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County pays homage to its agrarian roots

It’s harvest time again in Kitsap County — at least from now until the last pumpkin is plucked from the patch for Halloween — which means it’s time to celebrate.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Kitsap County commissioners proclaimed the last week of August through Oct. 31 as Kitsap Harvest Celebration time throughout the county.

Supporters say the celebration is expected to raise awareness about local crops, promote local purchases of produce and other farmland wares and preserve the agricultural heritage of Kitsap County.

“It’s a bit of a tradition for us,” said County Commissioner Tim Botkin. “When you look at Kitsap County, it used to be a very agrarian community, but it’s not so much anymore.”

Botkin said farming is still a part of Kitsap’s heritage that should be preserved as such.

“It will take resources, planning and concentrated efforts,” he said.

Angel said the Harvest Celebration holds a special meaning for her as well.

“I grew up in an agricultural family,” said County Commissioner Jan Angel. “You learn as a kid to start judging the skies ... and when we said the blessing at the family table, it truly was felt because you worked so hard to bring that food to the table.”

In addition, a marketing campaign designed to build awareness about Kitsap-grown crops and produce, should be blossoming within the next few weeks as the celebration kicks into a higher gear.

Thanks to a set of matching grants, promotional ads will be placed on Kitsap Transit buses. The slogan is: Look For Puget Sound Fresh — Select Kitsap.

In 1998, a vast group of farmers decided Kitsap County farmlands stood a better chance of being preserved in the changing times, if residents were educated about the resources, said Caryn Robertson, the executive director of the Kitsap Food and Farm Alliance.

“There is a wide variety of festivities,” she said.

Not the least of which is the county-wide open house of farms, farmers markets and businesses. There is also to be a casual barbecue, and both of the events are to be held on Sept. 14.

More information on the annual event and tour should become available by Sept. 1. Those who want more information should check out the Alliance web site at www.kitsapfoodandfarm.org.

Partners in the Alliance include the Cascade Harvest Coalition, the Kitsap Conservation District, Kitsap Connections, Kitsap County Cooperative Exetnsion, Farmers Education Foundation and various businesses, to name but a few.

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