Welcome board member Jared Mitchell
Jared has worked as part of the Merchandising and Procurement team at PCC Community Markets for the past 12 years. Originally from the east side of the Cascades, Jared has lived in Seattle for more than 20 years and currently resides in West Seattle. Working at PCC and meeting some amazing people opened his eyes to finding ways to be an active part of the community he wants to live in, including being a long-time volunteer with the Farmland Trust. When he thinks about the most enjoyable ways to spend his time, all of them seem connected to the health of our environment and food system. Jared enjoys cooking for his friends and family and spending time on or around water. For Jared, farmland preservation is one way to contribute to a much bigger picture.
What drew you to the issue of farmland conservation?
There were several people I worked with at PCC Community Markets over the years, people who I looked up to, who were deeply involved with the Farmland Trust. That was really my entry to the cause – because volunteer leadership was modeled by co-op leadership. And, I think that the cause is easy to get on board with because farming impacts all of us. I grew up in eastern Washington – the TriCities area of the Columbia Basin – and I observed some of the dynamics of farmland loss there, with open fields being developed into tract housing. While I wasn’t raised in a farming family, I understood how hard the work of farming is – and how it’s an important part of the larger system.
Now, in my professional role on PCC Community Markets’ procurement team, I get the opportunity to prioritize certain values – like trying to support local farmers who are doing the hard work. It has always been true that the co-op thrives because of the connection to small-scale farmers – it’s one of the ways we differentiate ourselves. I’m aware that the food system thrives when we focus on shared values and think long term. When PCC contracts with a farmer to purchase their entire crop, that creates a great deal of security for them. It honors the product, story, and process of growing.
What are you most looking forward to accomplishing or working on at the Trust?
Just this week I attended my first board committee meeting about Farm to Farmer. I’m interested in helping Washington Farmland Trust connect farmers to available farmland – and doing what we can to help farmers with succession planning. For me, the idea behind creating opportunities for BIPOC farmers to have equitable access to land is both fascinating and exciting. I feel strongly that the link between property ownership – the transition from being someone who pays rent on land to being the landowner – is a critical step in creating equity in our farming future.
Is there anything else you want our community to know about you?
I want people to know that you don’t have to be a high-powered person – a doctor, lawyer or executive – to have a positive impact on your community. We can all step up and own our roles as leaders in our community. In joining the Washington Farmland Trust board, I hope to represent a down-to-earth approach to taking action.