Friday, April 10, 2009

Agriculture is Dead in Clark County? Really? Are you sure?

So I went to the 78th Street workshop last night and all I can say is WOW. What a turnout and what an awesome, intelligent, thoughtful, and community-conscious group of folks who participated. Looks like the TAC report got some heavy support thrown behind it by participants of the workshop (God bless you Deston) and people had all sorts of excellent ideas about how the property could be developed as a catalyst for the future of agriculture in Clark County and yet stay true to the historical, agricultural use of the site. Seems like we've come a long way from the relatively recent comments and reports that agriculture was dead in Clark County. Looks like it's time for a few folks to pull their chair up to the table and eat some crow...

I want to express my most sincere thanks to Commissioner Marc Boldt, the county planning staff, and the many volunteers who helped facilitate last night's workshop. Great job everyone!

And I'd like to let the members of the 78th Street Aggies how much I love you folks for all you did last night and for everything you do for our community every day. I know that many, many of the folks were there last night because of you. You are the lifeblood of the sustainable agriculture revolution taking place in our community. Here's to making the 78th Street site the heart of the revolution!

It was so cool to see folks from the Farm Bureau Clark County agriculture's "Old Guard", earthy young folks, CSA farmers, Master Gardeners, Vancouver Food Co-op members, Tom Wagner of Tater-Mater Seeds (independent plant breeder and educator extraordinaire) and the 2009 Tom Wagner Great Tater Mater Grow Out, the WSU Extension, folks who are just plain passionate about local agriculture and farming, young professionals, folks from the Clark County Food Bank Coalition, permaculture enthusiasts, Clark County's very own cowboy poet Boyd Johnson and ag geeks like yours truly all together and all working towards a common goal.

I am positively stoked about the energy that filled the Gaiser Middle School cafeteria. And at the end of the night, as we all strolled around the room and stuck our dots on the uses for 78th Street that we were in favor of, it was rapidly apparent that we have given our county government and WSU a mandate to develop the site as a center for agriculturally focused sustainability, education, research, community programs, and agriculture/food related recreation & business. development. Woo-Hoo!

We are on the verge of raising the national bar for what community supported sustainability and agriculture means. The 78th Street site has a long way to go before it represents the dreams of the participants in last night's workshop, but we're off to a strong start. Let's keep the momentum going!

If you missed the workshop or if you have never heard of the 78th Street/former WSU Extension/Old Poor Farm site, click on the links below and you can get up speed.


  1. Farm Bureau GroupieApril 11, 2009 at 12:04 AM

    Just a note, up and coming and soon to be amazing is Clark Cowlitz's Farm Bureau website: --- We've just started the Young Farmers & Ranchers program -- here's to the next gen of farmers!

  2. Excellent! You let me know the day it's up and running and I'll make a fuss about it right here @ Clark County Food & Farm. In the meantime, the link to your web site is already live and on my list.

    Thank you to the Farm Bureau and best kudos to the young people who are interested in getting involved in agriculture. Our region has some amazing opportunities to offer you and you will be heading down the path to being one of the most important members of our community. You may have a tough row to hoe early on, but we're behind you 110% and things are looking better for local agriculture all of the time.

    Check back here for information on opportunities for young people to get involved with local agriculture projects happening this summer in and around Clark County. I know for sure that the Tom Wagner Tater-Mater Grow Out and the 78th Street site will both present some unique and wonderful opportunities for you to learn and get dirty!