If you haven't done so already, we encourage you to read this excellent article that describes the important work and accomplishments achieved by SPF and others, including some of our partners, in protecting one of the Puget Sound's greatest treasures - the Skagit Valley.
Thank you to our supporters for your help with this important and ongoing mission!
Skagit Valley lost a passionate voice for preserving Skagit farmland with the passing of fourth generation Skagitonian Bob Hart on Sunday, November 4, 2012.
Bob served as President of the SPF Board of Directors for the past four years. He joined the SPF Board in 2004, was elected Vice President in 2005 and President in January 2009. He had also served as Chair of SPF's Land Protection Committee.
As a member of the Skagit County Board of Commissioners, Bob supported the passage of the Conservation Futures Fund ordinance on December 2, 1996, which was created to acquire development rights on agricultural lands as a means of preserving and protecting those lands from conversion to non-agricultural uses. A property tax levy on all taxable property within the county funds the program, known as the Skagit County Farmland Legacy Program (FLP). The FLP leverages funding with state and federal grants and private donations. Skagit County has protected almost 10,000 acres of farmland; since 2008 SPF has partnered with the program by raising private contributions to secure development rights on more than 360 acres along the I-5 corridor, south of Mount Vernon.
In 2007 Bob was appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire to Washington state's Farmland Preservation Task Force. Bob chaired the 18-member task force, which was formed to provide the first statewide policy guidance for the Office of Farmland Preservation, created by the legislature.
For the past seven summers, Bob and his wife Margie have invited students and chef instructors from the Seattle Culinary Academy to their farm, La Conner Flats, to farm on land set aside for them to learn best practices for sowing, cultivating and harvesting vegetables and fruit. They take the produce back to their kitchens in Seattle to create local, seasonal meals. Students have worked under the direction of retired scientists, farmers and teachers, recruited by Bob, to teach students about different plant varieties as well as agricultural practices used for growing vegetables in the Valley's maritime climate.
Bob's legacy of service and his commitment to preserving Skagit Valley farmland for future generations will be remembered always. He was an inspiration and a friend to many, and he will be greatly missed.
Bring Your Own Bag to Westlake Whole Foods in Seattle & Support SPF! — 11/11/2012
Whole Foods Market Westlake in Seattle has chosen SPF as the beneficiary of their Bag Refund program through Jan. 30, 2013!
For every reusable shopping bag a shopper uses, the store either rebates a dime to the shopper, or they have the option of donating the amount to SPF. (Please note that the Bag Refund to SPF is available only at the Westlake market, 2210 Westlake Avenue in Seattle .)
With the new Seattle bag charge, Whole Foods Market Westlake has seen a significant increase in shoppersbringing their own bags, and the holiday season sees an increase in shopping overall.
A big thanks to Whole Foods Westlake for partnering with SPF in a way that preserves both farmland and the environment!
Taste the Skagit at Westlake Whole Foods December 1!
Whole Foods features the produce and products of many Skagit Valley farms. Several farms and SPF will be at the Westlake market on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 2-4 pm.Stop by for tasty samples and say "Hi” to farmers from Ralph’s Greenhouse, Samish Bay Cheese, Pleasant Valley Farms and Skagit Fresh Cider!
SPF Position on the Clean Samish Initiative — 12/23/2011
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF) has a long history of strongly advocating for responsible environmental stewardship of farmland, including our tidelands, and supports environmental and agricultural research initiatives to protect our natural resources.Additionally, SPF is actively engaged on issues relating to wildlife and salmon habitat protection, environmental stewardship and the continued viability of Skagit agriculture.
SPF is committed to supporting the objectives and roles of the many partners involved in Clean Samish Initiative (CSI) in order to protect our important fish and shellfish resources, which make up a vital and integral component of our agricultural industry.In 2009 the SPF Board passed a resolution supporting and encouraging
“ . . .scientifically valid sampling and testing methods to provide information regarding fecal pollution impacts on stream health, and to encourage federal, state and local agencies to design, fund and implement research and education strategies that help reduce or eliminate sources of fecal pollution in Skagit Valley’s Watersheds.”
The Board of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland takes very seriously our commitment to the responsible stewardship of farmland and believes improving water quality in impaired streams is a shared responsibility.
SPF support the CSI and its partners in achieving the goals of the CSI and is encouraged to see that voluntary steward programs, such as those offered through the Skagit Conservation District, are working in concert with existing regulations and compliance measures, to protect our water resources.
In particular the SPF Board recognizes the significant accomplishments made by Skagit County and the Skagit Conservation District since 2009 in achieving the following through research, education and voluntary stewardship.
2,909 acres protected by resource management plans.
2,207 citizens participated in water quality workshops.
1,707 acres protected by nutrient management plans.
1,584 residential on-site septic systems inspected
164 acres of riparian buffers planted.
115 on-site septic systems repaired or replaced.
55 landowners received technical assistance to improve water quality.
27 water quality workshops conducted.
23.66 miles of stream miles protected by farm plans.
17 pet waste stations and 12 portable toilets installed.
SPF will continue to support the CSI and its partners in achieving the goals of the CSI and we will continue to advocate for the implementation of responsible stewardship programs and practices offered through the Skagit Conservation District.
When it is determined that voluntary efforts of education, outreach, and technical assistance are not effective in encouraging landowners to take timely voluntary actions to solve known and identified problems, then formal compliance measures, under existing regulations, are a necessary and appropriate step to protect our water resources and our tideland farmers.
SPF recognizes that that the Department of Ecology (DOE), as the principal enforcement agency for water quality protection, has one of the more unpopular tasks when voluntary stewardship measures go unheeded and unused.SPF understands and agrees that to date, DOE has taken reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure water quality is not being further impaired when voluntary stewardship has not been demonstrated.
SPF Board Members Featured in Smithsonian Magazine — 12/15/2011
You can read about the increase in artisanal wheat farming in the latest issue of the Smithsonian, featuring SPF board members Steve Jones, Director of the WSU Research and Extension Center in Mount Vernon, and Dave Hedlin of Hedlin Family Farms in La Conner.
There has been much talk and a number of forums recently in Skagit County regarding the proposed expansion of the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County. Permits for the Gateway Pacific Terminal were originally approved and issued in 1997 for a 180 acre facility to handle approximately 8.7 million tons of dry bulk commodities annually that include petroleum coke, iron ore, potash, woodchips and wheat.
A new substantial shoreline permit has been applied for to expand the existing facility from 180 acres to 350 acres in order to increase the terminal’s capacity from 8.7 million tons annually to 54 million tons annually and to include coal as one of the commodities shipped from the facility. SSA Marine, the permit applicant, has indicated coal will be one of the primary commodities shipped through the facility in the near-term, due to the recent increase in Asian demand for U.S. coal.
Because of current market demand for coal in Asia, some have chosen to refer to this project as a coal port project. Because coal is one of multiple commodities proposed to be shipped through the expanded facility and to remain objective, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF) will continue to refer to and evaluate the proposed project as the Gateway Pacific Terminal project.
SPF is not taking a position on the proposed expansion project at this time. With SPF’s mission to ensure the continued viability of Skagit County agriculture and its required infrastructure, we are committed to learning about the facts related to the project in order to better understand and evaluate the potential conflicts and benefits the project may have on the long-term viability of Skagit Valley agriculture.
It is not disputed that if constructed and operated at the proposed capacity of 54 million tons annually, regardless of what commodities are actually being shipped, the project will increase rail traffic along the Pacific Northwest rail corridor. Additionally, it appears that ports in Canada (at Tsawwassen & Prince Rupert) are also applying for permits to expand their existing capacities, and Tesoro Inc. announced they are seeking permits to expand their Anacortes refinery rail terminal to process 100 car trains every two days.
With this knowledge SPF will be urging those involved with developing the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement to extend the scope of the study as far south as Everett, WA to help SPF and local communities better understand what an increase in train frequency and length as well as in increase in the amount and frequency of hazardous materials transported through the corridor (associated will all rail traffic) means to the long-termviability of Skagit County agriculture.
Additionally, with the likelihood of a significant increase in the amount of freight traffic as a result of all the proposed expansion projects, SPF is seeking to better understand what additional capital improvements to the rail system are required to accommodate the projected increase in rail traffic and what, if any, farmland conversions may occur as a result of any proposed capital improvements to this important rail corridor.
By following the link below you can access some of the information the SPF Board and staff relied on to better understand the complexity of the proposed expansion project. We will periodically update our information links page as we come across additional credible information.
SPF Benefits When You Shop at Skagit Valley Food Co-op on Friday, July 22! — 07/05/2011
Shop at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op in downtown Mount Vernon on Friday, July 22 where 4% of the day's sales will benefit Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF)!
By shopping at the Co-op on July 22 you will be helping to advance SPF's mission to protect farms, farming and farmland with enduring conservation easements , educate the public about the value and importance of Skagit agriculture to the region and the world, and cultivate an ever-stronger voice behind policies and regulations that support the long-term viability of one of the last agricultural valleys in Western Washington.
Thank you to the Co-op for supporting sustainable, .local agriculture. SPF is honored to be a recipient of this month's 4% Friday. We hope to see you there! Stop by our table near the cashiers' area from 10-5.
Skagit Valley Food Co-op
202 South 1st Street
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
For more information about the Co-op's 4% Friday, visit the link below.
Skagit Valley Farmworker Housing Trust Advisory Council Adopts New Action Plan — 05/10/2011
The Skagit Valley Farmworker Housing Trust Advisory Council, a regional advisory council for the Washington State Farmworker Housing Trust,recently adopted their 2010-2015 action plan to address chronic housing issues facing farmworkers in Skagit County. SPF Board member Julie Blazek serves on the Advisory Council along with 19 other local Skagitonians.
Visit link »
Bag Rebate Program at The Market at Anacortes Raises Funds to Support SPF's Mission — 03/24/2011
When customers bring in a reusable shopping bag to The Market at Anacortes, they may choose to donate their nickel rebate to Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland.
According to The Markets LLC, their Anacortes Market has raised more money in the last three years, than any other store--more than $7,000. Thank you to all who have participated in the program in support of SPF's mission to protect Skagit agriculture ! Every nickel counts!
Support SPF's 2010 Challenge Grant through Year-end Giving and Gifts of Membership — 12/10/2010
A Message from Allen Rozema, SPF Executive Director
You make a difference as a member of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland!
With your support, SPF serves as a respected voice for Skagit agriculture – a voice that is strengthened by your generosity and commitment to keep one of the world’s richest and most productive valleys viable and intact forever.
Even with economic challenges over the past several years, your trust and confidence have made it possible for SPF to advance its mission through public awareness programs and the protection of key farmlands. SPF’s accomplishments are the direct result of your support! This past year alone our small but mighty organization made great progress.
With the leadership and support of Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, SPF saw the unanimous passage in both the state House and Senate of SB6211, which designates nearly all of I-5 through Skagit County as Washington’s first Agricultural Scenic Corridor.
In partnership with Eddyline Kayaks and Skagit Farmers Supply, SPF redesigned our popular Crop Identification Signs, making it easier for residents and visitors to see and learn about what’s growing in the Skagit Valley, and easier for our volunteers to maintain.
Talking Fields, a new educational program for the community created in partnership with Washington State University’s Northwestern Research & Extension Center (NREC), launched last spring. Two pilot sites are operating, one at WSU’s NREC in Mount Vernon, and one at the Mesman dairy farm near LaConner. Our goal is to develop up to 15 sites by 2012 with programming about the unique environmental conditions, generational farm history, crop information and artisan traditions of the Skagit River Valley.
Thirty-two acres of prime farmland, strategically located at the Conway freeway interchange, were protected in SPF’s number one priority area, the I-5 corridor south of Mount Vernon. SPF was pleased to support this latest project of Skagit County’s Farmland Legacy Program (FLP). Since 2008 SPF has partnered with the FLP to protect more than 204 acres in this critical corridor. Overall more than 7,000 acres have been protected in Skagit County!
I hope you agree that SPF members are key to sustaining and strengthening our impact on preserving the Skagit River Valley’s agricultural stability and longevity. Members are literally the backbone of our organization, beginning in 1989 with five local farm families who joined together to establish Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland. Today SPF supporters
This holiday season, I invite you to make a difference once again by supporting SPF’s 2010 Membership Challenge. A generous donor has pledged a $15,000 challenge grant to encourage both existing members to increase their giving and new memberships. Here’s how you can help SPF meet the challenge:
An increase of $100 or more from your 2009 year-end gift or from your previous membership contribution to SPF will be matched 100 percent.
Give a gift of membership to SPF, starting at just $25, and encourage others to join. All new membership gifts will be matched 100 percent.Family, friends and colleagues who share your support for sustainable, local agriculture would love to be members of SPF!
With your support the Skagit River Valley will continue to play a vital role in the Puget Sound’s delicate balance of beauty, tranquility and fresh, local and safe foods—providing sustainable sustenance for the region and the world.
Thank you for all that you do! On behalf of the SPF board and staff, I wish you a very safe and happy holiday season.
You may donate securely online at the link below; mail contributions to SPF, PO Box 2405, Mount Vernon, WA 98273; or call the office at (360)336-3974, weekdays, 8:30am - 5 pm.
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. We never share donor information with other organizations.
September 25th Harvest Dinner & Auction Features Local Food, Chefs and FUN! — 09/10/2010
Don't miss the chance to dine on a delicious dinner of local foods from the Skagit Valley, bid on fantastic auction items, and help protect Skagit agriculture at Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland’s 12th Annual Celebrate Skagit Harvest Dinner & Auction on Saturday, September 25, 2010 at St. Joseph Center, 215 N. 15th St., Mount Vernon.
The evening of "Diamonds & Denim" begins at 5:30 pm with appetizers and champagne, two silent auctions, entertainment and the opportunity to go Digging for Diamonds. Guests will have a chance to win a 1/2 carat diamond pendant, custom designed and donated by Burton Jewelers, valued at $2,000, or equivalent shopping spree at Burton's.
As the live auction gets underway with Emcee Rebecca Stevenson, chief meteorologist at KIRO TV, a distinctive four-course dinner will be served featuring the fall bounty from the Skagit Valley, prepared by guest chefs Thomas Palmer, Palmer's on the Waterfront in LaConner and Oyster Creek Inn in Bow; Martin Hahn, Culinary Arts Program, Skagit Valley College and former co-owner of the Black Swan in LaConner; and Greg Atkinson, cookbook author, chef instructor at Seattle Culinary Academy and former executive chef at Canlis in Seattle.
Many local farms, businesses, restaurants and community members are contributing to the annual dinner and auction, which celebrates the fall harvest and the bounty of fresh local foods from the Skagit Valley. Proceeds will benefit the work of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland to protect and enhance Skagit agriculture and the responsible stewardship of farmland.
Call today to reserve your seat for $70, which includes a champagne welcome, appetizers, dinner and wine. Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland: 360-336-3974. Live auction preview will be posted on the website after September 17 at www.skagitonians.org.
Special thanks to SPF's generous 2010 sponsors: Aztec Self-Storage; Bellingham Cold Storage; Charlie’s Produce; Concrete Nor’west; Darigold; Dunlap Towing; Fisher & Sons, Inc., a division of Fisher Companies; Frontier Bank – Union Bank; HKP Architects; Land Title & Escrow Company; Osborne Seed Company, LLC; Pat Rimmer’s Les Schwab Tire Centers Burlington; Peoples Bank; Skagit Farmers Supply; Skagit River Steel & Recycling, Inc.; Skagit Transportation, Inc.; Washington Bulb Company, Inc.; Washington Red Raspberry Commission; Whidbey Island Bank; and Windermere Skagit Valley.
SPF Launches New Crop Identification Signs in Partnership with Eddyline Kayaks and Skagit Farmers Supply — 06/10/2010
MOUNT VERNON, WA—If you travel through FirIsland and around LaConner this summer, you’ll see more than potatoes, cauliflower and pumpkins sprouting in SkagitValley’s farm fields.
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF), in partnership with Eddyline Kayaks and Skagit Farmers Supply, has launched a new version of the popular Crop Identification signage program that began as a volunteer effort 15 years ago. One hundred new signs made of plastic and aluminum will be placed along the original three signage routes, each featuring the name of the crop against a vibrant green background.
“I’m sure we’ve all driven by a field in the Skagit Valley and asked ourselves what was growing there,” said Lisa Derrer, co-owner of Eddyline Kayaks. “Now you will know. The Crop Identification program is a visible, fun and educational way of connecting people to local agriculture.”
Longtime conservation volunteer Bob Knowles started the program in 1995 to satisfy a desire to know more about food crops being grown in the SkagitValley. SPF became more involved in the program five years ago and Derrer now volunteers as the crop sign coordinator.
“Over the past 18 months SPF has been working to revitalize the program by working with community members to redesign the signs with new graphics, color and lettering,” said Allen Rozema, SPF executive director.
“We also wanted to create signs that would make it easier for volunteers to transport and change them out as crops rotate around the valley,” said Rozema. “Between the manufacturing and design expertise of Eddyline Kayaks and the use of standard off the shelf materials, we’ve achieved our goal to create an excellent signage system that should bring great visibility to Skagit agriculture and make it easier for our volunteers to maintain. We are so grateful to Eddyline Kayaks and Skagit Farmers Supply, and to the community, for their support of this important program.”
Lisa Derrer’s involvement stems from a personal attachment.
"Growing up in a farming family gave me a deep love of land and its stewardship,” she said.
“My involvement with SPF’s Crop Identification Program is a small way I can help to nurture an interest in agriculture and its importance to our community."
“Skagit Farmer’s Supply is pleased to support this program and its goals to bring more visibility to the diversity of crops grown in the SkagitValley,” said Ken Kadlec, general manager of Skagit Farmer’s Supply, “and to raise the awareness of agriculture as a valuable economic base of our community.”
Over time, Rozema hopes to extend the crop identification program from Conway to the Chuckanuts, throughout the more than 60,000 acres of the Skagit and Samish River Deltas as well as east of Sedro-Woolley.
For more information about the SPF Crop Identification Program, call 360-336-3974 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A Call for Inspiration” -- Participate in Designing the New Gateway to Skagit County Sign — 06/09/2010
What imagery represents the true essence of SkagitValley? A 2010 Leadership Skagit team wants your ideas about what makes our valley unique. This Call for Inspiration is open to everyone interested in helping inspire the design of a new Scenic Agricultural Corridor sign being installed on both northbound and southbound Interstate 5 shoulders just after you enter SkagitCounty.
Remember that feeling of “I’m home” as you crest the hill at Starbird Road or Bow Hill? Leadership Skagit’s Team Freative, with the collaboration of state, county and local governmental agencies and non-profit organizations, is creating signage to welcome locals home and help tourists return to our pictorial valley.Be part of this historic gateway landmark by summiting your design ideas.
With the passage of Senate bill 6211, I-5 through SkagitCountyis now a designated Agricultural Scenic Corridor. Along with this designation, the 2010 Leadership Skagit Team Freative, consisting of Kate Bratches, Kathy Larson, Jill Rohrs, Scott Sutton and Anthony Young, took on this project and has gained governmental and community support and funding for this gateway signage.
One organization to make a significant difference in the passage of SB 6211 is Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF). “The designation of the State’s first Agricultural Scenic Corridor will have an enormous impact on the way people view and value SkagitValley and the natural resources, beauty and quality of life that SkagitValley represents” says Allen Rozema, Executive Director of SPF. “Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland is pleased and excited to work with this Leadership Skagit Team on the first project of this new corridor, a gateway sign to notify travelers they are entering one of the State’s most treasured places.”
The Leadership Skagit Team will receive matching grant funding from SkagitCounty to help cover the costs of the signs. Additionally, the cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon have both contributed to this project; Anacortes’s contribution is pending. Sharon Dillon commenting on behalf of the three commissioners, “We all know that feeling of home when we enter the Valley.The Skagit County Commissioners are proud to be part of this Leadership Skagit project that will show the pride we all have to live in a valley that is so rich in agricultural benefits to the state.” The Skagit Council of Governments (SCOG), Skagit County Chamber Executive Directors Association (SCCEDA) and various other organizations have also been important supporters of this venture.
The ten foot by ten foot signs will not only welcome visitors into our stunning valley, but an area on each sign approximately six feet by nine feet will include a mural or artwork depicting the intrinsic values and iconic images that make this scenic agricultural corridor truly unique.
This Call for Inspiration is open to everyone who may be interested in helping inspire the design of the signs including artists, farmers, naturalists, teachers, students, retirees, scientists, graphic designers, architects, and you! Groups and families can get involved too. Children are encouraged to provide input as well. “We welcome ideas from everyone. It would be exciting to see families or classrooms take this opportunity to explore the characteristics of our valley that make SkagitValley stunningly unique,” said Jill Rohrs team member of Leadership Skagit.
Drawings and ideas can be submitted in either hard copy, paper and pencil sketches, crayon, water colors, etc. or electronic formats (jpg, tif, pdf, ppt, doc, or rtf). Finished artwork/products are not expected. A committee from various government and community organizations will make the final design concept selection. Installation is anticipated later this year.
Submissions are due no later than Wednesday June 30, 2010. They can be delivered to the Leadership Skagit office at:
Should you have questions about this project or the “Call for Inspiration”, please call LS Team Member Kathy Larson at 360-941-2019.
Skagit Valley's First Talking Field! — 05/27/2010
SPF is pleased to announce that Skagit County's first "Talking Field" site is up and operating. This pilot site will be the first of many sites around Skagit Valley. Visit link »
Spring 2010 News Bulletin — 04/22/2010
The Spring 2010 News Bulletin is now available! Visit link »
Barnard Griffin Winery Supports Charity Tie-in with Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland --Wine with Tulips on the Label Welcomes 2010 Skagit Valley Tulip Season — 03/17/2010
RICHLAND, WA: March 17, 2010: Famously known for the bed of tulips graphic on its labels, Barnard Griffin wines has produced retail point-of-purchase materials to be displayed at select wine retailers in Whatcom and Skagit counties of Washington state in support of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF).
This area is famous for growing tulips and its spectacular Tulip Festival celebrations each spring. A portion of the proceeds from March and April retail sales of Barnard Griffin wines in Whatcom and Skagit counties will benefit this non-profit organization dedicated to preserving SkagitValley as a working agricultural region and landscape; by protecting farmland and by promoting and supporting farming as an economically viable way of life.
Point-of-purchase displays in support of this charitable tie-in can be found at participating wine retailers in Whatcom and Skagit counties including Top Food/Haggen.
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland's mission is to ensure that Skagit farming remains a permanent part of the region's identity for the benefit of: the local economy and residents whose livelihoods depend on the land; Puget Sound citizens and visitors who enjoy the natural beauty of a pastoral landscape; waterfowl, raptors, salmon, and other wildlife that depend on the managed farm landscape as habitat.As an advocate for Skagit farming, SPF recognizes that without a strong voice, Skagit farmland will be inevitably lost, acre by acre, farm by farm. SPF has become the recognized authority for protecting farmland and farming in the SkagitValley.
"We're pleased once again to support this organization that does so much to maintain an important agricultural area of our state, says Rob Griffin, owner/winemaker of the Barnard Griffin winery. "We celebrate the beauty and productivity of the area."
"Barnard Griffin is a staunch supporter of the Washington state agrarian community as well as Skagitonians To Preserve Farmland," says Allen Rozema, Executive Director of SPF. "We greatly value their continued support and partnership over the years to keep SkagitValley farming."
WINE SPECTATOR Magazine selected Barnard Griffin's 2008 Riesling (90 Points) as one of the Top 100 Wines for 2009. WINE SPECTATOR publishes this list each year with what it considers the year's "most exciting wines."
This year's successes again underscore Barnard Griffin Co-owner Rob Griffin's mastery of this
varietal, among others, as his interpretation of Rose of Sangiovese has won a gold medal or
better for the fifth year in a row. The influential SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE Wine Competition
is the largest competition for American wines in the world and features all significant types and
styles of wine, from each major wine-producing region in the United States.
Thus far, Barnard Griffin has received major recognition for many of its wines, demonstrating continuing leadership in Washington state-produced wines. Winemaker Rob Griffin says, "It is exciting to make small batch artisanal wines that are generating such recognition, proving once again WashingtonState is one of the great wine-producing regions in the world."
About Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland
Founded in 1989 by farming families, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland's (SPF) mission is to ensure the continued viability of SkagitCounty agriculture and its required infrastructure. As a membership-based organization of more than 600 supporters, SPF works to protect and preserve farmland through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. www.skagitonians.org
About Barnard Griffin
Barnard Griffin is a family-owned winery in Richland, WA and the fourth largest in the state by volume. Co-owners Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard have been garnering international acclaim under the Barnard Griffin label since 1983, and Rob Griffin has been making exceptional wines in WashingtonState since 1977. Barnard Griffin produces more than 70,000 cases per year including Barbera, Cabernet-Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Ciel du Cheval Merlot, Fume Blanc, Late Harvest Muscat Canelli, Malbec, Merlot, Orange Muscat, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rosé of Sangiovese, Semillon, Syrah, SyrahPort, Viognier, and Zinfandel.
Barnard Griffin produces two labels; both available through retail stores, wine clubs and online wine venues. The Reserve Label wines are crafted in very limited quantities from the best vineyard lots in the region, using European, French and American oak. Barnard Griffin's signature Tulip Label wine, one of WashingtonState's most recognized wines, is available across the country.
Barnard Griffin selects its grapes from throughout Washington's Columbia Valley including Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, RedMountain, Columbia Gorge and other AVA's. Barnard Griffin works with small family growers and favors long-term contracts with dedicated acreage for vineyard continuity and quality. The winery is a strong supporter of wine tourism (Oenotourism) in the state, and is an important stop on any tour of Washington's best wineries.
Barnard Griffin is the only winery in the that contains a glass arts studio producing artisan works of fused glass. The glass artist is Deborah Barnard co-owner of the winery. Glass works are on display in the tasting room.
Governor Signs Agricultural Scenic Corridor Bill — 03/10/2010
On Wednesday, March 10, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill establishing an Agricultural Scenic Corridor from Starbird Road through Bow Hill Road on Interstate 5. The bill, which was passed unanimously by the Senate and House, now sets the stage for the community to come together to create a corridor management plan that could protect and enhance the natural qualities of the corridor and reinforce the value of the SkagitValley to the economy and ecology of Puget Sound.
SPF is excited about the potential for this designation as it provides one more tool in the toolbox to help protect farmland.
SPF has been successful in partnering with Skagit County's Farmland Legacy Program over the past two years to leverage public and private donor dollars to protect farmland along the I-5 corridor, south of the Mount Vernon city limits. The designation as an Agricultural Scenic Corridor brings the potential for increased federal funding to Skagit County for protecting more farmland in this critical corridor.
"A special thanks goes to Senator Mary Margaret Haugen and her staff ,along with Representatives Morris and Quall for helping make this legislation happen," said SPF Executive Director Allen Rozema, "along with all of you who called and advocated for the successful passage of this bill. The designation of an Agricultural Scenic Corridor in Skagit County will help increase the awareness of the long history and value of family farming in this area, and the importance of preserving the features that give our region its rich character.”
Agricultural Scenic Corridor Bill Passes the House of Representatives — 03/02/2010
SB 6211 designating I-5 through most of SkagitValley as an Agricultural Scenic Corridor has passed the House unanimouslyon Sunday, February 28. Now it’s off to the Governor’s Office for signature. Thank you for supporting this bill! Congratulations everyone!
Visit link »
Winter 2010 Bulletin — 02/11/2010
Check out our Winter 2010 Bulletin!
Remember to call your State Representative and ask them to vote YES on SB 6211. Visit link »
Agricultural Scenic Corridor Legislation Passes the Senate — 02/05/2010
The Washington State Senate unanimously passed SB 6211 on Friday, February 5th. We now need your help to call your State Representative to ask them to support and vote YES on SB 6211.
Visit link »
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland is pleased to be working with Senator Mary Margaret Haugen in creating what could become the first designated Agricultural Scenic Corridor in WashingtonState.
Senate Bill 6211 would designate nearly all of Interstate 5 through Skagit County, from Conway Hill (Exit 218) to Bow Hill (Exit 236), as an Agricultural Scenic Corridor, setting the stage for the community to come together to create a corridor management plan. Such a plan would protect, enhance and reinforce the natural qualities of the corridor and reinforce the value of the SkagitValley to the economy and ecology of Puget Sound.
There is no state funding associated with this legislation. It only sets the stage for a future opportunity to create a corridor management plan that would establish voluntary guidelines and measures for protecting and enhancing the corridor.
Once a corridor plan has been adopted, the community will become eligible for new and additional sources of federal funding from the federal scenic byway program for projects within the corridor, including new federal funding for the purchase of development rights to permanently protect farmland.
SPF is excited about the potential for this designation. It will provide one more tool in the toolbox for protecting farmland. SPF has been successful in partnering with SkagitCounty’s Farmland Legacy program to leverage public and private donor dollars to protect farmland along Interstate 5. The designation as an Agricultural Scenic Corridor brings the potential for increased federal funding to SkagitCounty and SPF for protecting farmland in this critical corridor.
You can support SPF this legislative session by contacting your state Senator and Representative and urging them to support this designation. It costs nothing and creates the opportunity for the community to come together in the future to protect the important regional resources that the SkagitValley provides.
See SPF's position on SB 6211 under Publications / Documents on this site.
Twenty-six Acres of Farmland Protected South of Mount Vernon City Limits — 08/01/2009
Skagit County’s Farmland Legacy Program, with assistance from SPF and SPF donors, recently retired a development right and recorded a conservation easement on 26 acres of farmland immediately south of the City of Mount Vernon.
SPF’s Land Protection Committee considered the 26-acres of farmland, owned by John and Sheri DeVlieger, under immediate threat of conversion, as there have been multiple proposals to annex the farmland into the City. The City of Mount Vernon itself was interested in buying the land as a location for its public works department.
SPF’s Board of Directors has set as a priority the preservation of farmland along the I-5 corridor in Skagit County. “Protection of this 26 acres of farmland will reduce the City of Mount Vernon’s ability to sprawl onto Skagit Valley’s precious farmland and will alleviate development pressure and price speculation on farmland immediately south of the protected property,” said Bob Hart, SPF Board President and Chairman of the SPF Land Protection Committee.
“Preserving farmland is important to keep agriculture viable especially for farmers like us that farm along the I-5 corridor where there is extreme development pressure,” said John DeVlieger. “We were grateful to be able to work with the Farmland Legacy Program and SPF to retire our development rights in order to protect and reinvest in our family farm.”
SPF Executive Director Allen Rozema worked hand-in-hand with the DeVliegers and Farmland Legacy Program Director Kendra Smith over the past year to pull together appraisals and craft the conservation easement that will keep the farmland preserved in perpetuity.
SPF’s participation in this project was made possible by the generous support of SPF members and supporters. At last September’s Harvest Dinner & Auction, SPF’s annual fundraising event, attendees raised $58,800 in 15 minutes to help protect this strategic piece of farmland. Two generous donations along with matching funds designated for land protection contributed to the success of this public/private effort to protect farmland.
Skagit County’s Farmland Legacy Program funds the retirement of development rights on farmland with property taxes, which gives farmers an option rather than selling out to development.
This latest protected farm acreage marks the third time that SPF has partnered with the Farmland Legacy Program to retire development rights, bringing the total number of acres protected by the partnership to 174 acres since 2008. Overall, the Farmland Legacy Program has protected more than 7,300 acres in Skagit Valley since 1997.
“We value our relationship with SPF as we continue to team together to protect strategic farmland in Skagit County,” said Kendra Smith, Director of the Farmland Legacy Program. “Because of the partnership with SPF, we have been able to leverage public and private dollars to maximize protection of farmland from the constant threat of conversion as well as help farmers reinvest back into their farms and keep dollars local.”
The SPF Board and staff would like to thank SPF members and supporters along with the Board of Skagit County Commissioners and the Farmland Legacy Program for supporting the preservation of Skagit farmland and keeping Skagit Valley farming. Thank you!
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Farm Power Northwest LLC Goes Public — 05/08/2009
SPF is pleased to help announce that SPF members Kevin and Daryl Maas just set another milestone with their green business, Farm Power Northwest LLC, a company that will be producing power from methane digesters located here in the Skagit Valley. Farm Power Northwest LLC just received clearance to "go public" and sell investment shares to the general public. You can read about it in their press release located in our "Publication" page under "Documents." While SPF cannot support or endorse investing with Farm Power Northwest LLC (you have to decide that for yourself), we sure support what they are doing to keep Skagit Valley Farming and providing another revenue stream for the struggling dairy industry.
"Protecting a county legacy" -- Skagit Valley Herald — 05/03/2009
Watch the 2-minute video from The Seattle Times.
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SPF Supports Bill (EHB 1967) to Protect Farmland — 03/26/2009
SPF is supporting EHB 1967 that prohibits the expansion of Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) onto the 100-year floodplain. With over 65,000 acres of prime farmland located within the Skagit River's 100 year flood plain, the successful passage of this bill will stop the commercial development of over 1,500 acres of prime farmland surrounding the City of Mount Vernon.
This bill, which is first and foremost a flood protection and flood damage reduction bill, has the secondary benefits of reducing urban sprawl and protecting prime farmland not only in Skagit Valley, but in most of western Washington as well.
The Board of Directors of SPF urges you to call your Senators and ask them to pass this bill as currently written. A contact list for State Senators can be found at the link below (cut and paste in your browser).
You can find a copy of EHB 1967 as well as the Senate Bill Report on our Publication Page under Documents.
Please consider supporting this bill!
SPF Agrees to Suspend Wetland Mitigation Bank Appeal; Signs Historic Settlement Agreement to Secure $1.45 Million for Skagit County Farmland Development Rights and Prohibit Future Wetland Mitigation Banks on Skagit Farmland — 03/13/2009
The Board of Directors of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF) has approved a historic and precedent-setting agreement that calls for the mitigation of farmland slated for conversion to a wetland mitigation bank.
The approval came at the SPF Board meeting on March 11, 2009 after almost six weeks of negotiations with Clear Valley, LLC, the proponent of the wetland bank to be constructed on approximately 396 acres of farmland in the Nookachamps basin.
The settlement over time provides payments up to $1,450,200 to Skagit County’s Farmland Legacy Program to fund the purchase of development rights on agricultural lands to offset Clear Valley’s conversion of farmland to a wetland mitigation bank.
The settlement also calls for the permanent protection of 220 acres of farmland that Clear Valley still owns; and the permanent prohibition of any future wetland mitigation banks on prime agricultural lands within Skagit County.
On January 27, 2009, SPF filed a Notice of Appeal with the Skagit County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to appeal the Skagit County Hearing Examiner’s decision that favored converting 396 acres of farmland into a private commercial wetland mitigation bank. The hearing examiner’s decision was made on January 23, 2009, after nine days of hearings spread over 10 months.
Since filing its Notice of Appeal, SPF agreed to meet with Clear Valley in the interest of finding a solution to a prolonged litigation battle that, in the end, would not have served the best interests of Skagit Valley and its farming community.
“While the best short term outcome would have been to halt the project, the long-term costs and impacts would have been too great,” said Bob Hart, SPF Board President.
There was the likelihood that the farmland now owned by Clear Valley would be sold off as residential building lots if the wetland mitigation bank was not constructed. In addition, SPF and other agricultural groups would be forced to appeal and litigate each future wetland mitigation bank proposal.
“The focus on long-term policy guided the SPF Board in its deliberations and negotiations on the settlement agreement,” said Hart: “We chose to focus on what would be in the best interests of Skagit Valley agriculture over the next 10, 50 and 100 years.
“SPF could have continued to pursue stopping the current project from being built, but we would have failed to address the long-term issue and impact of placing commercial wetland mitigation banks on farmland.”
The settlement establishes a precedent for the long-term preservation of farmland in Skagit Valley, rather than a short-term victory over a single land use action. The current loss of farmland is mitigated so that additional farmland may be protected. In addition the proposed amendment to Skagit County’s zoning code assures the Skagit agricultural community of a change that prohibits wetland mitigation banks from being built on agricultural lands in the future, all of which supports SPF’s long-term strategic goal to permanently protect our Valley’s remaining critical mass of farmland.
The terms of the settlement agreement stipulate that SPF’s appeal to the BOCC will be stayed for a period of 60 days to allow time for the BOCC to consider and adopt a permanent ordinance that deletes private wetland mitigation banks as an allowed use on lands zoned as agriculture. Prior to the signing of the settlement agreement the BOCC adopted a 6-month moratorium for wetland mitigation banks on farmland, demonstrating their commitment to the protection of Skagit Valley’s critical mass of agricultural lands.
If the BOCC adopts the Permanent Ordinance deleting wetland mitigation banks as an allowed use on Ag-NRL zoned lands the following actions will take place:
1. Clear Valley will make payments to the Skagit County Farmland Legacy Program that will over time provide approximately $1,450,200 to fund the purchase of development rights on agricultural lands to offset the conversion of farmland within Clear Valley’s project site; and
2. Clear Valley will place agricultural conservation easements on the remaining 220-acres of farmland that they own; and
3. SPF will withdraw its Notice of Appeal to the BOCC.
If the BOCC does not adopt a permanent ordinance prohibiting wetland mitigation banking on agricultural zoned lands, the settlement agreement will be voided and SPF will resume its appeal to the to the BOCC.
Moving forward, SPF pledges to continue working for the successful adoption of a county and statewide “no-net loss” policy for agricultural lands.
“The erosion of farmland must end if we want to preserve for those who will follow us a productive agri-ecosystem that grows delicious, safe, secure food and provides critical habitat from more intensive urban use,” said Hart. “The agricultural heritage and quality of life that we enjoy today in the Skagit Valley are a testimony to the hard work of many and SPF is committed to preserving both.”
A Fact Sheet on the Wetland Mitigation Bank Settlement Agreement is available under "Publications / Documents."
SPF Announces New Officers, Recognizes Retiring and New Board Members — 02/12/2009
The Board of Directors of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF) elected officers, recognized two retiring board members for their service and welcomed two new members at its February meeting.
New President Bob Hart most recently served as SPF's Vice President and chaired its Land Protection Committee. Bob also chairs the Office of Farmland Preservation Task Force, an 18-member group appointed by Governor Chris Gregoire that provides statewide guidance for farmland preservation efforts in Washington State. A former Skagit County Commissioner, Bob is a producer of vegetable crops and nursery stock and owner of La Conner Flats. He joined the SPF board in 2004.
Vice President is Darrin Morrison, co-owner of Morrison Farms in Mount Vernon. Darrin has served on the SPF board since 2005. Treasurer Peggy Flynn owns Flynn and Associates in Anacortes and is in her fourth year on the SPF board and second term as treasurer. John Roozen, who joined the SPF board in 1991, will continue as Secretary. He is Vice President of Operations for Washington Bulb Company, Mount Vernon.
Alan Mesman, co-owner of Mesman Dairy, an organic dairy farm in La Conner, served as SPF's President for the past four years. He has been a board member since 2000.
Two retiring SPF board members were recognized for their combined 19 years of service: Mac Madenwald, a retired orthopedic surgeon from Anacortes, and Bud Egbers, retired farmer and founder of Skagit Valley Trucking, from Mount Vernon.
Joining the board are Tim Knue, Mount Vernon, and Sandy Swartos, Anacortes. Tim retired in 2008 after teaching 27 years at Mount Vernon High School. An agriculture educator, he is a former state of Washington Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year. Sandy is an owner of Steam Interactive, providing sales and marketing and graphic design services.
"We are fortunate to have such an awesome board of directors guiding the critical work of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland," said Allen Rozema, SPF Executive Director. "It is a privilege to work with all of them and I appreciate the talents they bring to help fulfill our mission.
"We thank Mac and Bud for their wonderful contributions over the years and look forward to keeping them involved with SPF. A special thanks goes to Alan Mesman for his commitment and leadership as president over the past four years."
Founded in 1989 by farming families, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland’s (SPF) mission is to ensure the economic viability of SkagitCounty agriculture and its required infrastructure through farmland protection, advocacy, research, education, and public awareness.
SPF Appeals Decision to Create Wetland Mitigation Bank on Farmland — 01/28/2009
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF) has appealed a recent hearing examiner's decision that favors converting a 396-acre former dairy farm in the Nookachamps basin to a private commercial wetland mitigation bank. The appeal , which will go to the Skagit County Commissioners, comes after a hearing process that spanned nine days over ten months and included 201 exhibits and 27 witnesses.
"The hearing examiner's decision is disappointing as it perpetuates the fallacy that converting agricultural land is the solution to solving our community problems related to growth and urbanization," said Allen Rozema, SPF's executive director.
"Farmland continues to be looked at by county and city planners, elected officials and developers as first choice to increase their tax base and to replace critical habitat lost to subdivisions, parking lots and urban runoff. Skagit farmers have been stewarding their land for generations, providing food that feeds our families and our nation, providing wildlife habitat for thousands of shorebirds, waterfowl and raptors, and helping keep the watershed so healthy that the Skagit Watershed is the only one in the state with a steady and secure population of all six salmon species."
SPF acknowledges that mitigation is a well-accepted practice than can assist in maintaining critical natural resources and holds promise in easing the administrative burden placed on regulators and developers to mitigate for the destruction of wetlands, but the organization disagrees that wetland mitigation banking is providing an ecological lift claimed by many advocates.
Wetland mitigation banks merely “relocate” wetlands from one part of the county to another and transfer the ecological services of those wetlands from one area to another. Wetland banks are only “holding the line” ecologically—they are not adding to the ecological base. Development impacts are not mitigated where the impact is occurring, but transferred to farmland where the pressure increases to grow more food on less land.
"Our Board of Directors understands that in order to have an agricultural industry in Skagit Valley 100 years from now tough decisions need to be made today that stop the conversion of farmland to other uses," Rozema added.
"The SPF Board is committed to protecting every precious acre of farmland left in Skagit County. That includes holding our elected officials accountable for supporting land use decisions that favor the long-term survival of agriculture. Our appeal gives the County Commissioners the opportunity to review the project against the agricultural protection policies and rules currently in place, which to date have failed to be reviewed and considered."
Happy New Year — 01/02/2009
Wishing all of our members and supporters much happiness and joy in 2009! Thank you for helping us accomplish so much in 2008.
We Need Your Help! Be a part of SPF's InFARMation Radio Team — 10/06/2008
What is InFARMation Radio?
InFARMation Radio is a small remote controlled highway advisory radio transmitter accessible by motorists and travelers along Interstate 5 (I-5) in Skagit County. The InFARMAtion Radio transmitter is programmed to inform travelers about local agricultural activities and seasonal events in the Skagit Valley. Signage along the Highway and along roadways in the Skagit County encourages travelers to tune into the InFARMation Radio Station (AM 1630). SPF is the owner/manager and provides the ongoing operational fiscal support. Washington State University (WSU) and Skagit Valley College’s KSVR Radio Station donate in-kind staff time to assist with programming.
InFARMation Radio’s success is entirely attributable to and dependent upon the generous support of community volunteers who are actively engaged in writing, recording and operating the remote transmitter. This is truly community radio for and by the community.
How you can help:
Become a part of the InFARMAtion Radio Team, a volunteer group of dedicated people who are having fun learning about this great valley and sharing what they learn with thousands of traveling motorists each and every day.
For a complete description of volunteer opportunities associated with InFARMAtion Radio please go to the Publications page and download “InFARMation Radio.” You can read through the volunteer opportunities for this program, the estimated time requirements for each opportunity, and determine which opportunity is right for you.
Thank you for your continued support!
Hedlin Farms Honored with 2008 Vim Wright Stewardship Award — 10/03/2008
SPF Board Member Dave Hedlin and his family were honored this fall as the 2008 recipient of the Vim Wright Stewardship Award by the non-profit organization Farming & the Environment. Congratulations to Hedlin Family Farms on this outstanding recognition!
10th Annual Celebrate Skagit Harvest Dinner & Auction Raises More than $147,000 -- Thank You! — 09/29/2008
More than 300 Skagitonians from all over Skagit Valley, Puget Sound and from as far away as California, came to our Diamonds & Denim dinner and auction to help raise more than $147,000 to protect one of the greatest food producing valleys in the world. Even more incredible was the $58,800 raised to permanently protect farmland south of Mount Vernon. And with an anonymous donor agreeing to match this amount, Skagitonians have made a significant contribution to halting sprawl on prime farmland along the I-5 corridor. The SPF Board wants to thank all of our members, sponsors, supporters and volunteers for your generosity and support. Together we will keep Skagit Valley, a regional and national treasure, farming for generations to come. Thank you!
Local Agriculture Featured on KUOW FM 94.9 Sept. 15-19, 2008 — 09/12/2008
KUOW, the local news public radio station for Seattle, will be featuring local agriculture the week of September 15, 2008 during its Morning Edition and All Things Considered segments. All five segments can be heard on http://www.kuow.org/specials/sweetearth.php Anne Schwarz of Blue Heron Farms is featured on the Farmer - Stewards segment.
Mount Vernon--"Eat the Skagit," a weaner pig to go and grow, a week's getaway to San Jose del Cabo in Baja, and two Eddyline kayaks are just a few of the fabulous items available at Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland’s 10th Annual Celebrate Skagit Harvest Dinner & Auction , which takes place on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008 at St. JosephCenter, 215 N. 15th St., Mount Vernon.
The evening of ‘Diamonds & Denim” begins at 5:30 pm with appetizers and champagne, two silent auction, entertainment and chances to stake a claim for a ‘Diamond in the Rough.’ Blue jeans and bling-bling (jewelry) attire is encouraged.
As the live auction begins at 7 pm, a distinctive 5- course dinner will be served featuring fresh, local foods from the Skagit Valley, prepared by distinguished chefs Thomas Palmer, Palmer’s in La Conner; Martin Hahn, Culinary Arts Program, Skagit Valley College and formerly co-owner of the Black Swan in La Conner; Nicole Holbert, Café Adrift in Anacortes; and Robert Zutter, Star Bar in Anacortes.
Many local farms, businesses, restaurants and volunteers are contributing to the annual dinner and auction, which celebrates the fall harvest and the bounty of foods from the SkagitValley. Proceeds benefit Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland.
thanks to this year’s sponsors: Darigold,Fisher & Sons, Linde Insurance, Puget Sound Energy, Herman Rose, ShoreBank Pacific, Skagit Farmers Supply, Washington State Potato Commission, Frontier Bank, Osborne Seed Company LLC, Peoples Bank, Scholten’s Equipment, Skagit State Bank, Skagit Valley Publishing, Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company, Washington Alder LLC, Washington Bulb, Anacortes Financial Associates, Business Bank of Skagit County, Calico Cupboard, Charlie’s Produce, Farmers Equipment Co., Food Services, Inc., Northwest Farm Credit Services, Pacific Woodtech Corporation, Pat Rimmer’s Les Schwab Tire Centers Burlington, Shell Puget Sound Refinery, Skagit Valley Food Co-op, Smith and Morrison Farms, Windermere Real Estate, Anacortes and Mount Vernon, Aztec Self-Storage, Lervik Engineering.
Reserved seating is available at $65 per person or $520 for a table of eight. For reservations or more information, call Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, 360-336-3974.
The Local-Organization-You-Might-Want-To-Be-Involved-With this week is the Skagitonians To Preserve Farmland http://www.Skagitonians.org This local, non-profit, membership-driven outfit (SPF) was founded in 1989 and lots of you sport the bumper sticker …”Pavement is Forever”. There are over 600 members, a 17 member Board of Directors, and a small staff. The fundamental mission is to ensure the economic viability of Skagit County agriculture and its required infrastructure through farmland protection, advocacy, research, education and public awareness. SPF also promotes consumer demand for Skagit Valley products. Besides the bumper sticker, other widely visible programs include the nifty crop-identity signs along the fields, the InFARMation Radio broadcast you can tune into along I-5 and surrounding areas, and the recent several-month photographic display at the Skagit Historical Museum – the beautiful “Harvesting the Light.” Farmland Protection and Environmental Stewardship are also significant strategies of the SPF and sometimes result in a hearty tug-of-war! Successes have often required significant collaboration, negotiation, education, and civic-mindedness. Many of you have probably already participated in some of these. The best way to get involved is to spend some time on the website and get a good understanding of this group. Then join up with a monetary donation and also by paying attention to issues that arise in our NaturalSkagit that affect farmland and farming – take the time to understand all sides and make your opinions heard. Help where you can. There is also a volunteer opportunity – the Crop Sign program wants to be expanded and needs folks to pitch in and help with that, maybe help get some signs installed over in the Samish River fields too. Give them a call at 360 336 3974 and offer to help – a great way to Dig In!
Washington State Department of Agriculture Releases Working Paper — 08/20/2008
The Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) releases working paper on agricultural lands in Washington State
Download and read the working paper from our "Publications" page.
SPF Submits Comments to DOE on the proposed rewrite of the State's wetland mitigation banking draft rules. — 08/13/2008
Download SPF comment letter on the "Publications" page
SPF and Skagit County's Farmland Legacy Program join forces to protect 109 acres — 08/13/2008
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF) and Skagit County’s Farmland Legacy Program (FLP) joined forces once again to protect 109 acres of farmland south east of Mount Vernon.
The farmland contains two certified development rights totaling $460,000 or $230,000 per development right. In partnering with the Farmland Legacy Program SPF has agreed to pay one-third of the total cost to protect this land with the remaining two-thirds coming from federal grants and the Farmland Legacy Program.
SPF’s participation in the purchase of the development rights was made possible by two very generous donations from the Osberg Family Foundation and the Lucky Seven Foundation
The Farmland Legacy Program will hold the easement which means SPF will not need to set aside funds for easement monitoring and enforcement. One hundred percent of our donors’ contributions are protecting farmland in perpetuity.
SPF believes in the power of partnerships and collaboration and works hard to match our donor’s dollars whenever possible. The partnership with the Farmland Legacy Program has enabled SPF to match our private donors’ support with federal funding, as well as with the funds generated through the County’s conservation futures easement program, which supports the Farmland Legacy Program.
This marks the second conservation easement project south of Mount Vernon that SPF and FLP have worked together on this year. SPF first partnered with FLP, the Osberg Family Foundation and the Lucky Seven Foundation to permanently protect 39 acres within the City of Mount Vernon’s proposed commercial expansion area.
You can see a map of our recent conservation easements by going to our "Publications" page.
Farm Power Northwest L.L.C. moving forward with manure power — 08/13/2008
SPF members and supporters Kevin and Daryl Maas are moving forward with plans to construct a manure digester in Skagit Valley.
Their project will turn cow manure into electricity to power up to 600 homes. Puget Sound Energy has announced they will buy the power from the Maas brothers once the power plant is operational. Construction is slated to start this fall.
SPF is proud to advocate for this green, sustainable alternative energy company that will help Skagit Valley's dairy industry.
See the most recent KOMO 4 news clip on our "Publications" page and visit their website at http://www.farmpower.com You can also click on the link on our "Community Partners" page.
Mount Vernon City Council Rejects Mayor's UGA Expansion Plans — 05/29/2008
Thank you to everyone who wrote their city council representative and packed the hearing room on May 28, and to the 20 well-prepared farmers, residents and others who spoke passionately in opposition to the City's desire to apply to Skagit County for Urban Growth Area expansion on agricultural lands. The City Council voted 6 - 1 to reject the plan for at least a year.
Your voice made the difference, and SPF appreciates your support!
Farming for Wildlife story on Northwest Cable News Network — 04/30/2008
Featuring a unique collaboration between SPF and The Nature Conservancy