For those of you who have been following the somewhat limited and not overly public goings on at the former WSU Extension site on 78th Ave. here is a link that will get you up to speed on the county's proposed plan for the site.
WSU 78th Street Master Plan
This proposed plan has had and will have opportunities for public comment. If you want to give your input on what this site will be used for, please check the web site above for upcoming meetings. I imagine you could also contact Clark County sustainability coordinator, Pete Dubois, for more info.
Pete Dubois (360)397-6118 ext. 4961 or email him at pete.dubois at clark dot wa dot gov
Current proposed uses include:
* 6 acres hosting several hundred community garden plots and a community certified kitchen
* 15 acres of organic Community Supported Agriculture 'incubators', and a working farm
* 25+ acres of wetland conservation, watershed stewardship and forest conservation & habitat demonstrations, including research opportunities and demonstration agroforestry projects
* education opportunities for public schools and colleges in ecology, agriculture, and sustainable forestry as well as sustainable business management
* continuing education, research and demonstration of sustainable systems, including construction, farm scale land use practices, and 'cradle to cradle' food systems
* community open space and recreational opportunities, heritage education
* a clear vision that honors our past while embracing a future that gives our children a knowledge and vision of how to thrive
Sounds great? Right? I think so too. I hope things move along out there. I really like the idea of hundreds of additional community garden plots and a certified community kitchen. With the way the economy is moving, having a facility like this could go a long way towards helping the families of our community feed themselves.
There is one proposed use that isn't mentioned on the county's web site that I have some issues with....the establishment of another farmer's market. I'm not saying the idea doesn't have merit, but don't we have several farmer's markets in the county that already suffer from a severe lack of participating farmers? I'm not counting the large farms from out of state that set up shop at the Vancouver "Farmer's" Market. I'm talking about farmers who are living and working here in Clark County or at least in SW Washington. I also think the folks that operate the existing farmer's markets might have some valuable input on the concept of creating yet another competing market that could possibly be subsidized by county funding. I've always felt that farmer's markets best serve their community when they are located in areas that are well suited for pedestrian traffic and convenient to neighborhoods. I wonder how the idea of a market on the commercially oriented, heavily trafficked 78th Street, which would essentially require folks to drive there, fits in with a model of sustainability?
Another thing that troubles me is the shared use of the land by community gardeners and CSA Farmers. I would think there would need to be a rather strict set of guidelines in place to deal with disease control to prevent community gardeners from potentially transmitting pathogens to the CSA plots. Maybe I'm just thinking about this too hard though...
Despite my musings, this is shaping up to be one of the greatest projects Clark County has undertaken in recent memory in my humble opinion. I look forward to see how things develop out there.
If you're looking for an opportunity to check out the site first hand, don't forget about the FREE permaculture workshop & work party taking place at the 78th Street site on March 21st.