Stepping onto good soil
Sound Consumer | July 2007
by Alicia Guy
This spring, we reconnected with the soil protected by the PCC Farmland Trust. In March, just as the sun was beginning to share its warmth with us again, 115 people were planted squarely on the soil of the Bennington Place Farm in Walla Walla looking across the field at a similar number of Hereford cows chewing away at the organic grass.
In April, 30 volunteers gathered at Ames Creek Farm in Carnation to help plant native trees and shrubs alongside the creek. Their work will help restore riparian wildlife habitat on the farm and increase the viability of a successful salmon population.
In May, we traveled to Sequim for Nash Huber’s barn dance and a visit to the Delta Farm. Frogs were chirping next to the pond. The little apple tree planted by visitors in 2000 was now full of blooms. Standing on the edge of a large field, Scott Chichester, who has worked for Nash for nine years, noted a new carrot planting. In a few short months, the entire field would be filled with Nash’s Best, much of which will end up on your table, if you know what’s good for you.
Now, we’ve set foot on new soil — a stone’s throw from urban markets. The fate of this soil is yet unknown. Will it remain farmland, potentially offering young farmers the opportunity to obtain land and provide the public with local, organically grown food well into the future? Or will it go the way of development, the soil’s only task to support a seldom-used lawn? That’s partly up to us.
We are performing our due diligence to see if this old family farm is a good match for the Trust. Part of that due diligence is making sure our organizational ducks are in a row. One of those ducks is getting into a good financial position to acquire new farmland.
When PCC members received a letter last fall asking for help in paying off a loan for the Ames Creek Farm, the response was truly grassroots. More than 1,000 PCC members made contributions totaling $143,780. The majority of donors hadn’t previously donated to the PCC Farmland Trust. We still have about $115,000 to go before that loan is paid off.
We can make great strides towards the payoff by working together to meet the Ames Creek Challenge Grant. From July 1 to November 1, every dollar donated to the Farmland Trust, up to $40,000, will be matched by 50 cents. That’s solid ground on which to set our feet moving forward.