We protect and steward threatened farmland, and keep land in production by making it accessible to a new generation of farmers.
Local farms are essential to our daily lives. Investing in Washington farmland means healthy food for our children, thriving rural economies, and fertile, productive soil. Simply put: farms make our communities better.
But the future of farming is threatened. Over the last four decades, some of Washington’s best soils have been irreversibly lost to development. In the next ten years, 70% of local growers will retire without a successor in place, and new farmers face countless barriers to accessing land, from affordability to systemic racism and discrimination. As land prices skyrocket and climate change threatens our landscape, we are working to protect farmland, support farmers, and chart a new path for the future of farming in Washington State.
We see farmland conservation at the nexus of many important issues, from rural economic development to local food production and climate change. By working in partnership to protect farmland and prioritizing the needs of local farmers and the community, we are creating a more sustainable and resilient future for our state.
We are a statewide organization, prioritizing farming communities based on a set of conservation criteria. We conduct technical mapping to understand where soil quality is highest, and use factors like development pressure and climate impacts to help us identify the most urgent threats to farmland. We typically protect farms in close proximity to one another in order to strengthen the fabric of the rural communities where we work. Threatened farmland sometimes needs direct intervention to ensure it stays available for future generations of farmers. We use tools in different combinations, depending on the context and needs of each specific project. Each tool ensures the permanent protection of farmland.
Through our Farm to Farmer program, we help farmers find the land opportunities they need to grow their businesses, and help landowners sell or lease their land to keep it in farming. We offer personalized technical assistance to current and aspiring farmers, farming and non-farming landowners, veterans, real estate agents, and organizations looking to expand their incubator or agricultural park programs, which are areas set aside specifically to encourage continued farming operations.
By protecting farmland forever, we are creating access and affordability for a new generation of farmers. By removing development potential from farmland, the purchase price becomes much more affordable — often by as much as 50%. With access to land being the number-one hurdle that new and beginning farmers face, we aim to address this barrier by protecting land and making connections to land opportunities through our Farm to Farmer program.
Land is the foundation of our food system. We need your support to sustain a future for farming in Washington before it’s too late. Join us.