A new year and a renewed focus for the PCC Farmland Fund
Sound Consumer | January 2005
by Stephanie Taylor, Director, Farmland Fund
Looking ahead in the new year, there is great cause for concern about the future of our land, water and health. Research studies tell us what we already know: eating healthy food from healthy land and water means we, as consumers, increase our chances for good heath. With renewed vigor, the PCC Farmland Fund is moving forward to continue to save farmland and support local farmers and organic production.
Still, there are other factors involving family farms that raise concern: the average age of farmers in the United States is 55 years, leaving only 6 percent younger than 35. Inspiring a new generation to become farmers is important and will ensure the continuation of family farms. The single greatest factor in attracting new farmers is ensuring a fair price and fair, competitive markets for their products.
Corporate consolidation and unrestrained urban sprawl continue to pressure family farms and inhibit the ability to trace the origin of food. This past year, Washington state lost more than half its asparagus fields to international conglomerates. Between 1997 and 2002, Washington also lost 4,000 farms, although the number of acres dedicated to farming remained the same at 15.3 million acres.
Each of these components contributes to the loss of food security. Given that we have a unique opportunity to make a statement about the importance of saving farmland and supporting sustainability in agriculture, we encourage all donors to contribute as much as you can and suggest to others that they join our efforts.
Dungeness Organic Produce
by Nash Huber
January brings a little breathing room after December, traditionally one of the busiest months of the year. We take advantage of our moderate local climate during the harvest season to showcase a wide variety of vegetables. The harvest peaks the week before Thanksgiving, so the produce has time to reach the stores, and eventually your tables, before the holidays. Everyone at Nash's worked overtime during this period to bring in the huge amount of food shipped during this time. Many thanks are in order for everyone's hard work.
We also raised a few Bronze heritage turkeys this past year on the Delta Farm. They made the holiday supper an extra special treat! In addition, the chickens and pigs are doing well. They are heartily enjoying the excess pumpkins and squash we have this year.
The Sunfield Education Association urgently needs to raise an additional $35,000 (of the original $425,000 purchase agreement) right away to preserve a historic farm on the Olympic Peninsula. Once acquired from the present owners, Sunfield Farm will be a center for education in sustainable agriculture and land stewardship for regional children. The PCC Farmland Fund has helped Sunfield Farm and continues to support its efforts. If you wish to contribute, please send donations to Sunfield Farm, P.O. Box 85, Port Hadlock, WA 98339, or send them to the PCC Farmland Fund and we'll forward them on. Learn more at www.sunfieldfarm.org.
Bennington Place News
by Joel Huesby
There's a growing movement by a few forward-thinking grass farmers (farmers who use grass to raise livestock) to sell what they grow as retail products. There's also a growing demand by the public who wish to purchase their meat and poultry products directly from these farmers. Thundering Hooves is organizing state meetings that will address processing livestock under safe and sanitary conditions, in a manner that isn't environmentally harmful. This kind of processing is cost effective for both the farmer and the customer.
Although progress has been made, many of our laws and regulations don't address the realities of direct-market farms and are out of date. Since it's in everyone's best interest to preserve organic family farms, the time is at hand to create rules that allow these farms to prosper. In today's excessively large and concentrated food system, regulations are needed to safeguard the environment and society.
I propose two alternative models for the slaughtering and processing of livestock and poultry. The first is mobile USDA units that travel from farm to farm, and the second is pasture-mobile units that stay on the farm. The objective is to bring regulations under Washington state control and not under the control of the USDA. Stay tuned for more.
Full Sail Brewing supports the Farmland Fund
Full Sail recognizes the importance of sustaining farmland and is donating 25 cents per six-pack during the month of January to the PCC Farmland Fund.
Full Sail is an independent, employee-owned brewery located in the scenic Columbia River Gorge, in the agriculturally rich Hood River Valley. Full Sail Ales are traditionally brewed using four ingredients: malt, hops, water and yeast.
The hops and barley come primarily from Pacific Northwest farms; the yeast is propagated locally by Wy'East Labs, and the water comes from Mt. Hood. Full Sail maintains its own water treatment system. The spent brewing grains are collected and used for cattle feed by farmers in eastern Oregon. Their products are packaged in recycled paperboard.
The Brewery was a founding member of the Hood River Greensmart program and supports more than 300 events and charities annually. Full Sail brews award-winning Full Sail Amber, Pale, Rip Curl and four seasonal brews. Visit www.fullsailbrewing.com.
Start the new year out by doubling your contribution
Employee Matching Gift Program
There's a good chance that you can have your contribution matched by your employer. Many companies will even match gifts from retired employees and employees' spouses. It's easy.
- Ask your company's personnel or community relations department for a copy of their Matching Gift Form.
- Complete your portion of the form.
- Submit the completed form with your gift to the PCC Farmland Fund.
- We'll do the rest.
For more information, contact the Farmland Trust at 206-547-9855, or
Donor Roster (November 1-30, 2004)
Donald F. Mackenzie and Joyce M. Mackenzie
Businesses and Organizations:
The PCC Farmland Fund works to secure and preserve threatened farmland in Washington State and move it into organic production. For more information, see the PCC Farmland Fund web page.