Farm to Farmer Network to serve entire state of Washington
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Seattle, Washington | After hearing from farmers from more than 14 counties across Washington about the need for land access support in their communities, Washington Farmland Trust is proud to be growing its Farm to Farmer program to serve the entire state of Washington through a collaborative partnership: the Farm to Farmer Network.
In Washington State, 75% of farmers over the age of 65 do not have a plan to transfer their land to a new generation. At the same time, development pressure, rising land costs, and a long history of systemic racism and discrimination have made access to affordable land a significant barrier for new and beginning farmers. Washington Farmland Trust developed Farm to Farmer in 2018 to address these challenges, and since its inception, has engaged 1,500 farmers and landowners, provided technical assistance to 200 participants, and made 120 connections to available farmland in Pierce, King, and Skagit Counties. In addition to a website where farmers and landowners can share listings and connect with one another, Farm to Farmer helps participants find land, connect with farm buyers, clarify land search and tenure goals, understand financial readiness and financing options, complete due diligence, access education and training opportunities, and more.
Today, with the launch of the Farm to Farmer Network, partners with place-based experience and knowledge will help deliver the program to new geographies across the state, tailoring the program to meet their communities’ unique challenges and needs. The network model allows a small organization like Washington Farmland Trust to support farmers across the entire state, a reality that simply wouldn’t be possible without the place-based approach that the Network relies upon.
“I am humbled to work with such creative, committed colleagues and partners to grow Farm to Farmer to be able to serve more communities across Washington,” said Megan Jenny, Community Partnerships Director for Washington Farmland Trust. “By bringing together our 21 year track record of supporting farmers with the local expertise of our partners, we are able to remain a lean organization, leverage the expertise of experts on the ground, and grow our impact all at the same time.”
Washington Farmland Trust has already piloted this approach with Viva Farms, who has served as the program’s place-based partner in Skagit County since 2019. This fall, Farm to Farmer welcomed two new place-based coordinators who will help bring the program to Snohomish County, Jefferson, and Clallam Counties — the Snohomish Conservation District and the North Olympic Development Council. In addition, Farm to Farmer is collaborating with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WSDVA) to help make connections for military veterans and reserve members interested in farming or transitioning their farmland.
“The Farm to Farmer Network model is really valuable as it gives my team additional tools and resources to provide direct, tailored support to land-seeking farmers and landowners in Skagit,” said Anna Chotzen, Business & Marketing Manager at Viva Farms and the Farm to Farmer Coordinator in Skagit County. “It helps us offer robust land-access services to the farming community in our region, and I’m looking forward to seeing this model replicated in new communities around the state.”
In order to ensure that the program can provide services across the state, Washington Farmland Trust recently hired Emily Trabolsi to serve as a Statewide Coordinator, where she will provide assistance to farmers and landowners in communities without a place-based partner on the ground. In addition, this November, Washington Farmland Trust inherited Tilth Alliance’s Washington FarmLink program, another opportunity for Farm to Farmer to deepen its ability to serve farmers throughout the state. This integration was a strategic decision between the two organizations that not only expands the reach of Farm to Farmer, but helps to streamline the services available to Washington’s farming community.
To learn more, visit farmtofarmer.org.
Molly Goren, Communications Director | email@example.com | 206-777-4053
About Washington Farmland Trust
Washington Farmland Trust is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and accredited land trust that protects and stewards threatened farmland across the state. We keep land in production by making it accessible to a new generation of farmers. Since our founding by PCC Community Markets over 20 years ago, we have conserved 28 farms, totaling 3,039 acres. Learn more at wafarmlandtrust.org.