Our Regional Food System - It's time for a major build-out.
Tell your local officials!
The Biden Administration has recognized that part of the post-pandemic rebuilding effort has to be a revitalization of regional food systems and is committing resources to support small and medium-sized farmers, ranchers and food processors. Both the city and the county are developing priorities for spending nearly $200 million of new federal dollars they are receiving, part of the American Rescue Plan, in the coming months. With a boost of funding to upgrade food system infrastructure combined with increased access to technical support services and capital, local producers will enable our region to more independently fulfill the dietary needs of future generations.
Here's a writing assignment for you:
Imagine you're face to face with a local decision maker like the mayor, a City Council member or County Commissioner. Imagine you have this one chance. In 600 words or less, what would you say to them about investing federal funds in the future of our food regional system? Where should those dollars be targeted?
Folks, Make Your Voice Heard - Weigh In on Spokane's Draft Sustainability Action Plan
This is crucial: Your input as well as your support for the DRAFT Sustainability Action Plan for the City of Spokane will help ensure that it is adopted and implemented by City government. The plan, compiled by the Sustainability Action Subcommittee of the Spokane City Council, if adopted, would update the City's 2009 sustainability plan. It makes many bold recommendations for strengthening the Spokane regional food system and supporting local agricultural production.
For the first time, this draft plan emphasizes the local food system as an integral part of meeting the City's sustainability and climate goals. Let’s not wait another ten years to make these important changes a reality. Please make your voice heard, show support for the recommendations and help the process by suggesting improvements where needed.
Add your name to our letter to Spokane decision-makers
This wonderful video was produced by Friends of the Bluff, a community group of volunteers formed in 2010 to be stewards of the High Drive Bluff Park in Spokane, WA.
Preserve the Historic Kampa Farm in Vinegar Flats/Latah Valley
Ever since October when representatives from several conservation organizations, the landowners, City of Spokane officials and a Spokane County Commissioner gathered at the Vinegar Flats farm to discuss its future, a committee has been meeting to assist the City in developing a plan for the City to purchase the land, thus preventing its sale to a developer and preserving it for conservation and agriculture. This committee is called the Latah Environmental, Agricultural and Fisheries Heritage Project (LEAF). On December 3rd, the Spokane City Council voted to include the LEAF Heritage Project in its Tier 1 Legislative Priorities for 2021, demonstrating the City's commitment to the vision of expanding the public trails in the area, restoring the banks of Hangman Creek to better support returning fish populations and putting the farmland back to work growing organic fruits and vegetables for Spokane residents of all income levels.
Spokane area decision makers need to hear from you. They need to hear that you support this precedent-setting initiative. Please sign your name to the Spokane Farmland Preservation Working Group letter!
Save the Kampa Farm from Development.
This is our last chance!
Regular Meetings - First Thursday of each month from 3pm to 5pm. More info...
New: Report from American Farmland Trust:
Farms Under Threat: The State of the States
A brand new comprehensive assessment of U.S. farmland loss by the American Farmland Trust and a Call to Action.
There are many reasons we should
preserve farmland in our community.
Click/Tap to read more under each heading >>
Local food is a valuable natural resource.
Isn't it a miracle how dollars can grow out of the ground in the form of food the same way that dollars are pumped out of the ground in the petroleum industry. The added benefit of local food is that it can mitigate climate change instead of exacerbating it.
Farming and value-added processing provide local jobs.
When a dollar is spent on locally grown food, it tends to change hands with other local businesses which significantly multiplies its value to the local economy. A vibrant local food system contributes to regional economic gain, increased food security and stronger community resilience.
Local food production improves food security.
The availability of local food improves the health and wellness of a community. When a community develops its own food resources instead of depending on imported food or the industrial food sector, it is not as vulnerable to the effects of drought, transportation failures, natural disasters, or other misfortunes. Robust local food production can also make sure people of all incomes have access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other locally produced foods.
Arable lands in production, managed responsibly, provide open space and perform important ecosystem services...
...like wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration. Farms in a community improve quality of life, provide educational opportunities and keep people connected to their food supply and the people who grow it. A vibrant local food system is dependent on the preservation of arable working farmland and maintaining access to that farmland by those who want to farm it.
Local policy is failing to preserve farms and farmland.
Recent examples involve proposals to develop housing units on land within the City of Spokane that is zoned ‘Residential Agricultural’ (RA*) Almost all of the agricultural land in active production in 2019 (about 55 acres) could be covered by these houses and lost to farming forever. One proposal called "Deep Pine Overlook" seeks to build 94 homes on 48 acres of USDA "Prime" farmland in a flood zone adjacent to the already-polluted Hangman Creek. These houses would add a surge of new traffic to a notoriously treacherous patch of State Route 195. Opposition from citizens concerned about the loss of these agricultural resources was voiced at hearings, but developers’ interests are prevailing and construction permits are being approved for these parcels regardless of neighborhood and ecological concerns. Read more about our efforts to find an alternative to the Deep Pine Overlook development.
*"The RA zone is a low-density single-family residential zone that is applied to areas that are designated agriculture on the land use plan map of the comprehensive plan. Uses allowed in this zone include farming, green house farming, single-family residences and minor structures used for sales of agricultural products produced on the premises." –From the Spokane Municipal Code, Section 17C.110.030
We won't preserve farmland until we get serious about it.
The Spokane Farmland Preservation Working Group advocates in favor of the community's desire to protect farmland from development, as reflected in language agreed to in the Comprehensive Plans. The Spokane Farmland Preservation Working Group is developing proposals to achieve more farmland preservation and strengthen the preservation policies governing our region that are currently failing to preserve farmland.