PCC Sound Consumer | The Farmland Fund partners to protect the Meadowbrook farmland

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The Farmland Fund partners to protect the Meadowbrook farmland

Sound Consumer | September 2003

by Jody Aliesan, Director, Farmland Fund

A colorful patchwork quilt of parcels represents the land trusts (including the Farmland Fund), landowners, conservation buyers and a government agency working together to preserve Meadowbrook estuary farmland and habitat.

(September 2003) — First we focused on land near the Dungeness River — saving the Delta Farm was key to that plan. Now attention moves eastward to secondary watersheds, all the way to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

In addition to high-quality soil, this estuary land hosts Meadowbrook Creek as it flows north from its source on the Delta Farm. Also sheltered is a Great Blue Heron rookery that provides the heart-stopping joy of watching more than a dozen of these majestic birds in flight.

Since early 2000 the Farmland Fund has been working with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe and the North Olympic Land Trust to protect farmland and habitat in the Sequim Valley.

man & dog
Harry Lydiard and friend Spike. Harry, a retired veterinarian, has served as Clallam County Commissioner and North Olympic Land Trust board member. An active conservationist and a key conservation buyer, he saved part of the historic Bell Farm (turquoise) from development.

Why Sequim? this valley combines some of the best soils in our state with the excellent growing conditions of the Olympic "rainshadow." The fertile Dungeness River bottomland has been farmed since the mid-1800s and was once the main crop-producing area for Puget Sound. Now it's under severe and constant pressure from residential development.

Allied with conservation-minded landowners and the upcoming new generation of organic farmers, our partnership will protect a mosaic of nearly 300 acres of farmland and wildlife habitat in perpetuity.

Organic farming saves this butterfly

(September 2003) — The butterfly called Taylor's Checkerspot was once common in the Pacific Northwest. Its population is now reduced to four small, endangered colonies due to loss of native prairie and the use of pesticides.

One refuge for forage and habitat lies east of our Delta Farm, on former S'Klallam tribeland settled in the early 1850s.

The Farmland Fund is involved in protecting this historic Meadowbrook Estuary farmland (see above). Part of it is now leased to Nash Huber. His organic practices and daily observation of the needs of wildlife are crucial to this butterfly's survival.

The Taylor's Checkerspot butterfly

Nash's sensitivity is what writer Daniel Imhoff calls "farming with the wild." "Ultimately," says Imhoff, "success must come through collaboration and the articulation of a new vision for agriculture," including "consumers who support local producers because they are protecting biodiversity."

When you choose local organic produce, you reward the skills and discernment of farmers whose success depends upon awareness of and cooperation with the cycles and creatures of our shared natural world.

When you contribute to the Farmland Fund, your support is multiplied by the power of collaboration. You help secure land for the next generation of farmers whose care will save as-yet unidentified butterflies.

In times of reduced resources, everyone benefits by pooling what we have for the good of the whole. As an old Irish proverb puts it, "Nè neart go chur le chèile." We are stronger when we work together.

The PCC Farmland Fund works to secure and preserve threatened farmland in Washington State and move it into organic production. For more information, see the PCC Farmland Trust.

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