Challenges to saving farmland, new program

by Kathryn Gardow, Executive Director
PCC Farmland Trust

This article was originally published in August 2008

The choices we’ve made as a society have impacted farming everywhere. In Sequim — the home of our Delta Farm — silos, a grain elevator, and farm buildings are surrounded and outnumbered by hotels, strip malls and real estate offices.

New housing developments on large, treeless lots across the valley encroach on what is — without exaggeration — some of the most precious farmland in the world.

This is what our society has allowed. Instead of valuing relationships between smaller, local organic farms and their communities, we pave over and build on viable farmland as though we have an endless supply. Development for profit has been accepted as the “highest and best use” of land, not farms.

Farmland isn’t impacted negatively only by politics and economics. It’s also affected continually by floods, drought, cold and — more recently — climate change. Now that we’re at the height of the harvest season, it’s easy to forget the human and natural impacts on our food production. Instead, we’re savoring delicious meals with the beans, peppers, corn and tomatoes of late summer.

As we enjoy the benefits of the growing season, know that as a donor to PCC Farmland Trust, you’re playing a key role in supporting local farmers through the economic, cultural and natural challenges that they face every day.

New program, new staff
We’re pleased to announce a new way to deepen your investment in the future of local organic food. Donors to the Farmland Sustaining Circle commit to annual contributions of $1,000 or more, enabling the trust to budget for operations, research and land procurement from a base of dependable income. Visit our Web site for details.

We’ve also made a wonderful and much-needed addition to staff: Melissa Campbell is our new stewardship and land associate. Summer intern Lizzy Sandstrom also will be at local farmers markets and fairs to talk about our work. When you’re out supporting the farmers, stop by and hear the latest news!

The Grange Café
Patronizing The Grange Café at 15611 Main Street in Duvall is another way to support several PCC Farmland Trust farmers. The Grange Café serves grass-finished beef from the Huesby family’s Thundering Hooves ranch, which operates in part on the trust’s Bennington Place farm in Walla Walla.

The Grange also sources local organic produce from Michaele Blakeley of Growing Things and Andrew Stout of Full Circle Farm, two growers on the trust’s Ames Creek Farm. Visit www.grangecafe.com or call 425-788-2095 for hours and to make reservations.

Also in this issue

Letters to the editor, August 2008

Supporting safer practices, High fructose corn syrup, Bikes for Education enroute to Togo, and more

Your co-op, August 2008

Board welcomes two new trustees, Board report for June 24, Nominating committee begins search for candidates, and more

Insights by Goldie: The (sugar) beet goes on: GM sugar coming to market

For the first time ever, GM sugar beets were planted this past spring in Washington, Oregon and the Midwest. Soon they’ll be harvested, processed and refined, and the sugar will reach out and grab you by this winter. All unlabeled, of course, masked like a criminal.