Org News

2022 Organizational Celebrations

This year, our organization continued to grow our staff and board, moved forward complex conservation projects that ensure farmland stays in agriculture forever, and significantly expanded our efforts to support farmers with land access opportunities across the state, particularly those from historically marginalized groups. The year continued to challenge us with hybrid work and the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but our team stayed laser focused on our mission, one another, and the communities we aim to serve. 

Advocated for reducing land access barriers and improving public grant programs

To kick off the year, we participated in Lobby Day with the Washington Association of Land Trusts. We attended and spoke at a listening session with Congresswoman Kim Schrier and House Agriculture Subcommittee Chair Stacey Plaskett at Remlinger Farms, and hosted a farm tour with Representative Marilyn Strickland at Oyster Bay Farm to discuss priorities we would like her to champion in the next Farm Bill. 

Served more communities through Farm to Farmer

This year, the Farm to Farmer team focused on building authentic relationships by centering curiosity with our farmer and landowner clients and partner organizations. Through conversations and collaboration, we learned so much about how to make our program more accessible and are determined to continue to serve more communities and create greater access to collective farmland ownership.

Collaborated with community partners on Latino Conservation Week

We were honored to participate in Latino Conservation Week at Seward Park this year alongside folks from the Seward Park Audubon Center, EarthCorps, Latino Community Fund of Washington, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Guests participated in hands-on activities from a mushroom demonstration to designing bird houses and going on a guided bird hike. 

Welcomed three new staff members 

We were thrilled to continue growing our team this year, bringing on a new Conservation Manager, Operations & Finance Manager, and Farmland Project Manager. 

Hosted virtual farm tour on Wild Hare Organic Farm

In our virtual tour via Instagram Live this spring, farmers Mark and Katie Green shared their story, favorite crops, challenges that they face as farmers, as well as a few close ups of their local veggies. Guests also learned about the conservation of Wild Hare from our Associate Director, Hilary Aten.

Hosted our first in-person Love the Land event

After two years of virtual programming, we hosted our first in-person Love the Land event in September. Together we raised $193,000 and inspired our community, thanks to our host Angela Poe Russell, local funk band True Loves, an amazing lineup of sponsors, and our guest speakers – Lillianne Ballesteros of the Latino Community Fund of Washington and farmers Annie Bailey and David Haakenson.

Conserved Pink Moon Farm

With the help of our partners at the Pierce Conservation District, the Washington State Conservation Commission, and the Pierce County Conservation Futures Program, we officially conserved Pink Moon Farm in Eatonville, bringing our total conserved acres across the state to 3,036. Pink Moon Farm was started in 2016 by Grayson Crane, who supplies high quality products to the local community through a CSA and direct market sales, including Icelandic sheepskins and yarn, eggs, grass-fed lamb, and a diverse array of organic vegetables.

Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion within our board 

Building on the work to operationalize our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion within and among our staff, we began the process of expanding our board and board committees in hopes of better representing the communities we aim to serve this year. In addition, our board formally launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force, focused on helping board members understand, embrace, and incorporate DEI values and objectives into WFT’s core mission.

Hosted our first Friends & Farms Fun Run

In October we hosted our first ever Friends & Farms Fun Run at Four Elements Farm in Puyallup. The day was filled with important conversations, joyful movement, delicious food, laughter, and connection. Forty of our community members ran or walked a 5k, and we heard inspiring words from WFT staff, farmers Amy and Agustin, and co-founder of Club Seattle Runners Division, Ashley Davies, about equity in farming, food, and fitness spaces. 

Joined the Land Trust Alliance Leadership Council 

In September, our Executive Director joined the Land Trust Alliance Leadership Council, which functions as a forum for dialogue, collaboration, and innovation amongst top conservation leaders in the country. The Council serves as an advisory body to Land Trust Alliance management and Board of Directors on strategies and emerging issues in the land trust community.

Shared our first Impact Report 

This year, we revamped our typical roundup of key milestones and financial reporting into a new and improved Impact Report, which also includes an “Accountability” section, featuring our commitments and progress toward creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization and sector. 

Deepened our work to support a healthy floodplain in the Snohomish Basin 

We are excited to continue our partnership with Snohomish County and the Washington State Department of Ecology through the Skykomish Community Floodplains Solutions Program, where we will be working with landowners and partners in the Snohomish Basin on integrated floodplain protection and farmland conservation efforts. 

Helped ensure the success of a conservation and land access program

Alongside our partners, we lobbied and helped secure funding for the Farmland Protection and Land Access Program (FPLA) through the Washington State Conservation Commission, a new fund that aligns with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission’s FarmPAI program, both of which launched this year. Together, these programs aim to serve the dual purpose of permanently protecting high-quality farmland and facilitating access to land for next generation farmers and ranchers.

Adopted a 36-hour work week 

To honor the work-life balance of our staff, we formally adopted a 36-hour work week in 2022. We now close our office at 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. 

Sold the Harman Farm, completing our first Buy-Protect-Sell transaction 

In 2015, we conserved the Harman Farm, 44 acres of high quality tillable fields, wooded areas, and habitat along the Carbon River. With the support of Pierce County, we have been working hard on investing in the stewardship of the land, including protecting floodplain habitat and evolving the water right on the property to better serve fish habitat and agricultural goals. This fall, we sold the property to a local, multi-generational farming family who has been leasing the property for several years, successfully completing our first full cycle of a Buy-Protect-Sell transaction. Special thanks to Pierce County’s Conservation Futures and Stormwater Water Management programs for their partnership on this project!

Thanks for all of your support this year! We’ll see you again in 2023.