Spring into action!
Sound Consumer | March 2007
by Alicia Guy, Director, PCC Farmland Trust
It feels good to know that we’re participating in saving organic farmland — especially in the springtime.
The fertile soil is carpeted with the tender green sprouts of this year’s crops. Chicks are peeping and pecking the soil for tasty morsels. Calves are frolicking in the warming sunshine.
Alongside this pastoral scene that appeals to our most basic senses is a great urgency. We must work faster and harder to keep this image a part of our local quality of life.
Like a dark cloud that rains on a springtime garden party, agricultural statistics test our fortitude and willingness to keep on working. Between 2000 and 2005, Washington State lost 450,000 acres of “land in farms,” according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. (To give a sense of scale, the entire city of Seattle is 53,619 acres.)
This land hasn’t necessarily been permanently lost to development, but it’s no longer being farmed. The PCC Farmland Trust could still rescue some of these properties with your help.
In addition, 700,000 acres of farmland shifted from small-scale farms to large-scale farms with greater than $500,000 per year in sales. Combining the net loss in farmed land and the shift to larger farms, smaller farms lost the use of 1,150,000 acres of Washington farmland in five years. That’s an area approximately the size of Skagit County.
As shocking and unpleasant as those statistics are, we can’t stick our heads in the soil and wait for the storm to pass. We must do all in our power to preserve the farmland that’s left and support local, small family farmers.
Only proactive efforts, such as those listed below, generate the sense of hope required to do the work set before us.
- Donate to the PCC Farmland Trust. Our job is to keep land in farms.
- Make sure your sustenance is coming from local farmers.
- Write to your representative and ask them to focus on farmland conservation.
- Volunteer your time and talents with the PCC Farmland Trust.
- Tell your friends. (Everyone needs a soap box some time!)
To become more involved in saving farmland, contact the PCC Farmland Trust at 206-547-9855, or email Together, our efforts will make the pastoral image of local farmland in the springtime more tangible.