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7 Ways to Give the Gift of Farmland

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7 Ways to Give the Gift of Farmland

The best gifts to give and to receive are those that make a difference in the world.  Luckily there are many ways to support the Farmland Trust this season.

  • Take a loved one to the Local Chefs for Local Farms dinner at Joule in January
  • If you’re shopping on Amazon, sign in with this Amazon Smile link, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to PCC Farmland Trust.
  • Find out if your employer has a matching donation program.  Learn more.

If you’re shopping at any PCC Natural Markets:

  • Fill an 100% organic cotton PCC Farmland Trust tote with small gifts
  • Pick up a veggie tray or Powers PCC Farmland Trust wines for your holiday party (10% of the proceeds from each platter and $2 of each bottle of wine benefit PCC Farmland Trust)
  • Tuck a Chinook Book into a stocking (a portion of purchase benefits the Farmland Trust)
  • We would be remiss, of course, to not suggest a direct donation to PCC Farmland Trust as the easiest and most impactful way to celebrate the Holidays.

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When you give a gift to the Trust, you can also opt to receive a PCC Farmland Trust note card to personalize for your gift recipient.  Just check the “Make my gift in the name of someone special” box on our online donation form.

Whichever way you choose to give, we at the Farmland Trust wish you the happiest of holidays.

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Agricultural History in the Puyallup Valley

The Puyallup was long the site of hops farming in the shadow of Mt. Rainier.

For thousands of years the Puyallup Valley was home to a group of Native Americans, whom the nearby Yakima Tribe called the “pough-allup,” or “generous people”.  The Puyallup Tribe’s generosity was in part made possible by the abundance of forests and fish, berries, game, nuts and other foods found throughout their river valley home.

It wasn’t long before white settlers also noticed the great wealth of this land, including its potential for logging, trapping, and farming.  Hudson Bay Company trappers were active in the area starting around 1830, and by 1852 the first homesteaders began staking their claims.

The Puyallup Valley’s relatively mild climate and its proximity to Mount Rainier made for excellent growing seasons and alluvial soils; with the addition of some enterprising farmers, an agricultural boom was soon born. 1865 marked the introduction of hops-farming, which was to become the dominant crop and primary identity for the region for many years. Hops didn’t just become a local success—for about 20 years, the Puyallup Valley became the hop-growing epicenter of the world, producing huge yields and even huger fortunes. When a devastating pest epidemic destroyed all of the hops in 1891, farmers turned to berries and flower bulbs as their primary crops.  Continue reading

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November Food & Farms in the News

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Sue Ujcic of Helsing Junction Farm. Photo: Audra Mulkern

(On account of our walk down memory lane with our Top 10 Links of 2014, this month’s Food & Farms in the News is a bit abbreviated…)

We’re thrilled that PCC FT friend and “Photography On the Farm” instructor, Audra Mulkern, has been all over the national press lately.  Huffington Post and Grist are just a couple of the places you can read more about her Female Farmer Project.

We like to talk about how well a sharing economy can work for a community of farmers.  Some farmers in Maine are even applying the principle of sharing to farming equipment.  Modern Farmer takes a look at this clever tool-lending library.

Bringing another meaning to the word “cloud” in relation to agriculture, NPR’s The Salt blog takes a quick look at big data, farming, and who owns the information that gets uploaded from the tractor to the cloud.

Congratulations, Happy Birthday, and Kudos to Tilth Producers of Washington–they turn 40 years old this November!

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10 Most Popular Links of 2014

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Jack Johnson goes All in for Farms.

Looking back over a year’s worth of monthly “Crops of News”, the most popular links turned out to be a blend of diverse and often funny content.  We enjoyed a lot of quirky things like farmer selfies, and a farmer playing the trombone for his cows, but we also seemed to want to keep informed, get educated, be moved, or join in.  Without further ado (and presented in no particular order) the 10 most popular links of 2014.

* This first one squeaked in at the end of 2013, but people really seemed to love reading Modern Farmer’s article about the origins of farm-themed idioms, like “black sheep”, “get your goat”, or “high on the hog.”

* One word: felfies.  (Farmer + Selfie)

* This one was a personal favorite…Vox had a series of 40 maps that “explained food in America”.  Not sure if that aim was reached, but some of them sure were fascinating.

* We reflected upon the considerable legacy of Gary Fisher.

* We met our new Board President, Rick Vanderknyff.

* We learned all about our long-time supporter and former board member Bill Appel.

* We went All in for Farms, as did Jack Johnson (above)!

* Everyone seemed to want to read all about PCC Farmland Trust’s accomplishments in 2013, and flocked to our 2013 Annual Report.

* In a slightly more controversial news piece, an author at Modern Farmer implored us to please Stop Romanticizing Farms.

* And last, but not least, who couldn’t be charmed by this video of a farmer playing Lorde’s “Royals”…on his trombone…to his cows:

 

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Help conserve threatened Puyallup Valley farmland during our 2014 Annual Campaign

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Yes!  I want to help save local organic farmland forever.


Dear Friend
,

Living in Washington, you enjoy the abundance of a state crossed by idyllic agricultural valleys. We rely on farming communities in these valleys for clean, healthy food to nourish ourselves and our loved ones. But our farmland is threatened—especially farms near urban areas.

Local ecosystems and economies are out of balance. Each day, hundreds of acres of our best farmland are lost to development. Farmers cannot afford letterDropstoneto keep their land. Natural resources are lost—permanently. We must act together now to preserve our food-producing valleys.

Right now, there is an urgent need for farmland conservation in the Puyallup Valley.  With fertile soil and stunning views of Mt. Rainier, the valley is rich with agricultural history and promise. It is also a target for intense commercial and residential development. That is why, for the next several years, PCC Farmland Trust will dedicate resources there.

Please help keep Puyallup Valley farms in the hands of farmers by making a gift today.

The Trust is leading the call to action in the Puyallup Valley— we’ve conserved 320 acres and five farms there already. We have come a long way, but there is still much more to be done.

Our vision for organic farming is bigger than one farm or one farmer: Imagine a Washington where organic farmland is abundant, soil and water quality are improving, habitat is restored, and pollinators are thriving. Imagine a Washington where generations of farming families can stay on their land. This can be our future. Today, we ask you to take the next step toward this future.

letterpurpleWe have already started. Working together with partners and supporters, we have conserved 15 farms and over 1,300 acres of Washington farmland. Without people like you, we could not have preserved this precious land. Will you help us conserve more farms forever by donating today?

If you join us now, we can preserve and restore threatened farmland in the Puyallup Valley. We can stand behind farmers who use sustainable methods and protect natural resources for future generations. We can invest in the people and places that grow healthy, organic food and strengthen local economies and communities.

We have already started, but we need your help to do more.  Please join us.button-donate@2x

 

 

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October Food & Farms in the News

Wakka Wakka. This month we bring you a photo gallery of animals “laughing.”

From Modern Farmer:  5 writers who farmed.  Some usual suspects; some not.  A teaser:

“There is a flower that bees prefer,
And butterflies desire;
To gain the purple democrat
The humming-birds aspire.”

Speaking of authors, and Wendell Berry, Grist offers us a really lovely piece about our “modern-day Thoreau“.

People tend to assume that the Amish would farm using methods similar to those used in organic farming.  Turns out that’s generally not true at all.  However, Amish farmer Samuel Zook, who recently eschewed the use of pesticides and fungicides, talks about how he can smell the difference between healthy plants and unhealthy ones.

If we want to save the bees, we can’t only worry about banning the neonicotinoid pesticides proven to be of harm; we need also look at agriculture as a whole system. Other elements that make for happy bees include encouraging other complimentary pollinators, and providing more canopy cover and ground vegetation.

McDonalds reveals what’s actually in a Big Mac.  Click if you dare.

Continue reading

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3 Reasons Farms are Better Together

The farmers of Tahoma Farms, Sanfords Farm and Dropstone Farms, all work together to keep the Puyallup Valley a vibrant agricultural community. Photos: Scott Haydon, Dennis Lussier, Maura Rendes

Known for its productive, well-drained soil, the Puyallup Valley is an area rich with agricultural history and promise. It is also a target for commercial and residential development. Over 70% of Pierce County’s farmland has been lost since 1950, with nearly one third of that loss occurring since 1997.

Why concentrate our efforts in one area, like Pierce County? There are many reasons. But it all boils down to this—farmers make the best neighbors to other farmers.

Here are three core benefits of keeping farms together:

1.  Economic Benefits

When multiple family farms are in close proximity, it makes it easier for farm businesses to work together. This includes food wholesalers, tractor supply companies, feed stores, lime spreaders, feed and hay delivery trucks, and even contract hay balers and harvesters.  Plus, agritourism—tastings and tours, farm stays, harvest dinners, and other seasonal celebrations—thrive when farms are located in concentration.

2.  Ecological Benefits

Conserving farmland in concentration yields multiple environmental benefits. First, wildlife corridors are protected and habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects (which organic producers rely upon) is less fragmented. Sustainable farmers are natural stewards of the earth. Co-locating and concentrating multiple good stewards of the land can magnify improvements to waterways, reduce runoff and erosion into sensitive areas, and protect sustainable farmers from neighboring land uses.

3.  Community Benefits

Having a strong, local community of farmers who are invested in a specific region is essential when political and land use decisions are made. A strong farming community can defend themselves against decisions that negatively impact small farms, like urban growth boundary expansions, subdividing agricultural land, or converting farm land to other uses. Plus, having a collection of thriving local farms in close proximity can help demonstrate the viability of the farm economy. It’s about strength in numbers.

PCC Farmland Trust is leading the call to action in the Puyallup Valley. We’ve conserved 320 acres and five farms there already, including the Reise property and a network of four connected properties that are home to Tahoma Farms, Little Eorthe Farm, and Dropstone Farms. This valley is where we feel the need for conservation is especially urgent, and where we believe the Farmland Trust can have the most real impact on agricultural viability in Pierce County.

Want to support us in our work in the Puyallup Valley?

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Supporter Spotlight: Bill Appel

 

 

Bill Appel has long been a supporter of the Farmland Trust, both as a Board member for several years, as well as serving on our Board Development Committee. He has recently retired from service on the committee, but we know his support of sustainable farming has not lessened.

 

We’ve often used this eloquent quote of his:

 

“For over 40 years as a real estate lawyer, I have seen our community surrender our sources of local, healthy food, and become more dependent on distant energy-expensive food.  The Farmland Trust is a way to participate in the recapture and preservation of what once was ours: local farms growing healthy, organic food.”

Thank you, Bill, for all of your support!

Please tell us more about yourself.

I’m a still-recovering East Coaster from Philadelphia.  I practiced law there for three years, then in 1966 we moved to Seattle with two small children.  That was a good move for many reasons, but the best part was finding and adopting our third child.  Now, we live most of the time on Waldron Island from where I practice law part time, using wood to heat and cook.  We commute to a small house in Seattle to see children and grandchildren.

Why is organic farming and/or organic food of interest to you?

We have been members of PCC Natural Markets for many decades.  I was for some years its volunteer counsel, and on the board after resigning as counsel.  PCC sensitized me not only to fresh produce, but also to organic foods.  We have consistently bought organic foods in those categories where it matters most.  Organic foods are not only important in themselves, but also in how the land is treated in growing them.  Non-organic farming is intensely petrochemical in nature, a practice that organic farming limits to fuel use.

How did you first learn about the Farmland Trust?

I was aware of its formation not only from PCC’s announcement, but also because its first director, Jody Aliesan, was a close friend of ours.  I would describe Jody not only as the writer and poet she was, but also as a right brain polymath, who could conceptualize far beyond the daily boundaries of life.  The Trust was largely her idea, and one that a receptive PCC board and staff supported.

Did you have any experiences with farms or farming growing up, or in your family?

When I was a young teenager, I worked on Pennsylvania farms during summer vacations.  Continue reading

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September Food & Farms in the News

Behold, the beautiful world of vintage fruit crate labels.

Did you know there’s a veritable apple renaissance happening under our noses?  NPR’s the Salt Blog takes a look at the effort to celebrate (and save) heirloom apple varieties.

Wow.  First Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme commit to buy all their palm oil from rainforest-friendly sources (guilt-free donuts!).  But in arguably more important news, agribusiness giant Cargill, has pledged “to protect forests in all of Cargill’s agricultural supply chains and to endorse the New York Declaration on Forests.”

Yes! Magazine examines the important issue of farmer transition gridlock, and the ways in which we might stem the loss of family farmers to retirement.

Grist takes a look at “Why ‘get big’ isn’t the answer for poor farmers around the globe.”

Our friends at Tahoma Farms have only a few days left to make their Kickstarter goal for funding their community gathering space/cafe/pizza kitchen!

Speaking of Kickstarter, have you heard of Barnraiser?  Modern Farmer talks with its founder.

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Handy Harvest Guide

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Here are a few events around town, put on by our farmer friends and partners:

Continue reading

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