Our Farms

Updates on our protected farms and stories about the farmers who steward them.


Advancing Farm Sustainability: Behind the Scenes with Shelstad Farm

Below is our next video in the #AFSBehindtheScenes series, featuring Kim Shelstad of Shelstad Farm in Orting, Wash. Hear from Kim about how he is using our Advancing Farm Sustainability grant dollars to create pollinator habitat and promote biodiversity on his farm.

 

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Advancing Farm Sustainability: Behind the Scenes with Four Elements Farm

We are excited to launch the first video in our #AFSBehindtheScenes series! Hear from Amy Moreno-Sills of Four Elements Farm about how she is using our Advancing Farm Sustainability grant dollars to build soil health on her farm.

 

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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.

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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 Farm to Farmer, which will strategically match food producers with prime farmland. Farm to Farmer will not only help new farmers launch their careers, it will help retiring farmers identify their successors.

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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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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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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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Farmland Stewardship: Unpacking the Practice

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Our Farmland Stewardship Manager, Rusty, walking the fields with Farmer Amy Moreno-Sills of Four Elements Farm.

Once we successfully conserve a farm, our work is far from over. To ensure the land we protect thrives into the future, we support our farmer partners in their pursuit of sustainable and organic farming practices through our stewardship program. From annual monitoring to stewardship planning and restoration, this program reflects our commitment not only to the land itself, but to our collaboration and partnership with farmers for the long haul.

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