Vital Nature: Seattle Tilth

The word “tilth” has dug its roots into traditional agriculture. It is used to describe the condition of tilled soil in respect to propriety for sowing seeds. It is a measurement of the health of soil. Soil in good tilth is loamy, friable and earth-nutrient-rich. Where ample tillage is found, affluent culture often follows. Cultural farming is a vital aspect of human society; it is seen in organic small farming systems as well as industrial agriculture. The differences between the two are weighed on a scale of durability, something that is often misinterpreted as convenience. This misconception: extensive and nuclear productivity being seen as superior to quality, nutritionally bountiful produce is being exhibited to an unhealthy degree through many U.S. citizens. Fortunately, there are people who strive to make our world as sustainable and culturally organic as possible. Here in our regional neighborhood we can feel the effects of the Seattle Tilth organization. This group of organic farmers and gardeners was established as the Tilth Association on July 1, 1974, and since then has sprouted into a public educational network that teaches to “safeguard our earth’s resources while building an equitable and sustainable local food system,” according to their website. The Seattle Tilth staff and volunteers work to sow communities and nourish the bonds and traditions held within them.

The Seattle Tilth members work towards teaching the value of food to consumers. Since the foundation of their farmer-alliance, the people of the Tilth have known that food is cultural and the methods and care that catalyze the production of good food should be held close to the heart and preserved for generations to come. Contrary to their beliefs are those of industrial plantations owners, which were the spark to the flame of the first Tilth farmers. The Seattle Tilth is systematically against corporate agriculture, considering its drive to produce comes from its ability to profit. The Tilth sees its profit through the community, not through money and not through excess. And the profit that it does see is an exponentially giving one, for the Tilth inculcates to learn and teach through wholesome production and allocated consumption.

With thanks given to generous donations by locals, the support of staff, volunteers, allies and other sponsors of the Tilth, we can see rippling effects throughout our region of Washington State. With donations coming from corporations like Wal-Mart and Microsoft, and organizations like PCC and the Cascade Harvest Coalition, the mission of the Tilth to cultivate a healthy and blithe environment and community becomes closer to reality. They want to unite organic gardeners, rural homesteaders, environmentalists and both informed and ignorant consumers so that they might form a new agrarian coalition.

A prevalent amount of time and funding goes into the upkeep of Seattle Tilth gardens, which serve as outdoor classrooms to their devout students and volunteers. Anyone can find Tilth garden and farms scattered across our region of Washington State, and are welcome to email this address: with any general questions regarding upcoming events or how to volunteer or donate. The main office is located in Seattle, but there are many other Tilth locations welcome to visitors. There are gardens in Seattle’s Mt. Baker neighborhood, Wallingford and Rainier Beach. The Pickering Barn is located in Issaquah, urban farms and wetlands in Rainier Valley (their newest farm), and a youth farm is located at the University of Washington Botanical Gardens. Offered through a broad range of seasonal events and classes, volunteers are invited to join the Seattle Tilth at their various locations on certain occasions.

The Seattle Tilth is working to promote a better future with great opportunities and sustainable economics. Not only do they want to ease our future and prosperity, but they want to educate our present-day consumer society. The Tilth promotes communication and a healthy, reasonable system of food-sharing between localized communities, which would in absolute effect outweigh the influence of corporate powerhouses and give power to the people to provide for themselves.