Long before this global pandemic, farming was always a job that required incredible resilience, dedication, and creativity. Today, the COVID-19 crisis only adds to the many challenges that farmers already face, from narrow margins and tough working conditions to rapidly rising land prices and the uncertainties of a changing climate. In addition, this crisis shines a light on the cracks in our broken food system, underscoring our tight labor market, the vulnerability of farmworkers, disrupted supply chains, and strained food assistance programs.
With this perspective at the forefront, PCC Farmland Trust spent the month of April listening deeply to local farmers about what is needed to respond to this shifting landscape. Along with partners like the WA Young Farmers Coalition and others, Farm to Farmer Coordinator Amy Moreno-Sills presented on a Zoom call aimed at identifying the biggest barriers for farmers at this time. Over 500 local growers and other ag industry professionals participated, and there are more calls like this one underway. This past Earth Day, we hosted a community conversation with four farmers to hear more about how they are adapting in the face of dynamic change.
Through these conversations, we have been able to identify ways that we can pivot our resources to meet the most urgent needs being elevated by farmers. Below is a summary of what we have learned in the last few weeks, plus some inspiring stories about farm resilience.