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Preserve the Rich History of the 78th Street Heritage Farm

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Upcoming dates:

Editor Note: This post has been updated to reflect the Parks meeting date of February 11, and a reminder of the County meeting date of February 19.

Being born and raised in Vancouver, I’ve seen a lot of growth and changes, but one thing that hasn’t changed much is the 78th Street Heritage Farm.

“The Heritage Farm has a rich history that dates back nearly 150 years to the 1870s, when Clark County started operating a poor farm along the south side of Northeast 78th Street in Hazel Dell. The site was later used as a research and experimental farm by Washington State University Extension before the county resumed managing the property in 2008.

The 2010 master plan commits the county to preserve the property’s agricultural heritage and history as a poor farm and to encourage use of its agricultural, historical and educational amenities.”

Heritage Farm recently underwent a master planning process and was scheduled for a public hearing last July when it was abruptly pulled from the schedule. Clark County Councilors are now considering changes to Heritage Farm that could compromise the historic farm and the community services it provides; including, at the very least, potential leasing of portions of that untouched area.

There are two upcoming meetings that would be important to attend for Heritage Farm supporters. On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, the Clark County Parks Advisory Board will meet at the Clark County Operations Center, Bldg. B (4700 NE 78th St.). There is an opportunity to provide public comment at the beginning and end of this meeting.

The Clark County Council will hold a work session on Heritage Farm, meeting on the 6th floor of the Public Service Center (1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver) on Wednesday, February 19th at 10:30 AM.  There is no opportunity to provide comments at the work session but would be important to attend to demonstrate community interest and support for Heritage Farm.

Heritage Farm continues to add value to the community.

WSU Clark County Extension Service is housed on-site and provide critical services that support the local agricultural economy provide important community services including unbiased research projects and education programs that support local farmers, Master Gardener educational workshops and answer clinic serving over 1,000 home gardeners, SNAP-Ed Farm to Fork educational farm visits for hundreds of children annually, and the 4-H Restorative Community Service Food Bank Garden program giving at-risk youth an opportunity to contribute to the community’s food security through production and donation of organic food to a local food bank.

The Clark County Food Bank, in collaboration with Churches in Partnership, grows thousands of pounds of vegetables annually for members of the community experiencing food insecurity. There are 84 community garden plots (including some that are disabled-accessible) that provide community members a place to grow their own food, and Roots to Road, a program of Partners in Careers offers small-scale farm training to people seeking employment training, many of whom are military veterans. A portion of the produce goes to local food banks and pantries.

If you would like updates on Heritage Farm and public participation opportunities email Friends of Clark County at [email protected]

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