Kitsap County awarded farmland preservation grant

The Washington State Office of Farmland Preservation has awarded Kitsap County with a technical assistance grant of $25,000 for the development of farmland preservation programs.

Kitsap County is one of eight grant recipients statewide.

“Given the difficult economy at all levels of government, we wanted to be able to provide some financial assistance to counties so they can help their local farmers” said Ron Shultz, policy director of the State Conservation Commission.

A primary objective of the assistance grant is to help Kitsap in the development of an Agricultural Strategic Plan for the County and identifying and prioritizing land eligible for preservation.

Work accomplished through the grants will be completed by June 30, 2011.

“Exciting things are happening in Kitsap County in terms of food and farming,” said South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido. “We grow some high-quality foods, and see more variety at community farmers’ markets, grocery stores and restaurants.

“Preserving farmland is important to continuing our agricultural tradition,” she said. “It helps connect people who want to farm with available land — and supports sustainable local food systems now and for future generations.”

Added Shultz, “Agriculture is the No. 2 industry in the state, and with the growing interest in locally produced food, we want to encourage and assist counties in planning for these economic opportunities.”

Three local entities have committed $18,000 in matching funds through in kind and staff donation.

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