The Latest News

Updates on our work, plus the latest food and farm news — in Washington and beyond.


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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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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We’re Hiring! Community Engagement Coordinator

WE'RE HIRING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR Community Engagement Coordinator

 

Position Overview

We are seeking a self-motivated, organized, and enthusiastic coordinator to support our community engagement program. The successful candidate will play a crucial role in our work, gaining on-the-ground experience in volunteer coordination, event planning, innovative communications tactics, and land stewardship. This is a great opportunity for someone who is passionate about farmland preservation and sustainable agriculture and is looking for hands-on experience in this sector. Continue reading

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Staff Spotlight: Rusty Milholland

Rusty MillholandRusty recently joined our team as the new Farmland Stewardship Manager. Hailing all the way from Utah, Rusty most recently served as the Stewardship Director for Utah Open Lands, and is thrilled to have finally made it to the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s Rusty…

Tell us about yourself. I like to say that my career in conservation started as a young child when my family served as the caretakers of a 140-acre bird sanctuary in southern Maine where we lived on the property. Every summer, we maintained the trails, lead volunteer parties, and engaged with our community. It was a really fun way to grow up, and laid the groundwork for much of my personal and professional interests.

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You Made 2015 A Momentous Year

2015 annual reportThanks to you, we not only fulfilled our promise to conserve more near-urban farmland last year, we also tripled our annual rate of conservation. From engaging with volunteers at our on-farm habitat restoration events, to kicking off our first-ever farmer-focused grant program, 2015 was big—and we couldn’t have done it without you. Have a look at our annual report to see last year’s accomplishments and our plans for 2016 and beyond.

View our 2015 annual report.

 

 

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Standing by farmers for the long haul

At our core, we are about farmland. Every day, we work to ensure the best farmland in our state is actively farmed, both so it produces good food for the community, and so its natural resources are protected into the future.

We know, however, that none of that would be possible without the right land stewards in place, caring for the farmland we protect. That is the ethos behind our stewardship program: to walk side by side with farmers, long after the land is protected, to support them as they nurture the soil, water, and habitat on their land. Continue reading

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We’re hiring! Farmland Stewardship Manager

Overview: The Farmland Stewardship Manager is responsible for the oversight, planning, and management of all properties in the PCC Farmland Trust’s portfolio of protected lands, which includes the stewardship of both lands conserved through conservation easements and through fee-simple purchase. The successful candidate will ensure the natural resources conserved by the Trust are protected in perpetuity by building positive relationships with landowners, maintaining diligent records, and developing resource restoration projects that meet the goals of the Trust. This is a full-time position which reports to the Associate Director and requires close collaboration with all team members and external consultants and contractors. PCC Farmland Trust has eleven full-time staff, including this position. The Trust’s office is located in downtown Seattle; this is a primarily office-based job. We are seeking a candidate who can join our team in May 2016.

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Ensuring a Farming Future in the Puyallup Valley

2016 FT Puyallup Valley Infographic

A historic agricultural community on the fringe of the developing city, PCC Farmland Trust identified the Puyallup Valley as a key focus area for farmland conservation in 2009. Together with Pierce County, the Pierce Conservation District, Forterra, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and farmers and landowners, we have built great momentum in the region.

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We’re hiring! Community Engagement Intern

Work with usOverview: We are seeking a self-motivated, organized, and enthusiastic intern to support our community engagement and conservation programs this summer. The successful candidate will play a crucial role in our work, gaining training and experience in volunteer coordination, event planning, innovative communications tactics, and land conservation and stewardship. This is a great opportunity for someone who is passionate about farmland preservation and sustainable agriculture and is looking for hands-on experience in this field.
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