Blog

Follow along for updates about our conserved farms, stories about our community partners, and the latest events and volunteer opportunities. To receive these stories in your inbox monthly, sign up for our e-newsletter, The Latest Crop of News.


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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Farmer Feature: The Mensonides Family

Over the last two years, Ryan and Haylee Mensonides haven’t taken more than three days off.

“We’re the crazy ones who do this work because we love it,” said Ryan.

Raised on his uncle’s dairy in Roy, Wash., farming has been in Ryan’s blood since he was a little boy. As an undergraduate at Washington State University, Ryan spent his summers on the family farm, helping pay his way through school.

After a go at public relations upon graduating, Ryan was called back to the dairy industry, and went on to work in a processing plant in California for the next 7 years. It was during these years that he met Haylee, a city girl with hopes and dreams that had little to do with farming.

Flash forward to 2016, and their story of farm life unfolds. Today, Haylee and Ryan are naturals on their organic dairy farm in Enumclaw, Wash., producing milk for Organic Valley. Ryan maintains the herd of 500 while Haylee manages all of the bookkeeping. Between the tireless work of keeping their farm running, the couple makes time for their other full-time job — raising up four small boys.

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5 Big Wins of 2016

It has been an exceptional year of growth and acceleration, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s a look back at what we’ve accomplished together:
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A Heartfelt Thank You

As we reflect back on this year, we feel so grateful for each of you, our community. Your support of Washington’s farmland has provided a livelihood for the people who grow our food, revitalized rural economies, sustained our environment, and enabled us to feed our families. We couldn’t do this work without you.

From all of us at PCC Farmland Trust, thank you. 

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PCC Farmland Trust leads the Farming in the Floodplain Project

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Crop rows at Early Bird Farm in the Clear Creek area of the Puyallup Valley.

At PCC Farmland Trust, we know that farmland conservation has long-term, far-reaching impacts. In addition to keeping healthy, local food on our plates, protecting farms has the potential to improve soil quality, keep our air and water clean, revitalize local food economies, and sustain the agricultural character of our state.

That’s why, after protecting farmland and building relationships in the Puyallup Valley for nearly a decade, we signed on to lead the Farming in the Floodplain Project (FFP) – a pilot project in the Clear Creek area aiming to meet multiple community and environmental needs in response to flooding. As development and land use pressures continue to increase in the Puyallup Valley, flooding has become a challenge for many. In Washington, some of the highest quality farmland sits in the valley-bottom floodplain. And yet, historically, human safety and fish habitat have taken precedent over agriculture in conversations around flood impacts. The FFP aims to illuminate the unique challenges farmers face in the flood-prone area of Clear Creek, and incorporate them into projects that support a safe, vibrant community for all.

As we continue to deepen our engagement in the Puyallup Valley, leading the FFP was a natural expansion of our work. We saw it as a unique opportunity to support the continued viability of critical farmland in our focus area, and better understand what farmers need to keep farming in a world of competing floodplain interests.

Funded by the statewide Floodplains by Design program, the FFP is led by PCC Farmland Trust and includes a committee of Floodplains for the Future members – a partnership of public, non-profit, and private stakeholders concerned about the health of the Puyallup Watershed.

Over the last year, we have been working to engage and collaborate with farmers in the Clear Creek area, while our partners at Environmental Science Associates have been conducting a technical analysis of current and future conditions that may affect local agriculture. We have also been regularly convening a group of technical and agricultural experts to report out on our progress, and analyze information we have uncovered about agriculture, climate change, and hydrology in the area. Through this work, we are elevating the voices of farmers in order to clarify and support their needs and interests.

Over the coming year, we hope to provide Clear Creek farmers with the technical information they need to improve the long-term viability of their farm businesses, and influence policy-makers to support them in those efforts.

Learn more at farminginthefloodplain.org.

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Staff Spotlight: Sydni Baumgart

A recent graduate of the University of Washington, Sydni is PCC Farmland Trust’s new Community Engagement Coordinator. From interning at IslandWood and Taylor Shellfish Farms, to serving as a project assistant for Bellingham’s first annual seafood festival, Sydni brings her enthusiasm for environmental science and passion for sustainable food systems to her role at the Trust. With a long family history of farming and fishing in the Puget Sound region, Sydni is thrilled to help the Trust get people excited about local, sustainable agriculture in Washington.

Here’s Sydni…

Tell us about yourself. I grew up in Bellingham in a family of commercial fisherfolk. We spent much of our time outdoors, clam digging along the Sound and exploring the San Juan islands. That’s why pursuing an Environmental Studies degree at the University of Washington felt like a natural fit for me. During my two-year stint volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium, however, I discovered the Fisheries Program at UW, and was drawn to the smaller classes and more focused content. It was there that I really found “my people.”

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Conserved Farmland & Your Local Food

Have you ever bitten into a slice of sweet, nutty bread, fresh from the oven, and wondered: “who made this deliciousness possible?” Many are responsible for the food that we eat, but it all starts with the farmer.

All over our community, local purveyors and food businesses are sourcing ingredients from sustainable and organic farms right here in our backyard. We’re lucky to live in a place where so many business buy local to support the farmers who work so hard to keep food on our plates. The result? A thriving, local food system. Continue reading

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Four Elements Farm: A farmland success story

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Four Elements Farm in Orting, WA

 

In 2010, when we learned of a prized 120-acre piece of land for sale in Pierce County, we saw an opportunity. Although it wasn’t in organic production at the time, we knew we couldn’t sit by and watch the farm sell to the highest bidder – especially in an area that has lost more than 70 percent of its farmland since 1950. So we got creative, secured funding, collaborated with the County, and purchased the farm outright.

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