PCC Farmland Trust Programs
PCC Farmland Trust has three core programs: land conservation, working land stewardship and community engagement.
The Conservation Program fulfills the Trust’s primary mission of preserving farmland forever by using agricultural conservation easements as well as outright purchase to remove development potential on prime farmlands. 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.
Stewardship is the long-term land caretaking function of the Trust and enforces 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 from farming activities. For the Farmland Trust there is an additional stewardship measure, best practice, and goal to ensure that all conserved acres are actively farmed by food producers employing environmentally sustainable practices.
Our Community Engagement program aims to expand public understanding of the value of and threats to local, family farming. Activities include farm tours, seasonal chef/farmer collaborative dinners, and on-farm workshops to learn about the ecosystems supported by environmentally sustainable farm businesses. Our robust public communications practices employ social media, e-news, the Trust’s webpage, and our access to PCC shoppers via in-store communication to spotlight the broad community benefits afforded by local, sustainable farming.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In March of 2015, we conserved 42 acres of Helsing Junction Farm, an organic CSA and community gathering place in Rochester, WA. Our conservation partners in Thurston County have already protected hundreds of acres of working farm and ranch lands. In partnership with Thurston County Conservation Futures, this project builds upon their successes and will reflect positively on the 10 other organic farms in the town of Rochester. One of the first CSA’s in the country, Helsing Junction figures their farm feeds 5000 people through their membership of 1000, and countless more through the 20,000 pounds of food they donate to shelters and food banks each year. We’ve now protected over 1300 acres of farmland for sustainable and organic farming, forever.
Right now, we have more conservation opportunities than ever before. We have four important projects in process for 2015 and many more for the coming years. As public grant dollars dwindle, we depend on the support of individual donors now, more than ever before, to protect our precious remaining farmland and keep it affordable and accessible for the next generation of farmers. Our conservation strategy is currently focused on the prime and threated soils on the urban fringe—in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties. And of course, your support also ensures the perpetual stewardship and restoration of the farms that you’ve already helped us protect.