Sound Tenure Alternatives for Small Farms
Alternatives to conventional lease/ownership of farmland is required to advance small farm business resilience in King County. Investments, like infrastructure and soil fertility, becomes a viable option for farms when there are opportunities for long-term leases and the possibility of building equity in the land farmers depend on.
Building on the success of the Experience Farming Project (EFP) and the Working Farmland Partnership, SnoValley Tilth will develop and pilot an alternative land-tenure model that allows farmers to invest in the land they lease, for the good of their businesses and the health of agricultural land, without traditional land lease or purchasing. This project addresses the needs of farm businesses at a pivotal stage when they are ready to grow but cannot find affordable farm land in King County or stable leasing options. SnoValley Tilth will also invest in infrastructure improvements to accommodate the growing number of farmers at this second EFP farm in the Snoqualmie Valley, where the pilot program will take place.
Mary joined KCD in late 2015 and currently serves as Senior Manager for the Regional Food System Program. Mary came to KCD from Cascade Harvest Coalition, a non-profit which she founded and directed since 1999. Mary brings more than three decades of passion, experience and expertise in natural resource management, agricultural economics, and food system development. Mary coordinates the KCD Regional Food System Program, including Strategic Initiatives and Food System Grants, with the goals of making an enduring contribution toward strengthening King County’s food economy. Mary’s education includes a BS in Political Economy of Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from Montana State University, Bozeman. Outside of work, Mary enjoys hiking the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her yellow lab, Libby, and photography.