Groups form fund to help local farmers

A multi-agency effort is looking to help local farmers through the 2019 novel coronavirus issue — and provide a boost to local food banks as well.

The Olympic Peninsula Farmers Fund, developed by the North Olympic Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council (NODC), WSU Extension Regional Small Farms Program, North Olympic Land Trust and Jefferson Land Trust, is designed to provide pre-paid, long-term contracts of $1,500-$5,000 to farmers this season, with farmers providing food for food banks and feeding programs over the next three to five years.

Contracts to local farmers will be administered by NODC.

“This quick response program will provide immediate support for our local farms and a long-term stream of fresh food to local food banks,” NODC executive director Karen Affeld said.

“Access to nutritious, locally-grown food is a gift that many of us on the Olympic Peninsula treasure and we want to see that continue.”

Farmers were gearing up for spring when many lost the bulk of their customers and income with the COVID-19 pandemic, NODC representatives said,which motivated the local organizations to form the fund.

“The Farmers Fund is a way for people to help local farmers and also benefit area food banks,” Affeld said. “The donations go twice as far.”

As an immediate response fund, the Farmers Fund is still collecting donations until Monday, May 25, through NODC; to donate, go to www.noprcd.org.

The goal of the drive, NODC representatives said, is to raise $50,000. As of last week the fund had more than $42,000 in donations from supporters of NODC, Jefferson Land Trust and North Olympic Land Trust, along with grants from Port Townsend Food Co-Op and Jefferson Community Foundation.

Applications for contracts are available at www.noprcd.org; they must be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26.

For more information, contact Affeld at karen@noprcd.org.

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