The South of The Sound Community Farm Land Trust’s acquisition of the 147-acre farm in Rochester is a tremendous victory for Thurston County’s local food system.
It’s tough for farmers that grow on leased land to establish a secure and long-lasting business when the future of the land they grow on is uncertain. Buying land is incredibly difficult for small farmers who may have barely enough to pay for their overhead costs.
Based on data collected by Thurston Regional Planning Council, by 2035 Thurston County is expected to have a population of 370,000 people (in 2010 the population was approximately 250,000). As more people move to Thurston County, new developments and housing are built to support the new residents.
From the Community Farm Land Trust website: “In the five-year period from 2002 to 2007, we have lost nearly 50 percent of our remaining working farmland.” If available farmland continues to decrease, county residents will be dependent on food sources trucked in from far away.
It’s crucial that Thurston County residents and government continue to support the efforts of projects such as Sustainable Thurston and The South of The Sound Community Farm Land Trust. With a strong eat-local movement and an increasing number of local farms, preserving farmland is key to creating a more sustainable Thurston County.