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Asking $2.6 mil in new funding for WSU's BioAg program

This letter was sent to these Washington state legislators:

Rep. Frank Chopp
Rep. Bill Fromhold
Rep. Helen Sommers
Senator Mark Doumit
Senator Margarita Prentice

April 19, 2005

Washington State Legislature
Olympia, Washington 98504-0600

Dear Representatives and Senators (see above),

We are contacting you to ask that you support the House budget proviso that will be offered in the joint House/Senate conference process for $2.6 million in new funding for the Biologically Intensive and Organic (BIOAg) program at Washington State University. This innovative program will help growers across the state reduce input costs, protect the environment, access higher value markets and meet the public demand for organic and sustainably-produced foods.

PCC Natural Markets is the largest natural foods cooperative in the United States with nearly 40,000 active households. We have seven stores, serving Seattle, Kirkland and Issaquah and the surrounding area. In 2004 PCC's sales were $89 million. Our annual fresh produce sales total more than $16 million in produce sales annually. Our customer base, including our members and non-member shoppers, consistently demonstrate a strong preference for Washington state, local and regional products produced by family farms and farms using sustainable and organic methods. We believe this supports this state's farmers and ranchers and best meets the demands of our consumer base.

We also urge your support of the House budget provisions of $250,000 for the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and $682,000 for the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. These programs are critical to farmers across our state and help ensure that seniors and lower-income families have access to fresh and nutritious foods.

Thank you for your good service to this state and to all our citizens.

Tracy Wolpert
Chief Executive Officer

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