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The latest dirt on Advancing Farm Sustainability

Last year, PCC Farmland Trust launched Advancing Farm Sustainability (AFS), a micro-grant program that supports farmers in their adoption of new approaches to sustainable land management. The purpose of the program is to provide the financial support our farmer tenants and landowners need to protect and steward the natural resources on their farms.

One year in to the program, we have been able to award 8 grants that support projects that improve soil, air, water, and/or habitat on our conserved farms. But what does “sustainability” really mean? In order to ensure funded projects fulfill the purpose of our program, we rank them against a variety of criteria. First, we measure whether or not the project helps achieve goals outlined in the landowner’s farmland stewardship plan, which we often develop together. We then assess the scale and the length of the natural resource impact of the project. Next, we make sure the proposed project aligns with the National Organic Practices guidelines on farm practices or biodiversity. If the project institutes a change in current practices, or leverages additional funding sources or volunteer time, even better.

Below are some examples of projects we have funded over the last year…


Invasive pest management 

Funded item(s): Mower
Sustainable practice:
 Targeted mowing helps control pests’ habitat without the use of insecticides



Invasive weed management
Funded item(s): Fencing
Sustainable practice: Fencing allows for targeted grazing of livestock to eliminate unwanted plants without the use of herbicides such as Roundup



Soil fertility improvement 

Funded item(s): Organic soil amendments, manure spreader, labor
Sustainable practice: Soil amendments like manure help increase soil productivity naturally



Pollinator hedgerow installation
Funded item(s): Trees and shrubs, technical assistance, labor
Sustainable practice:
 Flowering trees and shrubs attract pollinators, and when planted as a hedgerow, serve as a buffer to protect water quality

Stay tuned for updates on our current AFS projects in the coming weeks!

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Connecting land and farmers

Carefully stewarded farmland nourishes our communities, fuels our economy, and restores our soil, air, and water. Without hard-working hands, farmland isn’t farmland.

PCC Farmland Trust has partnered with Washington farmers for nearly 20 years, and we’ve come to understand their unique challenges and needs. That’s why today, we are expanding the ways in which we carry out our mission by working to better connect farmers to our conserved land. We are developing a new program called Farm2Farmer, which will strategically match food producers with prime farmland. Farm2Farmer will not only help new farmers launch their careers, it will help retiring farmers identify their successors.

We are beginning this effort in Pierce County — our deep relationships there mean we can build a community-based, farmer-driven program. Our long-term goal: assist even more farmers across the Puget Sound region.

The hard-working hands of food growers bring our mission to life. Support from people like you sustains it. Please join us in our effort to ensure farming remains viable long into the future.

As always, thank you for believing in our work. 

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Thanks to you, Viva Farms is growing!

As if reaching the 2,000 acre mark wasn’t enough, we have even more exciting news to share. Thanks to your support, we were able to meet and exceed our goal for the down payment on the Viva Farms expansion project, which means, more Washington farmers will be supported into the future!

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Staff Spotlight: Hilary Aten, Conservation Director

Meet Hilary, the Trust’s Conservation Director, mother of one of the cutest children on the planet, and soon-to-be graduate of the Washington Ag Forestry Leadership Program.

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2,000 acres conserved and counting

We are thrilled to share the news that as of this week, our total number of protected acres passed the 2,000 mark!

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Supporter Spotlight: Kat Taylor

kat taylorTell us about yourself and your connection to sustainable food and farming.
Although I am an artist, I have had a deep connection to the land for many years.

I have early memories growing up in Georgia, watching my daddy and granddaddy tend to the garden. I remember walking out amongst the corn, okra, and squash, listening to the birds and feeling the tomato leaves prick my skin. There was a wonderful feeling of belonging and rightness that I felt there as a child. That kind of harmony has informed my path and a lot of what I value now.

In the 1990’s, I lived on Orcas Island, and my clay studio was on a beautiful property with a big organic garden. During those years, I remember taking a course on organic gardening for activists. It was then that I really solidified my interest in and commitment to creating a more sustainable food system.
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PCC Farmland Trust partners with Viva Farms

What do a farm incubator and a land trust have in common? Besides our shared love of hearty vegetables, we’re both working to build a prosperous farming future for the next generation.

Viva Farms is a non-profit farm business incubator located in the Skagit Valley, and has educated over 500 small farmers in sustainable and organic farming since 2009. Currently, Viva is incubating 12 independent farm businesses, eight of which are Latino-owned. Viva provides new or beginning farmers with five farm business start-up essentials: land, equipment and infrastructure, bilingual training, marketing, and capital. In order for Viva to continue to help launch the next generation of farmers, they are in need of a larger land base.

In 2015, PCC Farmland Trust conducted a bilingual survey to understand the needs of new and aspiring farmers in Washington. Viva Farms emerged as a key partner during that process, so when the prospect arose to help Viva purchase a new piece of land to expand their programming, we jumped at the opportunity.

By helping Viva Farms grow, the Trust hopes to create a steady flow of well-trained farmers to steward the land we’ve protected into the future.

Help PCC Farmland Trust and Viva Farms launch the next generation of farmers.We have until February 28, 2017 to secure $45,000 for Viva’s new property. Help us meet our goal and kick off this new partnership!




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3 tips for starting the year off right

A new year means a new opportunity to make an impact. There are so many ways to get involved with PCC Farmland Trust and support healthy food and sustainable farming. We’ve listed a few below.

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Mountain View Dairy Protected Forever

We did it! Thanks to you, we just closed on the largest farmland conservation project to date in Pierce County: the 284-acre Mountain View Dairy.

This is a huge win for Pierce County, the local food economy, and farmers like Ryan and Haylee Mensonides who now have access to more affordable farmland in their community. We are so proud to have been able to purchase this valuable piece of land in our focus area, and to place it in the hands of farmers who will care for it into the future.

In addition to its incredible views of Mt. Rainier, Mountain View Dairy has some of the best remaining soils south of Puget Sound. It was platted for 59 estate homes at one point. Continue reading

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PCC Farmland Trust closes on largest farmland conservation project ever in Pierce County


Seattle, Washington | December 15, 2016 – Having lost 70% of its farmland since 1950, PCC Farmland Trust’s protection of a 284-acre farm in Graham, Wash. is a huge win for Pierce County. Mountain View Dairy is 8 times larger than the average farm in the area, making it the largest farmland conservation project ever in the County. In addition to its incredible views of Mt. Rainier, Mountain View Dairy has some of the best remaining soils south of Puget Sound.

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