The Methow Conservancy has worked with willing local landowners since 1996 to permanently protect nearly 1,700 acres of irrigated farmland and another 1,700 acres of open rangeland in the Methow from Pateros to Mazama.
In recent years, however, we have heard increasingly from our community that protecting farmland from development may not be enough to ensure a vibrant, viable future for our farmers and farming landscape. We recently created an Agricultural Program, with the intent of better understanding the needs of our local farms and ranches, and the hope to begin exploring ways in which the Methow Conservancy could offer meaningful support to our farming community.
Here are just a few of the ways we will be supporting local farms in 2017:
Online Directory of Active Methow Farms
Looking for ways to source more farm-grown products? Soon we will have a webpage with a comprehensive list of active Methow farms, whose products are available through a variety of retail outlets, or directly off the farm. Product offerings are delicious and diverse: including local meats, eggs, honey, grains, veggies, fruits, fiber, milk, cheese, and a variety of value-added products.
Matchmaking Methow Farmers and Landowners
Access to affordable farmland in the Methow Valley is a struggle for our local farmers. And like most challenges, our producers tackle this one creatively. Many of our Methow farmers and ranchers don’t aspire to own all of the land they work. Instead, they often own a core farmstead, reaching out from there and creating a patchwork of formal or informal lease arrangements on lands nearby.
We see the real and tangible opportunity to help our local farmers expand and strengthen their patchworks of working land. We have begun creating a database of willing landowners who would like to explore the possibility of actively supporting a local farmer and strengthening our valley’s foodshed. If you are such a landowner, we encourage you to follow this link or to contact Alyssa directly at email@example.com.
Volunteer Farm Corps
Beginning in May, we hope to provide two volunteer opportunities each month, for the engaged eater who wants to help a local farmer with a planting, harvesting, weeding, mulching, or fencing project of some kind. In exchange for a morning of volunteer labor, the local farm will make a donation of produce to a local community organization. Please stay tuned for upcoming opportunities!