Last week I attended the Farm Fish Come Together dinner at Swans Trail Farms in Snohomish. This dinner was hosted by the Sustainable Land Strategy (SLS) of Snohomish County. I have been Co-chair of this group for the last 4 years and every other year the SLS Executive committee host a dinner for farmers, policy makers and elected officials.
It is a powerful time to interact face to face with all the Natural Resource community. At my table were folks from Fish and Wildlife, the Puget Sound Partnership, State Legislator Derek Stanford, Terry Williams for the Tulalip Tribes and Rob Duff from the Governor’s office. The SLS hosts this dinner as meet and greet, because we believe that open dialogue about our limited natural resources between land owners and those that are tasked with managing/regulating the natural resources should find noncombative ways to work together. This is a different approach than what we are seeing unfold in DC or for that matter anywhere politics is in play. But as Dan Bartelheimer, the Snohomish County Farm Bureau President shared with the entire group, “we have more in common than less and most of us are sitting on the same side of the table.” He is absolutely right!
I have been involved in Snohomish County Land use and farmland preservation for over two decades and have donated thousands of hours during that time to imagine a community with farmers farming the land and rivers filled with Salmon. And I earnestly believe, that planning for local farmland, local food and habitat are critical for the future residents of Puget Sound. This is no easy task when you consider the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and water shortages. And add the need for housing, education and mental health, so many compelling and real needs to balance. There is so much to consider and planning is the only way to go forward, but planning built upon relationships and from the ground up is best way to go forward.
And happily, in Puget Sound there is an earnest desire to work together from the farmer to the Governor’s mansion. Collaboration is the key to unlock a vibrant future for local food producers and for local habitat. We can have both and the Sustainable Land Strategy of Snohomish County is hard at work as a nonregulatory advisory committee. And the Farm Fish Come Together Dinner was just one part of this strategy that builds relationships to ensure a vibrant local farm community and the local habitat that make this place so beautiful!
Your Farmer and health advocate