Seed swaps strengthen community — and improve produce
Gardening strengthens community ties, along with providing people with access to nutritious, homegrown food. Recently, more and more local gardeners are gravitating to seed swapping to enable access to the best plants for the particular microclimates of this region, yielding the tastiest produce.
Food security requires connection to land, to each other
Feeding communities is particularly challenging now, in the face of systemic upheaval, climate change and uncertainty. San Juan islanders making key connections to build resilience for future food security met recently in an ag summit.
Streamside shade: fish and farm advocates struggle to find common ground
Salmon recovery is a priority for many in Washington who see vegetated streamside buffers as important to salmon-friendly habitat. But some in the state’s agricultural community see the threat of loss of productive farmland from proposals such as the Lorraine Loomis Act discussed earlier in this year’s legislative session.
Community Voices / Nooksack flood, water solutions to protect families, fish and farms will require collaboration
Whatcom farmers are calling for communitywide collaboration in pursuing solutions to flooding and water supply issues in the Nooksack River Basin.
Whatcom farmers face manure management challenges after flooding
Flooding in Whatcom and Skagit counties in November put major stress on local dairies, including lost animals and lost revenues for some. Now there’s another hurdle: With storage lagoons overtopping, where can they store all that manure? Farmers and county and state agencies are stepping up to the challenge, to prevent pollution downstream and restore infrastructure.
Community Voices / Is time running out? Streamflow trends in the Nooksack watershed
Given the high volume of rain and flooding during the past few weeks, it may seem strange to talk about water scarcity in the Nooksack River system. Although the watershed has ample water in the winter (often too much water), it holds too little in the summer to support healthy salmon. Complicating the water supply issue are the adverse effects of climate change.
Small batches, partnerships and goats: family dairies evolve to survive
Whatcom County is one of the top milk-producing counties in the state — and nationwide — but the business of dairy has changed, with increasing costs for land, equipment and labor; new technology; and competition from the world market. But family farms remain in the county — and many are surviving changes in the industry by making changes of their own.
Community Voices / How farmers can fight climate change
Farmers are in a powerful position to help curb climate change, and many locally already are taking steps to do so, note dairy farmer Katherine Steensma and author Stevan Harrell. While this bodes well for the future of agriculture here, there is more to be done to stop “wasting and poisoning the good and beautiful things of the world”: natural resources.
‘Food hub plus’ part of ambitious collaboration to meet housing and food needs
A complex housing and food resources proposal for the Bellingham waterfront aims to employ a fusion of community and economic development in “a once in a lifetime opportunity” to meet local food supply needs — with the help of local farmers and suppliers.
Clock starts on Nooksack basin water rights inventory; stakeholders yet to discuss solutions
Weeks of sparse rainfall and a historic heat wave marked the end of June — and the start of a process to establish water rights among various users in Whatcom County’s Nooksack River basin.
Doing the work of the people: Nooksack adjudication, Billy Frank, Jr., statue and a wrap-up of 40th and 42nd legislator success
How did bills introduced by 40th and 42nd District legislators fare in the session ending on April 25? See an update on the full list: planning for zero-emissions transportation, standardizing definitions around homelessness to help improve services, and more.
A next step to resolve Nooksack water rights waits on legislative budget decision
The state Department of Ecology has announced its intent to resolve the contentious issues around water rights in the Nooksack Basin through the legal action of adjudication, and money to move that process forward is proposed in the budget under consideration by the Legislature.
Local food banks have been addressing a hunger crisis — even before COVID
Even before the pandemic lockdowns caused unemployment to skyrocket, food banks worked to help millions of Americans who were not able to feed their families.
New report details action plan for fixing Padilla Bay fecal coliform sources, urges participation
The Padilla Bay Freshwater Tributary Fecal Coliform Total Maximal Daily Load (TMDL) Report is due to be submitted by Ecology to the Environmental Protection Agency at the end of 2020 and lists fecal coliform bacteria sources and strategies for cleanup.
Community Voices / Nooksack water rights adjudication is an existential threat to farming’s future
Whatcom County farmers say they view water rights adjudication as an existential threat to their future, in their long-term battle to maintain farming as part of the local economy and culture.
Community Voices / Whose water is it in Whatcom County?
This may surprise you: Water, even in wet Whatcom County, is a scarce resource.