Port Townsend, a solid food network

We could never have imagined such local development when we arrived on the last weekend of October in Port Townsend. Unknown to us a few hours before crossing the border, we are friendly welcomed by Sonya, involved in the local group 20/20 and we are invited to participate in two days of meetings and conferences around Economics of happiness. Wonderful timing, but what is the economy of happiness?

Large subject that took over throughout the weekend different themes, different issues. At the center of these two days was the documentary Economics of happiness and the director Helena Norberg-Hodge was present as a speaker. There is certainly more to be explored and documented about these two wonderful and healthy days of information, thinking and meeting. In this context, we could take a time with the local group in place. You can find on the website the article corresponding to the local group 20/20.

A local food tour and a panel of speakers to understand the local dynamics.

Let us briefly introduce the organizations present in the territory and show you the creation of a sustainable local food system resulting from a strong weaving of people and organizations working in this field.

FARMER’S MARKET

jefferson county marketEvery Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning, in summer, there is the local market in Port Townsend with more than 70 stands. In winter, it is present only on Saturday morning and has about thirty stands since local production is slowed down. Fruits, vegetables, handmade soaps, wooden toys, medicinal herbs, cheese, meat, coffee … and all from local farms and artisans, everything is well represented, the day we are there.

There are more than 110 farmers market in 88 towns and villages in Washington State that are connected by the farmers market association, WSFMA. Created in 1979, aims to support and promote the farmers market in a sustainable way. These markets generated more than $ 44 million in annual sales, supporting hundreds of small local farms, producers, ranchers and artisans.

local currency farmers' marketWe discover at the market a stand that allows to buy the local currency of the market to be able to buy in the stands not taking the card. The market association also allows food aid holders to be able to buy through the card that is given to them in the United States, by doing so the association values their purchase to enable recipients of the aid. to buy products of better quality.

Sunfield farm

sunfield farm waldorfInspired by the ideas of the philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner, this non-profit organization, offers the Sunfield Waldorf School, the Sunfield Farm and an education program on lands with sustainable production that spans more than 81 acres with forest, pond, gardens, estates … These three are intimately interconnected and make sense only together.

sunfield farm waldorf
One of the two classroom, for the younger children

The school, which welcomes more than 30 children of various levels: nursery and primary, offers an academic and holistic education enriched with the rhythms of life on the farm. Each child spends one hour a day at the farm, caring for goats, fetching eggs and looking after the hen house, but also taking care of the garden. There are sheep, their wool has been shorn to learn felting. We had the chance to visit the classes that all consist of a space with musical instruments, DIY space, creation … Children who are in kindergarten also spend every day 2 hours in the forest that are located after the gardens. The farm uses biodynamic principles whose founder is Rudolf Steiner. These principles include a diversity of animals and organic crops with a renewal of soil with farm-produced materials. Harvests are also sold at the farmer’s market and at the food coop in Port Townsend.

There is a whole network of food banks that has existed since 2012 thanks to farms and community gardens. Three of them, Mountain View Food Bank Garden, High School Garden Food Bank and Quangper Grange Food Bank Garden are actively involved in donating part of their production to the food bank network which received financial support from the Jefferson Foundation to start and build a greenhouse. In five years it is more than 20000lbs of food supplies to the poorest people: the elderly and disadvantaged families.

SpringRain FARM

Controlled organic and with more than 28 acres of land. This farm has a large production area: cultivation and wide variety of berries, fruit trees, vegetables, specific crops of tomatoes, eggplants, salad and peppers in four large greenhouses (for the winter period) eggs, turkey, rabbit, duck, lamb. So everything is local, organic and they use the principles of permaculture100% of their production is sold in less than 100 miles around and providing a wide range of healthy, ethical food that meets most nutritional needs.

The SpringRain farm is committed to conservation and cares about the land on which she lives and grows up. The owners are in partnership with various conservation and conservation organizations.

Jefferson Land Trust, a non-profit organization anchored in its territory

Organization of Conservation, the Jefferson Land Trust offers many services to landowners and works with them to choose protection strategies that respect both their conservation goals and needs financial. This is a strong and real entrepreneurship, created since the end of the 1980s, which has continued to develop to encourage the establishment of new farms, local organizations to sell their products in the local.

Community-driven, natural heritage conservation priorities are established with the input and partnership of stakeholders: local citizens, organizations, business and government partners. This work would not be possible without volunteering. Several axes have been developed for several decades: protection of farms, restoration and protection of fauna and flora, protection of forests, educational program through workshops, activities related to schools.

Finnriver Farm and cidery

finnriverFarm family that has grown and develop its business through local weaving. Finnriver farm received financial assistance from LION to develop the cider house. They are also involved with the Jefferson Land Trust in save the land program, acting in the conservation of farmland and restoration of natural habitat. They are also developing educational activities in this direction and is part of community collaboration in Jefferson County.

Novelty and new dimension taking part in this food system: Platform Vinder

vinderCreated the last February to develop a community network selling vegetables and fruits between individuals. It is a web app where every person who has an abundant garden can add his productions online. People who do not have a garden can buy online for less money and move to the gardener’s home to look for vegetables or fruits. It creates a link, makes discover and buy cheap local products. A good way to promote the local economy and sustainable agriculture.

 

Through these different presentations, we notice that collaborative work is put forward from conservation to the protection of natural and agricultural heritage. All aspects play a key and integrating role in the local food system of Port Townsend and Jefferson County.

 

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