National Farmer’s Day is on October 12. To celebrate, PCC Farmland Trust and Washington Dairy have teamed up to create a video that highlights how both groups support farmers and promote sustainability on Washington farmland. For every view the video receives, Washington Dairy will donate $5 to PCC Farmland Trust, up to $5,000.
As many farmers approach retirement, land prices are skyrocketing across the Puget Sound region – making the pursuit of farming all the more difficult for local food growers. Organizations like PCC Farmland Trust are working to ease those barriers by protecting farmland and making it affordable for the next generation.
“Having affordable land that we can actually farm is so critical. It gives us hope to move forward, be sustainable, and be feasible,” says organic dairy farmer Ryan Mensonides.
Mensonides produces for Organic Valley in Enumclaw, Washington, where he lives with his wife, Haylee, and four sons. Ryan was able to expand and diversify his business thanks to 284 additional acres he now leases from PCC Farmland Trust, which the organization permanently protected in 2017. Today, Ryan and Haylee are working hard to bring the new land back into production after it sat fallow for almost three decades. The couple converted the land to organic – a three-year process – and are revitalizing the soil through amendments and nutrient-rich cover crops thanks in part to a grant from PCC Farmland Trust that supports sustainable practices.
“We are trying to keep pace with what’s happening in this region, and we want to preserve as much ground as possible as quickly as possible,” says Melissa Campbell, Executive Director of PCC Farmland Trust. “The only way we see our way through this critical time of pressure on farmland is by working together to troubleshoot, property by property, region by region.”
As Ryan and Haylee work to steward their land, be successful business owners, and provide a delicious product to their community, they want consumers to better understand where their food comes from. “It’s 1.5% of us that grow food for the rest of you,” says Mensonides. “We want to invite you in so you know what farming is all about.”
Watch and share PCC Farmland Trust and Washington Dairy’s video today to celebrate local farmers, raise funds to protect farmland, and to stay informed about the importance of local farming.
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