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PCC Farmland Trust 

Description

PCC Farmland Trust was started in 1999 by PCC Natural Markets, the nation's largest consumer-owned grocery retailer, and is operated as an independent, community-supported 501(c)(3) organization. Since inception the Trust has saved fourteen working farms across Washington State, totaling 1,306 acres. As the only known land trust in the US focused on preservation of organic, as well as sustainably-farmed land, the Trust provides a unique yet replicable model for restoring diversified local food systems which support family farming and the health of land and people. 

 

Mission Statement
To secure, preserve and steward threatened farmland in the Northwest, ensuring that generations of local farmers productively farm using sustainable, organic growing methods. The Farmland Trust takes its mission one step further by working to place farmers on rescued property, actively producing food for the local community.
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PCC Farmland Trust
1917 First Avenue 
Seattle 
WA
98101 
(206) 547-9855 

Rebecca Sadinsky 
Executive Director 

Programs

PCC Farmland Trust Programs

PCC Farmland Trust helps create thriving agricultural economies, farming communities, and a locally-produced diversity of healthy foods through three programs:  Future Farms, Farms Stewardship, and Community Education.

The Future Farms program captures the Trust's primary mission – preserving organic farmland forever. This includes identifying, evaluating and prioritizing conservation projects; working with current landowners; finding new farmland owner/operators; and developing and refining the Trust’s farmland conservation tools. The Trust uses agricultural conservation easements, as well as outright purchase to remove development potential on prime farmlands.

Stewardship
is the long term land caretaking function of the Trust, and includes: enforcement of environmental and organic farming goals spelled out in either a conservation easement or lease; assistance to farm operators to meet those goals; and community volunteer work parties to install and restore habitat buffers to separate valued natural resources, particularly natural waterways, from farming activities. For the Farmland Trust there is an additional stewardship measure, best practice, and goal: keep all the Trust acres in active farming and farmed by food producers employing environmentally sustainable and organic practices.

Our Community Education program is a collection of activities aimed at expanding public understanding of the values of and threats to local, family farming.  Activities include farmer-led public farm tours, seasonal chef/farmer collaborative dinners, and on-the-farm workshops to learn about the ecosystems supported by environmentally sustainable farm businesses.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

The goal of stewardship for every land trust is continuous protection of the natural resources that have been conserved. The Land Trust Alliance provides standards and an accreditation program to back up those standards. PCC Farmland Trust recently earned accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance and is proud to have stewardship and conservation programs that are recognized as employing best practices. 

Our Director, Rebecca Sadinsky: “Accreditation is important to us as it recognizes our proficiency in the critical work of conserving Washington State’s organic farmlands for future generations. By earning the LTA seal, we will be ensuring our commitment to our community, and be honored to join a team of excellent professionals in the national field of land conservation.”   

As the Trust conserves more farmland, our stewardship responsibilities continue to increase, particularly for properties owned outright. Sometimes farmland needs to be carefully nourished back to health and productivity once it has been conserved. For each acre of farmland we preserve, we have a detailed stewardship plan that includes opportunities for ecological improvements. We engage farmers, partners, and volunteers in projects that replace invasive species with native plants to promote habitat diversity, establish buffers to separate farming activities from natural waterways, and plant cover crops to enrich soil fertility. The more than $250,000 donor dollars we spend each year on stewardship and restoration is a long term investment, to ensure that working lands and nearby wildlife habitat can both flourish, forever. We are grateful to our supporters for helping foster a regional food system that protects the environment we all depend on.

Evaluation

PCC Farmland Trust is ensuring a future of fresh, local and organic food for our region by purchasing organic agricultural conservation easements and/or titles to Northwest farmland.

Best Practices
The Trust is bridging the gap between aging farmers who own land and new young farmers who are not in line to inherit land. It also educates the community about local farms and farmers and the importance of preserving organic farms, not only because of the benefits to human health, but also the health of the environment. While continuing to protect farmland across Washington State, the Trust will be focusing on targeting their work in two specific areas in an effort leverage benefits of conservation in these concentrated areas and provide potential economies of scale for farmers. The Trust also expects to receive accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance in 2013 following a rigorous application process.

Collaboration
The Trust has strong collaborations amongst a broad array of constituents, including The Nature Conservancy, Stewardship Partners, Cascade Land Conservancy, WSU Extension, Cascade Harvest Coalition, local farmers and Friends of the Fields.

Sustainability
With an initial board contribution of $75,000, the Trust launched their Future Farms Challenge capital campaign that will raise funds solely dedicated to farm acquisition costs, filling the gap left by a decrease in availability of public funds. They have since raised $150,000 from their supporters towards this campaign and are encouraged by this response.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

DateAmountPurpose
3/10/2013 $12,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2011 $12,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2010 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
12/10/2007 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.

Financials

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