Earlier this year, a concerted 3-year effort culminated in the permanent protection of just over 45-acres of prime farmland west of Burlington along State Route 20, a major east/west commercial highway corridor.
The property, now owned by Viva Farms, is located in one of SPF’s three priority areas for permanent protection – the seven mile stretch of farmland along SR 20 between Burlington and the Swinomish Channel – an area that has been under threat of commercial and industrial sprawl because of its proximity to the City of Burlington, Port of Skagit Industrial Park and the industrial/commercial zone at LaConner Whitney and Bayview Edison roads. In 2013, SPF worked to prevent a crude oil train off-loading facility from being built on over 100 acres of prime farmland within this corridor.
The protection of farmland by Viva Farms marks the first permanently protected farmland along this stretch of SR 20. The property was purchased by Viva Farms as part of their mission to support beginning farmers. The partnership with Viva Farms doubles the impact of this farmland protection effort: it remains farmland in perpetuity, and supports the next generation of farmers being trained and supported by Viva Farms. A true win-win!
The development right extinguished on the Viva property was assessed at $100,000 by Skagit County. SPF donors laid the foundation for this project in 2017 with donor-designated contributions at our Harvest Dinner & Auction totaling over $36,000. The early commitment by SPF donors helped to keep this important at-risk farmland a priority for Skagit County’s Farmland Legacy Program. The County worked tirelessly to see this project completed with a $64,000 contribution from the County’s Farmland Legacy Program.
The latest achievement is proof we’re staying the course.
This latest property brings the total farmland protected in SPF’s priority areas to 510 acres. In 2008, the SPF Board of Directors identified three areas of the most at risk farmland in Skagit County. Since then, more than $1.5 million has been invested in these priority areas by public agencies, private foundations and the members of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland. Of the $1.5 million raised, SPF donors have contributed over $699,200 to date. THANK YOU!!
The mission is far from over.
SPF’s mission is protecting prime farmland from all manner of threats and maintaining it as farmland. Farmland along Interstate-5 is at great risk: the latest example of farmland being converted along I-5 is at Island Crossing near Arlington for more gas stations and convenience stores. How convenient is it to lose our ability to grow our own food domestically? The loss of prime farmland to these other uses cannot be reversed. Scenic vistas are exchanged for sterile strips of fill and pavement and the truly daunting thought is, that once lost, farmland—prime, fertile, precious farmland—cannot be replaced.
It’s all in our name.
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland has made a significant investment in time, money and community goodwill to keep true to its name and mission. We are here to protect this outstanding resource and it is YOU, our like-minded members, who have made every past success and every future goal something worth fighting for.