WSDA's Small Farm and Direct Marketing program

SENT VIA FAX

June 12, 2003

Valoria Loveland, Director
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Olympia, Washington

Dear Director Loveland:

We are writing to express our strong support for WSDA's Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program. We know that the Department is facing cuts due to the budget recently passed by the state legislature, and that you have some hard decisions to make. However, we urge you maintain the Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program at its current level. This program is very important to growers and communities across the state of Washington.

The Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network (WSFFN) and many other organizations and individuals worked several years ago for the establishment of the Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program. This was in direct response to requests by growers for more assistance for small farms as well as marketing options that would help them to retain a larger percentage of the retail food dollar. The Network also worked to secure a portion of federal specialty crop funds for direct marketing, which were subsequently allocated through the Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program.

Two years ago, the state legislature voted overwhelmingly to establish the Program within WSDA and allocated general funds for it. (In fact, three different bills were sponsored in the House to create the Program, demonstrating the strong support within the legislature.)

The Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program has shown itself to be an excellent investment of public funds. Many growers and communities from across the state have benefited from this program, including Whatcom, King, Spokane, Snohomish, San Juan, Skagit, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Ferry and Okanogan counties. The Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program has helped these communities to increase their food security as well as public awareness of the importance of supporting local agriculture. Over $3 million has been leveraged in state, federal and local monies for small farm and direct marketing projects throughout Washington State — from a relatively small state investment of $150,000 for the Program for the biennium.

The Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program, along with the Heart of Washington Program, plays a key role in increasing the food security of our state by helping people to understand why it's important to buy Washington agricultural products. The Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program, in particular, is also helping farmers to bring home a greater share of the food dollar. As such, it's an excellent investment for the state. In these difficult times for agriculture, and uncertainty regarding our country's food security, it is wise to invest in successful programs that help growers to increase their profitability and create a more secure food system in our state. We urge you to maintain the Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program at its current level.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Rice, Director
Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network

Jeff Herman, President
Washington Tilth Producers

Grant Davidson, President
Washington State Farmers Market Association

Lora Lea Misterly
Northeast Washington Small Farm Association

Charlis Dunham, President
South Whidbey Tilth Association

Frank Parente
South Whidbey Tilth Farmers' Market
Co-owner, Gourmet Organics

Chris Greenlee, President
Washington Tilth Association

Chris Curtis, Director
Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance

Fran Taber, Board Member
Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market

Rusty Robertson, President
Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

Sandy Wood, Executive Director
Terry Marshall, Coordinator, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) Program
Lopez Community Land Trust, Lopez Island, San Juan County

Bruce Dunlop
Island Grown Farmers Cooperative, San Juan County

Jasper Koster, President
Vashon Island Growers Association, a Chapter of Washington Tilth
Owner, GreenMan Farm, Vashon

Terry Swagerty, President
Community Agricultural Development Center, Colville

Marlene Allen, Market Master
Scott Rice, Farm Program Manager
Pike Place Market Public Development Authority (PDA)

Steve Crider, Director of Special Projects
CF Fresh, Sedro-Woolley

Roger Wechsler, Owner
Rootabaga Country Farm/Samish Bay Cheese, Bow

Steve Hallstrom, Owner/Operator
Tolt Gardens Organic Farm, Oakville

Pat Labine
Oyster Bay Farm, Olympia

Bart Alexander
China Bend Vineyards & Winery

Victory Alexander
Victory's Organic Gardens

Margaret Hoeffel
Blue Moon Farm, Vashon

Merrilee Runyan
Big Dog Lavender Farm, Vashon

Kara Evans and Carl Elliott, Owners
Northwest Perennials

Susan Stubblefield
Small Potatoes Gleaning Project, Bellingham

Andrew Stout
Full Circle Farm, Carnation

Rick and Lora Lea Misterly
Quillisascut Farm/School of the Domestic Arts, Rice

Nancy VanDeHey
Owner, Harmony Farms
Administrator, Whatcom Fresh Program, Whatcom County

Carey Hunter and Albert Roberts, Co-owners
Pine Stump Farms, Omak

Nan Laney and Ned Currence
Utopia Farm, Sedro-Woolley

Steve Smoot, grower
Spokane

Bob Gregson, retired farmer
Member, WSFFN Leadership Team
Vashon

Tracy Wolpert, Chief Executive Officer
PCC Natural Markets (a consumer-owned retail grocery with 41,000 active members)

Reverend Paul Benz, Director
Lutheran Public Police Office of Washington

Mary Embleton, Executive Director
Cascade Harvest Coalition

Shelley Curtis, Chair
Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition

Tim Trohimovich, Planning Director
1000 Friends of Washington

Angela Hill, NW Field Organizer
Organic Consumers Association

Reverend Jim Mulligan, Executive Director
Earth Ministry

Matthew Dillon, Executive Director
Dr. John Navazio, Director of Grower Development
Abundant Life Seed Foundation, Port Townsend

Heather Rhoads-Weaver, Executive Director
Northwest S.E.E.D. — Sustainable Energy for Economic Development

Kim Leval, Executive Director
Consortium for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

Derek M. Long, National Coordinator
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

Bill Aal, Co-director
Tools for Change Institute, Seattle

Nana Simone, Wenatchee

Gale Sterrett, Sedro-Woolley

Melissa Young, Seattle

Chris Soderstrom, Olympia

JHBrowne, Jr.,Vashon

Steve Evans, Advisory Board Member
WSDA Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program

Alan Shank, Farm Planner
Mukilteo, Snohomish County

Bob Gillespie PhD
Science Faculty, Wenatchee Valley College
Omak

Jessica Breznau, Sister Communities

Barry Lia, Seattle

Susan Casey, Seattle

John Fawcett-Long, Seattle

cc Governor Gary Locke
    Janet Leister, WSDA
    Leslie Zenz, WSDA

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