Anne Schwartz Papers, 1983-1999


Anne Schwartz was born in 1954. Arriving in the Skagit Valley of Washington from out east in 1975, Schwartz enrolled as a pre-veterinary medicine student at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, from which she graduated in 1979. Her work on a dairy farm in Sedro-Woolley and her interest in agricultural systems, soil erosion, and involvement with food co-ops led her to pursue organic farming. In 1979 she established Blue Heron Farm, an organic farm she operated with her husband, Michael Brondi. At the same time, she began working for Cascadian Farm in Rockport as General Farm Manager.

Schwartz became involved with various sustainable agriculture organizations in the Pacific Northwest and served as board member (1979-present), executive committee member (treasurer, 1980s; secretary, 1980s-1990s), president (14 years), and vice president (current) of Tilth Producers Cooperative (now known as Tilth Producers of Washington). She started the Upper Skagit Farmers’ Market, and served as president of the market association in 1985 and 1986. During the 1980s and 1990s she was involved with the Western Alliance of Organic Certifiers (WAOC) and the Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (WSAWG). Schwartz was also involved with the Organic Farmers’ Associations Council (OFAC), a non-profit educational consortium of organic agriculture groups across the country. Originally formed at the end of 1989 as part of the Organic Foods Production Association of North America (OFPANA), OFAC became an autonomous organization early in 1991 and served both as a growers’ communication network and as a national constituency group.

Schwartz served on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (1989-1990) for the state Department of Ecology on Agricultural Pesticides and Nutrient Strategy. She also served on the Organic Advisory Board for the Washington State Department of Agriculture and was active in writing and lobbying for passage of the Organic Food Labeling Act. She served on the boards of the Washington Toxics Coalition (1988-1993), the Permaculture Institute of North America (1984-1986), and the steering committee of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coordinating Council (1990s). She was also active in both the Governmental Affairs/Legislative Council (1991-1996) and the Livestock Committee (1995-1996) of the Organic Foods Production Association of North America (OFPANA, later renamed the Organic Trade Association (OTA)). As co-chair and then chair of the Livestock Committee, she testified at NOSB meetings on behalf of livestock growers.

In addition, Schwartz became a volunteer firefighter (1982-present), and she and her husband trained as emergency medical technicians (1984-present), an essential occupation in rural Washington. Schwartz grows berries, vegetables, and many varieties of hardy bamboo at Blue Heron Farm, which also offers community supported agriculture (CSA) shares.

Schwartz is currently involved with the Organic Agriculture Systems program at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, which in 2008 became the first university in the United States to offer a major and a certificate in organic farming. She serves on the advisory board for the Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources at WSU (1989-present), and was involved with establishing a demonstration farm on campus. Her other work at WSU includes serving on the Kitchen Cabinet to the Dean of the College of Agriculture (2005-present), the organizing board for the Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach (2010-2011), and the National Board of Advisors to the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources (CAHNRS, 2012-present). She serves as co-Vice President of Tilth Producers of Washington, which works closely with the Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network (WSFFN) and other nonprofit organizations. In January 2014, she was presented with the 2014 Steward of Sustainable Agriculture award by the Ecological Farming Association in recognition of her longstanding work on behalf of organic and sustainable agriculture.