Land as a community resource
Imagine a plot of land dotted with heirloom fruit trees, native plants, and rescue animals who wander the property and bring joy to the local children who visit often. The land is peaceful and has been stewarded with care by an owner who has dedicated her life to public service. What if I told you that this land was not in a rural community surrounded by other farms and open space, but rather, tucked right in an urban neighborhood, only a mile from the highway below?
Washington is home to more than 35,000 farms, and many of them are in urban settings, including 3,630 plots used for P-Patch programs around Seattle. Just this year alone, we’ve heard from 30 farmers who are interested in farming in King County. Paula Deutsch’s farm sits on 6 acres in the city of Tukwila, just outside the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, and will be conserved later this year with the hope of it being a community resource for years to come.
Since our founding, we have worked hard to protect and steward the most threatened farmland in our region, conserving 30 farms to date. In the last five years, we’ve broadened our mission to include land access in the vision for sustaining a future for farming – making sure that even the most marginalized in our community have the same opportunities to get on the land and grow food. Today, a new body of work is emerging as we consider not just access to land in rural communities, but ways we can create opportunities for people to grow food on land in urban areas, too. Because after all, productive land is a community resource that we all deserve.
Paula’s farm is one of many innovative projects we are exploring in order to extend our impact to more communities throughout Washington. As always, we are taking time to listen and learn as we go, and continue to balance our emerging work with the many conservation projects we have in the pipeline and the land matches we have underway through our Farm to Farmer program.
“I believe in the Trust’s mission, and am inspired by their work,” said Paula in an interview this spring. “I never wanted this place to be developed because it has so much to offer. I’m so thankful it will stay a farm forever and can be a place where future farmers in need can grow food for their community.”
Our 23-year track record of protecting land and supporting farmers has led us to a place where we can trial innovative new approaches to meet the varied and complex needs of our community, but we simply cannot do it alone. Will you consider a gift to ensure more people have access to land and local food throughout Washington?
Your donation will help support our foundational work of protecting farmland while allowing us to create more equitable and inclusive opportunities for a new generation of farmers. Thank you for your partnership in this work.