In May of 2019, people in Spokane, including many in positions of influence in the city government, were shocked and dismayed by the conditional approval of a permit for a developer to build a 94-unit, high-density gated community on these 48 acres of prime agricultural farmland in Vinegar Flats, a neighborhood of the City of Spokane, much of which, including where this farm is, is zoned "Residential Agricultural" (RA).
Since that time, there has been a concerted effort by individuals and groups to head off the development and come up with an alternative plan that would save this farmland from development.
The Spokane Farmland Preservation Working Group has been a leading voice in this effort and we have offered a unique vision for the future of this land. Our vision calls for this property to become a publicly-owned working educational farm that would be used to produce fresh, organic produce for local consumption, teach urban agriculture and small-scale farming techniques and integrate the property with the surrounding conservation lands and trails system (such as the High Drive Bluffs Park managed by Friends of the Bluff).
Our work is beginning to pay off. On Wednesday, October 28, twenty people representing city and county government and independent conservation organizations spent two hours touring the property and discussing strategies for how to piece together a funding plan for the public purchase of the land instead of it being sold to a developer who would proceed with the 94-unit housing development and forever destroy the productive potential of this fertile farmland (see October 2020 Update on the Vinegar Flats Farm for a write-up of this meeting and our page, Save Vinegar Flats Farmland!, for background information).
Saving the Vinegar Flats Farm will not be easy. Or inexpensive. The owners are eager to sell. They fully support the concept of public purchase but they are not willing to wait indefinitely for a concrete plan to materialize. They have developers waiting in the wings. To save the farm, we will need a plan that will raise the nearly $3 million asking price. The money must come from various sources, public and private. Discussions of how this will happen are underway. We must act quickly!
Here's how YOU can help. Please don't wait. The clock is ticking.
- Add your name to our new, updated sign-on letter to Spokane decision-makers asking them to continue to work diligently to create a funding plan to purchase the farm and endorse the concept of it becoming an urban ag educational farm.
- Donate what you can to the Spokane Farmland Preservation Working Group's Farmland Preservation Fund. Your donation will be added to all the other sources for purchase of the property.
Thank you! We wouldn't have gotten this far without this kind of support from the community.