Priority Conservation Areas Study - 2017
This project culminates on the eve of South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust’s 20th year of incorporation.
With the future in mind, of SSCFLT and of farmland conservation in the South Sound Region, the Priority Conservation Areas Study was generated to serve as a complementary resource for the following:
- identifying areas for targeted project pipeline outreach
- prioritizing acquisition opportunities
- explaining conservation decisions
- matching geographic areas of interest with funding opportunities
- assessing conservation strategies in a changing environment
- overall visioning, goal-setting, and decision-making
The project Study Area includes Grays Harbor County, Lewis County, Mason County, and Thurston County - totaling 294,215 parcels. Within the Study Area, there are approximately 3,900 existing farms. As SSCFLT works to preserve this landscape, the organization plans community outreach strategies, faces difficult choices about property selection, must justify conservation strategies and decisions, find ways to broaden the resource pool for organizational development, and navigate an unpredictable and changing environment due to climate change. This Study will exist as a baseline for understanding the lay of the land today.
From this point, the important values of economic justice, food security, and the celebration of local culture can be incorporated into visioning, goal-setting, and decision-making about the best course for preserving farmland in the South Sound Region.
2017 Priority Conservation Area Study (PDF)
Thurston County Farmland Inventory
From a 1 acre urban garden that produces over 10,000 pounds of food a year to hundred acre parcels associated with dairies or livestock production, Thurston county has – and needs – a diversity of farms and farmers. Farmland provides local foods, local economies, and open space. Future plans for the county define how many new roads, sewers, and schools will be needed, but what about farmland? As Thurston County continues to grow, development pressure on farmland will only increase.
How much farmland is left in Thurston County and how can we work together to protect it? These are the questions that helped guide our recently completed inventory of current and potential farmlands in the South Sound.
The inventory was completed by project leads Lea Mitchell and Jeff Fisher with a grant from the Bullitt Foundation. Most analysis was done with local parcel data and GIS software. The inventory also summarizes recent data from the federal census and other sources. In order to honor data agreements, maps and data at the parcel level is not posted here. The farmland trust will use the inventory to help define and protect farmlands at risk.
Thurston County Farmland Inventory (PDF)