Doubling the Pace of Farmland Conservation: A Message from Karen Westwood, Board President

Mid Valley Farm by John Gussman, local farmland in the process of being conserved — forever!


In 2010, Friends of the Field, a beloved Sequim nonprofit focused on conserving farmland, merged with the North Olympic Land Trust, another trusted nonprofit located in Port Angeles with a focus on conserving working lands and habitats on the Peninsula. From that moment onward, North Olympic Land Trust has continued to permanently protect working farmlands across Clallam County. To date, 23 farms are conserved forever.

I am the current Board President for the Land Trust and came to learn about the Land Trust through Friends of the Field. I love living in Sequim because I know who grows my food, how it’s grown, and that my food is local. Watching prime farmland being converted to other uses is an unfortunate loss for our entire county. One stat I continue to ponder comes from the USDA, which noted that in Clallam County there was a 27% decline in acres of farmland between 2012 and 2017. This fast loss of farmland is why the Land Trust’s Board of Directors recently approved a 10-year strategic goal of doubling our farmland conservation pace. You’ll be happy to know, that our commitment to conserving important wildlands and habitats has not diminished and instead fits perfectly alongside our increased farmland conservation goal.

The board worked closely with Tom (the Executive Director), conservation staff, and a specially formed farmland conservation committee made up of farmers and experts in our community, to strategize how best to double our pace in farmland conservation. We crafted a plan that increases staff time and resources, works directly with farmers, and partners with external organizations to meet this ambitious goal. I’m happy to share that the conservation staff has already identified a number of farmland projects poised for permanent conservation.

Many of you are aware that this year we’re looking to conserve not one but two farms: Mid Valley Farm and Dungeness Hub. These two working farms have incredible conservation value because of their location, prime soil, access to water, and infrastructure. I couldn’t think of two better farms to kick off this 10-year strategic goal of doubling our farmland conservation pace. You can read more about Mid Valley Farm and Dungeness Hub here.

I am deeply passionate about all of the Land Trust’s efforts with a particular love for supporting our local farms, which is why I make a second donation to every farmland campaign. Please consider joining me and many of your neighbors in supporting North Olympic Land Trust. Together we will conserve more farmlands, working lands, and habitats.


Celebrating the conservation at River’s Edge – on farmland that would later be purchased by Dungeness Valley Creamery.