Healthy communities need clean air and water, access to nature and food to eat. Agricultural products that are sourced and sold within the island community support the local economy and promote food security. At its inception, the Land Bank recognized the importance of preserving farmland and included agriculture as a component within its wide-ranging organizational mandate.
The Land Bank has two main strategies for protecting agricultural land in the County. We limit development on private lands through the purchase of conservation easements, and we purchase properties that are then leased to local farmers. To date, the Land Bank has protected 1,600 acres of farmland and leases nearly 400 acres to local farmers.
Collaboration and partnerships are a key tenet of successful agriculture, especially in a community dispersed across multiple islands. The Land Bank is proud to have partnered this past year with SJC Ag Guild, WSU Extension, and the Lopez Community Land Trust. We’re also tremendously grateful to the all-volunteer Conservation Ag Resource Team. This diverse group of resource professionals and members of the public collectively contributed 1,000+ hours to develop recommendations for the Land Bank’s largest agricultural investment, Coffelt Farm Preserve on Orcas Island.