Washington Farmland Trust’s stewardship program directly supports the health of our conserved farms, because we know that simply protecting farmland from future development is not enough to ensure it remains viable and productive into the future. After all, healthy farms invest in our soil, water, and habitat – creating resilience in the face of a changing climate. Productive farmland feeds communities, builds economies, and provides a livelihood for farmers.
Healthy farms benefit us all
At Washington Farmland Trust, we understand the many constraints that farmers face each day, from finding and affording land to adopting new practices. That’s why we have no one-sized-fits all approach. Instead, we trust farmers to determine what’s best for their individual farms, and work to support their efforts through the following core activities:
Keeping Land in Farming Forever
The core tenant of our stewardship program is to ensure that the natural resources on our conserved farms are protected, to keep the land in farming forever. To carry out this promise, we follow best practices set by the Land Trust Alliance, including maintaining strong relationships with landowners and farmers, visiting properties at least annually, developing stewardship plans, and addressing any issues as they arise. We have been recognized as an accredited land trust by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, and work to share our expertise locally and with partners across the country.
Promoting Sustainable Practices
In order to ensure the land we protect thrives into the future, we support farmers in their efforts to improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and soil health on their farms. We provide a variety of resources and assistance, ranging from volunteer restoration and connections with technical advisers to our micro-grant program, Advancing Farm Sustainability. With each of these efforts, we rely on local Conservation Districts, cost-share programs, and other partnerships to implement our shared goals of sustainable land management.
Community Engagement & Volunteering
In order to engage our community around the importance of local farms, we host a range of on-farm events throughout the year. We partner with farmers to host community celebrations, virtual and small group farm tours, as well as hands-on, educational events. Currently, we also collaborate with partners to host volunteer work parties that support farmers with gleaning and harvesting. We hope to offer more restoration and planting parties as well emergency response support for BIPOC farms in the years to come. All of these efforts help advance our shared goals of creating healthy habitat and connecting people to their local food sources. On-farm events and volunteering efforts are also great opportunities for farm businesses to raise their profile and engage new customers.
Partners make our work possible
To sustain a future for farming in Washington, we convene with farmers, local government, Tribal representatives, electeds, and other community stakeholders to build strategies for regional farmland protection and access. Below are a few of the many partners that make our stewardship work possible.