History of the Organization

Friends of the Farms was initiated as the Trust for Working Landscapes in 2001 to assist the Bainbridge Island community with the promotion and preservation of our agricultural heritage.  The primary goal of the organization since that time has been to ensure access to land by the farming community.  To meet that goal, Friends of the Farms has worked as an advocate and a sponsor to ensure active use and preservation of agricultural lands owned by the City of Bainbridge Island and some private individuals.

Friends of the Farms has worked closely with the farming community to assist with the management of sixty acres of public farmland owned by the City of Bainbridge Island.  The current effort by the city to identify a long-range management plan for this public farmland has arisen largely due to the advocacy efforts of Friends of the Farms.  Members of the Friends of the Farms board and staff have dedicated countless hours to discussions and planning for the public farmlands with city officials, members of the public, and the farm community.

Friends of the Farms has been entrusted with a five year contract with the City of Bainbridge Island to manage the city-owned Morales Farm property, Johnson Farm property, to control the Day Road Farm area for the purpose of installing a major irrigation project funded in part by federal grants secured by Friends of the Farms, and to assist where possible with the management of remaining city-owned agricultural lands.

Friends of the Farms’ service on city-owned agricultural lands has included but is not limited to:

  • providing access for farmers to raise crops,
  • increasing community awareness of and access to city agricultural lands,
  • repair and upkeep of structures on agricultural lands,
  • basic land maintenance such as removal of scotch broom and other invasive weeds,
  • well maintenance and upkeep, and
  • development of cooperative neighbor relations.

The efforts of Friends of the Farms have substantially improved the infrastructure and production value of city agricultural lands through projects like the irrigation project at Day Road Farms and the installation of deer fencing.  Friends of the Farms has ensured the active use and cultivation of city farmland, such as the Morales Farm, which would have otherwise remained fallow and unused following the city’s purchase of that land.

In addition, Friends of the Farms has ensured the preservation of land such as the Johnson Farm, land which would have been sold for development. Johnson Farm provides a significant connection to the Island’s agricultural history  by serving as the location of the annual Harvest Fair and for other farm-related activities.

Recently, Friends of the Farms has focused on expanding its ability to serve the farming community beyond the city lands.  Friends of the Farms views city farmland management as a major project, but recognizes that the city-owned farmlands cannot meet all of the farming needs of the Bainbridge community.  To this end Friends of the Farms has begun efforts to coordinate private land owners who are interested in making their lands available to local farmers.