Help buy the Magnolia Dairy!
by Barry Lia, Board President, Magnolia Dairy Acres
This article was originally published in August 2001
“People better wake up. City people have no idea what’s going on down on the farm,” said an Indiana farmer in a recent news story about the plight of rural America. Urban residents may be losing all awareness of the decline of the family farm, the loss not only of a way of making a living, but even of this way of living itself.
Sound Consumer readers are familiar with the PCC Farmland Fund’s efforts to preserve organic farmland forever in the Dungeness Delta. Closer to home, the King County Farmland Protection Program has saved 12,800 acres of farmland from loss to urban development.
Magnolia Dairy ACRES
The old Magnolia Dairy, just north of Lake Washington in the Westhill neighborhood between Bothell and Kenmore, is one of those properties under agricultural use easement to King County. Once a thriving dairy, this 80-acre farm is now an island in the suburbs, thanks to the generosity of the Gualtieri family, who sold their development rights to the County in 1986. The farm is located just across the road from Bothell High School.
Neighbors of the farm and farm activists are banding together as the nonprofit Magnolia Dairy ACRES (Agrarian Cultural Resource and Education Society) in an effort to make this uniquely situated property a community-based demonstration farm. In support of our cause, the King County Council has earmarked $500,000 as matching funds toward purchase of the farm, thanks to the leadership of Council members Maggi Fimia and Louise Miller. Now we have to raise the rest.
Our plans include providing an authentic working farm experience for school-age youth, vocational programs preparing future farmers for ecologically-sustainable biodynamic agriculture, and a cultural resource promoting heritage and agrarian values for community members of all ages. Magnolia Dairy would be ideal for a city-friendly, aesthetically-beautiful, grass-based dairy demonstration project. We envision seasonal festivals, barn dances, and heritage workshops. All this is possible, but our first ‘row to hoe’ is to buy the farm. Please pitch in.
How you can help
Magnolia Dairy ACRES has applied for tax-exempt status, thanks to a community grant from PCC covering the IRS fee. We are able to accept tax-deductible donations under the fiscal agency of the PCC Farmland Fund until our status is approved. Checks made out to “PCC Farmland Fund for Magnolia Dairy ACRES” will be deposited in a special account.
Besides welcome donations, we could use pro bono legal advice, a webmaster for our site at www.scn.org/acres, and most of all, fundraising expertise. Whatever your ability to contribute to the effort, please write us at P.O. Box 337, Bothell WA 98041 or email our board president at firstname.lastname@example.org
Farmers’ markets are appearing in more neighborhoods and people are developing direct economic relationships with farmers via Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA).
The next step is “Agriculture-Supported Community!” Farming can support our communities not only with healthy food and healthy land, but also by enriching our lives with innumerable lessons. Starting when they’re young, children need to see that their work can feed others. Young adults can learn valuable life skills even if they never become farming entrepreneurs. If urban folk learn to honor the farmers who grow their food for them, we’ll someday have a sustainable farm economy.
Help Magnolia Dairy ACRES promote for city folk a renewal of the sustaining cultural values of agrarian life!