s farm in Kenya, Lucy has been interested in farming for a long time and is excited to have the opportunity to learn more with Tilth Alliance Farm Works. As a Tilth Alliance Farm Works farmer, she hopes to learn more about farming, eating organic produce and saving money by growing her own produce. She’s excited to be able to feed her community – the best part, in her opinion. Lucy was introduced to Tilth Alliance Farm Works by a friend who has farmed with us before!
Margaret Njubi
Country/State/Region of Birth: Kenya
Background: Margaret was interested in farming as another source of income for her family. While with Tilth Alliance Farm Works, Margaret hopes to learn more about composting, hoop houses and making garden beds. Her goals for the next five years include expanding to five acres, learning how to grow new crops and learning how to incorporate livestock into her farming.
Katie Park
Country/State/Region of Birth: Seoul, Korea
Background: Katie wanted to find the right farm to buy organic vegetables from, but it had trouble finding a farm that grows the vegetables she was looking for. With the idea that she could sell organic vegetables, she began looking for a farm who would work with her. A friend introduced her to Tilth Alliance Farm Works, where she would be able to both grow and sell her own food. She never thought she could be a farmer before, but through Tilth Alliance Farm Works she hopes to do just that!
Steve Plutz
Country/State/Region of Birth: New York, USA
Background: Eager to make a life change and having had great experiences with gardening and tending livestock, Steve started looking for a farm incubator program before moving to Seattle. Tilth Alliance Farm Works’ forward momentum impressed him enough to apply. Steve is looking forward to diving into market gardening and working with the rest of his cohort to make it all happen!
Thol Prom
Country/State/Region of Birth: Capot, Cambodia
Background: Growing from an interest in organic food, farming and homesteading, Thol began researching how to start a farm of his own. While taking classes through WSU Extension, Thol’s instructor recommended Tilth Alliance Farm Works as a way to get more hands-on training at a working farm. After learning more about the program, he decided it was the perfect fit for him. He’s excited to be part of the program and become an organic farmer!
Samantha Reidman
Country/State/Region of Birth: Washington, USA
Background: Having her hands in the dirt is the most powerful form of meditation for Samantha. She learned about Tilth Alliance Farm Works while volunteering at Solid Ground’s Marra Farm in South Park. She feels most at home being on the land and is excited to build more skills so that she can grow her own farm home. She’s looking forward to putting her skills to the test this growing season.
Chris Sechrist
Country/State/Region of Birth: Washington, USA
Background: The most exciting part about farming for Chris is sharing the food with others. It may not always be easy and it may not always be fun, but what makes it worth it for Chris is seeing someone smile when they get fresh produce. Plus, he enjoys being able to get to know the people buying his crops. Chris’ goal is to triple his farm’s acreage, allowing him to experiment with new crops. He’d also like to raise his own meat and egg products to meet market demand.
Amber Taulbee
Country/State/Region of Birth: Oregon, USA
Background: Amber and her family are looking to purchase farmland of their own to build a successful farm in the coming years. Tilth Alliance Farm Works is providing her with the opportunity to experiment and practice farming in a supportive environment, as well as grow her confidence, before taking that step. Amber has seen the importance of a sustainable farming experience first-hand in the support other farms provide to each other.
Wayne Thorp
Country/State/Region of Birth: Washington, USA
Background: Wayne first heard about Tilth Alliance Farm Works while taking a farming class at Washington State University and was excited to learn about the hands-on, one-on-one farm training offered by the program. He considers the farm a partnership in learning and growing and hopes to support the local economy by growing food.