Farms & Forests
Goal: Preserve Working Farm and Forest Lands and Sustain the Local Food and Forest Economy
Each day, over 7,000,000 Washington residents shop at grocery stores and farmers markets, cook meals at home, and dine at restaurants and cafes. Collectively, our choices have an enormous impact – on the future of our state’s agricultural land, the viability of thousands of food businesses and the size of our environmental footprint.
Beyond our farmlands and ranchlands lies a forest of trees that provide abundant wildlife, clean water, public recreation, materials for our homes, and local jobs. It is the water and the trees that attract people to come to our state and keeps us all here. These places are our sacred spaces to relax and rest and our best playgrounds to hike, camp, climb and ski.
For 25 years, Futurewise has been committed to protecting our resource lands for the people and places that depend on them. In this time, we have protected nearly two million acres of our states most critical working farmlands and forests.
Develop a Regional Food Strategy
In Washington State, farms and ranches cover nearly 15 million acres and support a greenbelt of working lands that help direct growth into urban areas and limit sprawl.
Local farms, food manufacturers, distributors, grocers and restauranteurs provide more than 300,000 jobs and represent a $3 billion industry for our state. Alongside these economic benefits, our regional food system provides the benefits of promoting ecological awareness, preserving cultural heritage and fostering a unique sense of place.
In 2015, Futurewise is working in Eastern Washington to develop a regional food strategy, preserving agricultural land and promoting the economic development of the food industry, including local production, processing, distribution and retail.
Protect Washington State’s Food Economy
Throughout the state, farmlands and ranches – integral to our environment and our food economy – are at risk.
In the last decade, Washington State has lost more than 500,000 acres of its farmland and ranchland. Preserving agricultural land in the face of increasing development pressure requires a concerted effort by policy makers.
Futurewise works in over 30 counties across the state to implement a range of policies to support and protect agriculture. Our policies are related not only to preserving the land itself but also to preserving the economic viability of agriculture.
In the last two years, our policy and advocacy work has protected over one million acres between Ferry, Pierce, Clark, Snohomish, Benton and Walla Walla counties.
Seeing the Forests and the Trees
Our forests define our Evergreen State – from the Colville National Forest to the Olympic Mountains. We rely on our forests for the air they clean, the water they collect and the jobs they provide.
Futurewise is working in every corner of the state to conserve our most critical working forestlands and protect our most vulnerable wildlife habitat. The concept is simple: keep large forest and wildlife habitat areas safe by preventing scattered development within and around the fringes.
Our efforts have been tireless – and more importantly, not fruitless. From protecting over 50,000 acres of the Upper Teanaway from development to ensuring 450,000 acres of lynx and critical wildlife habitat in Stevens and Ferry counties, we have protected over 700,000 acres of forests and over 22 species who depend on these places and call them home.