Ag Summit – a huge success | Letter

A huge thank you to all who made the first San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit a fabulous success.

The 2013 Agricultural Summit was organized by San Juan County Agricultural Resources Committee and WSU San Juan County Extension, in collaboration with other organizations and individuals.

Thanks to islanders who facilitated or taught the workshop sessions:  Peggy Bill, Dan Borman, Brook Brouwer, Tim Clark, Sara Jones, Elaine Kendall, Learner Limbach, Charlie Behnke, Michele Heller, Christina Orchid, Laurie Parker, Mike Pickett, and Ron Zee.  Thanks to speakers who came from afar:  Andrew Dykstra (Dykstra Farms, LLC, Skagit Valley), Larry James, (Seattle Biochar), Sarah Wilcox (Cascade Harvest Coalition), Bart Berg and Wendy Tyner (Friends of the Farms, Bainbridge Island), and especially our electrifying keynote speaker Paul Stamets (Fungi Perfecti).

Thanks to Christina Orchid for a delicious lunch made with locally grown food donated by Blossom Organic Grocery, Jones Family Farms, and Snowberry Farm.

Thank you to people and organizations who donated scholarships to 13 young farmers and interns:  Cathy Cavanaugh, Michele Heller, Joel and Margaret Thorsen, and others who chose to remain anonymous.   Thank you to the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild for hosting the social hour.

Thanks to San Juan Island Grange #966 for hosting the contra dance, the potluck, and the superb film Symphony of the Soil.  Thank you to the county council candidates Lisa Byers, Rick Hughes, Bob Jarman, Lovel Pratt, and Jamie Stephens, who gave us their views on agriculture.

Thank you to representatives of the 12 county agricultural organizations and to the representatives of farm-to-school programs who came together to collaborate — some for the first time.

We were all there to exchange ideas and to see the way forward for agriculture in San Juan County.  A report outlining summit conclusions and possible next steps will be out soon.  In the meantime, thanks to all for making the summit an inspiring and productive event.

Summit organizers

Candace Jagel, WSU SJC Extension; Peggy Bill, ARC; Sara Jones, ARC and Jones Family Farms; Michele Heller, Lopez Locavores; and Learner Limbach, Foodmasters.