Big Wins of 2021
Another year of growth, adaptation, transformation, and learning, 2021 was all about rebuilding and reflecting on our insights from the first year of the pandemic, and growing our team and programs to support more farmers and protect threatened farmland across Washington. In 2021, we conserved more farms than ever before in a single year, began to broaden the imprint of our work to serve more communities around the state, and deepened our organizational commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Here’s a look back at some highlights from the year:
Conserved Dionas Farm on the Buckley Plateau
After working with landowners and partners for years to lay the groundwork for conservation on the Buckley Plateau in Pierce County, we were proud to call Dionas Farm our first project in the area earlier this year. Dan and Kim Dionas purchased the farm in 2015, and have since made significant investments to convert the land from a horse farm to a small-scale, sustainable cattle operation. In addition to upgrading on-farm infrastructure, Dan is working with the Pierce Conservation District to introduce rotational grazing and improved manure management practices. This project was funded by Pierce County and the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Protected two new farms in the Stillaguamish Valley
Since 2018, we have prioritized the Stillaguamish Valley as a priority area for conservation, working in close collaboration with the Stillaguamish Tribe, Snohomish Conservation District, local farmers, and other stakeholder groups to develop a shared strategy for a resilient future in the region. In July, we protected two new farms in perpetuity, Lund and Williams Farms, bringing our total conserved acres in the area to 426. These projects were funded by the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Washington State Conservation Commission.
Surpassed 3,000 acres with the protection of Getchell Ranch
The 94-acre Getchell Ranch sits just a few miles east of the city of Everett, at the center of an island formed by the Snohomish River and Ebey Slough. One of the oldest farmsteads in this area, Getchell Ranch has been in the same family for nearly 150 years. Thanks to our conservation efforts, funding from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, the generosity of many donors, and the life-long dedication of former landowner Alex Getchell Alexander, the land will remain a farm forever — marking more than 3,000 acres protected forever by Washington Farmland Trust.
Welcomed six new staff members
As we strive to keep pace with the growing need for farmland conservation and land access across Washington, we were thrilled to add six new staff members to our team this year. In addition to bringing new perspectives to the organization during a time of growth, we added critical capacity to our Fundraising, Community Engagement, Farm to Farmer, and Stewardship teams.
Grew our Farm to Farmer program statewide
After hearing from farmers from more than 14 counties across Washington about the need for land access support in their communities, we announced the growth of Farm to Farmer this fall to serve the entire state. This growth has been possible thanks to our collaborative network model that relies on the expertise of partners to deliver our program to new regions around the state, as well as the expansion of our program infrastructure through the integration of Tilth Alliance’s Washington FarmLink program into farmtofarmer.org this November.
Hosted our second virtual benefit concert, Love the Land
This September, we hosted Love the Land for the second time, bringing together more than 500 donors and values-aligned corporate partners, one fantastic emcee, three inspiring farmers, and five local artists — Whitney Mongé, Sera Cahoone, Black Belt Eagle Scout, True Loves, and The Decemberists. Together, we raised $254,000 to support the work of Washington Farmland Trust and Viva Farms. It was a night to remember!
Invested in board learning and education
As our board has grown over the years and our organization has committed to broadening our impact across the state, the board expressed interest in deepening their knowledge about the agricultural sectors in Washington this year. Thanks to the leadership of an education task force, the board heard from a fantastic lineup of government, corporate, and agricultural leaders throughout the year: the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Wilcox Family Farms, PCC Community Markets, Charlie’s Produce, and local farmers from Organic Valley and Darigold. This learning process has helped illuminate ways the Trust can advance our mission alongside other regional and statewide partners to sustain a future for farming in Washington.
Laid the groundwork for conservation in Southwest Washington
Guided by our technical mapping work — which overlays natural resource value of farmland on top of threats like rising land costs and climate change impacts — we began building relationships with farmers, landowners, and partner organizations in the Chehalis Basin and in Clark County this year. We look forward to deepening our relationships in these communities in the years to come.
Moved our office to the Bullitt Center
In order to better serve our hybrid office needs during the pandemic and beyond, we moved our office space from downtown Seattle to the Bullitt Center on Capitol Hill this October. Known as the greenest commercial building in the world, the Bullitt Center’s renewable features have earned it a Living Building certification, one of the most rigorous benchmarks of sustainability in the built environment. We are thrilled to work in a building that upholds the same values that we hold so dear, and to share a space with other like-minded organizations. We look forward to welcoming you into the new space as soon as we are able!