September 2021—Donate

CFLT Acquires New Farmland!

29-Acre Portion of the Pioneer James Family’s 1852 Donation Land Claim

On August 3, 2021 the CFLT formally purchased from Lori, Gayle and Cheryl James, an approximately 29 acre portion of the pioneer James family’s 1852 Donation Land Claim. Located on James Rd, south of Rochester, the property had previously been owned by John and Blanche James, the grandparents of the recent owners. The James sisters were conscientious stewards of the property’s historical significance and welcome its transition to the Land Trust.

“I believe this will be a great asset to the community.” -Gayle James

“Thankful to be part of the vision of stewardship of the land and the sustainability of vital agriculture and farming for family, neighbors, community and generations to follow.” -Cheryl James

The sisters have strong personal connections to their grandparents’ farm. Gayle James remembers, “Playing for hours in the big old barn that was filled with huge bales of hay, and a big white owl.” Lori James continues, “As children, we had many years of enjoying wonderful times spent with our cousins playing in the barn, sliding down the hill on cardboard, eating giant Wolf River apples from the orchard ‘down over the hill’, walking to the river, and sharing Sunday dinners around our grandparent’s table, sometimes eating wild nettles that were gathered nearby.”

For centuries prior to the arrival of pioneer settlers like the James family, the land was occupied by the Upper Chehalis People. The tribe lived along the shores and tributaries of the Chehalis River, upstream from its joining with the Satsop River, and subsisted on salmon and the resources of the surrounding prairie and forests.

From the beginning, relations between the James family and the Chehalis Tribe were friendly with reciprocal trade and other social interactions. In 1854 when a second wave of European diseases struck the Chehalis, the James family helped care for the sick, taking in the worst cases and providing medicines. In return, the Chehalis granted the James family permission to stay on the prairie as permanent residents. (David A James, 1980, From Grand Mound to Scatter Creek: Homes of Jamestown. State Capital Historical Association of Washington. Olympia, WA. As cited in WDFW, 2020, Scatter Creek Wildlife Area Management Plan, Appendix D, “Scatter Creek history and cultural resources summary”)

To this day, both the James family and the Chehalis Tribe acknowledge their shared history of friendly relationships. “We grew up knowing how indebted the James family was to the Chehalis Tribe for their generosity in allowing them to settle on their land, providing them a chance to create a new life,” Lori James explained.

With this new acquisition, CFLT will continue its mission to keep farmland perpetually in farming and food production. The property will be leased to Common Ground CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The additional acres will allow Common Ground to rotate land out of intensive production every few years, improving soil quality and function. Established in the early 90’s, Common Ground is one of the region’s oldest CSA growers providing community subscribers with weekly or bi-weekly boxes of farm produced goods.

“We're excited to have enough ground to allow for a year-long fallow in a 3- or 4-year crop rotation to build organic matter, interrupt pest and disease cycles, and host beneficial insects,” said Julie Puhich, one of Common Ground’s owners.

Major funding sources for this acquisition include the Thurston County Conservation Futures program, the Tides Foundation and the supporters and membership of CFLT.

CFLT Farmland

Changes at the Community Farm Land Trust

Patrick Rofe resigned his position as the first Executive Director of the Community Farm Land Trust on July 16, 2021. He needed to be nearer family on the East Coast. We thank him for the two and a half years he worked with us. He has left us with a well trained staff who do a fantastic job of outreach, and manage the day to day functioning of the office. In the interim, the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee (Marcie Cleaver, Chair; Al Josephy, Treasurer; Pat Labine, Clerk) is supervising the staff and is sharing financial, acquisition and development responsibilities.

Patrick transformed the Land Trust from a Board led operation to a more efficient organization with a Board of Directors, an Executive Director and a staff working on outreach, events, and development assignments.

He and his staff developed our annual Farm Map into an 80 page, full color publication: Fresh From the Farm Guide, a directory of local farm to table resources. The guide features almost 100 area farms selling directly to the public. Twelve thousand copies of the directory were distributed this year free of charge to the surrounding four counties. We are pleased to offer this public celebration of the rich diversity of our local food producing farming community.

We are excited about our new property acquisition and the number of new Board members who are joining us. In November the Board and interested friends of the Land Trust will gather in a retreat to reformulate the Strategic Plan which will chart the way forward.

We all wish Patrick happiness in his new endeavors, and look forward to meeting the opportunities and challenges offered to the Community Farm Land Trust.

How to Prepare for Emergencies on the Farm

A virtual event presented by the CFLT through a grant from the Union Pacific Foundation

OCTOBER 27 at 6pm

Introducing our Speakers….

Patrick Knouff

Emergency Management Coordinator, City of Olympia.

Nora White

Education and Outreach Specialist, Thurston Conservation District

Don McMoran

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator and Director, WSU Skagit County Extension

Kristen VanValkenburg

AgrAbility Coordinator, WSU Skagit County Extension

Take time out of your busy schedule to prepare your family, farm, livestock, and pets for emergencies, safety issues, and health concerns on the farm including:

  • Urban/farm/residential/wild fires

  • Hazardous materials

  • Transportation

  • Power outages

  • Earthquake/tsunami

  • Civil disturbance

  • Threats

  • Snow

  • Flooding/mitigation

  • Climate/mitigation

  • Severe weather

  • Downed trees

  • Weather data and emergency alerts

  • Water/sewer

  • Well contamination and safety

  • Pandemic

  • Best emergency resources

  • ​Important supply kit items

  • Map your neighborhood and farm

  • AgrAbility: well-being in the workplace and reduce risk of secondary injury

  • Health and mental health resources

  • Suicide prevention​

Stay tuned for more details and links to attend. Contact Carol@sscflt.org with any questions.

RSVP for How to Prepare for Emergencies on the Farm
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The Community Farm Land Trust is a membership-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving farmland and to keeping it farmed forever. Based in Olympia, WA, it concentrates on the areas south of Puget Sound. At present the organization consists of a working board of directors, a 3 person part-time staff, volunteers, and a general membership of about 140. In addition to its new farm acquisition, CFLT has stewardship responsibility for three other farming properties: Scatter Creek Farm and Conservancy, Oyster Bay Farm, and the production ground for GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty) a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working with youth and communities at the intersection of food, education, and health.

CFLT’s mission includes increasing public support for local farming and local food. Each year it produces a 80 page publication, Fresh From the Farm Guide, a directory of local farm to table resources. The guide features almost 100 area farms selling directly to the public. Twelve thousand copies of the directory are distributed annually to the surrounding four counties free of charge.

Copyright (C) 2021 South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust. All rights reserved.

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