The staff, working board members, farmers and volunteers
at Friends of the Farms provide a number of services for our community.
- Harvest Fair
- Farmland Management
- Private Agricultural Lands Initiative
- Farm Walks
- Farm Work Parties
- EduCulture Partnership
- Annual Meeting and Akio Award Presentation
- Outreach/Booth/Public Speaking
Every year we celebrate our local farms and farmers by putting on a festive community event at Johnson Farm. At Harvest Fair, you will enjoy down-home music, delicious food and lots of family friendly farm-related activities.
Check out our What’s Happening section to find out the date and time of this year’s Harvest Fair. See you there!
Here is a sample of Harvest Fair fun:
- zucchini contest
- petting zoo
- sheep shearing
- cider pressing
- pie contest
- horse-drawn wagon ride
The availability of land for commercial and community farming has been identified by the American Farmland Trust as a primary need for the furtherance of local farming. Friends of the Farms has a management contract with the city of Bainbridge Island and is developing a land use plan for city-owned farmland properties, that allows for a mix of uses. Of special importance is the development of long-term leases for these lands.
Friends of the Farms also provides farm land use policy services for clients other than the city, under various ownerships, with lease and easement circumstances varying according to individual needs.
Twice a month, rain or shine, folks from Friends of the Farms lead free farm walks, beginning at the berry stand at Suyematsu-Bentryn Farms on Day Road. Walks always begin at 2 pm and last about an hour or an hour and a half. The tour traverses four public farmland properties and offers terrific views of the Olympic Mountains. These walks are a great way to get out on the farms and learn what is growing! Check our What’s Happening section on the home page to find out specific dates.
Our volunteers love to work hard and play hard! An extra set of “farmhands” is essential to any working farm! Friends of the Farms holds work parties on the second Saturday of every month, from 10 am-2 pm. We dig in on various projects: landscape maintenance, fence installation, irrigation system upkeep, invasive species removal, habitat restoration, farm building construction and event site preparation. This is essential work and helps to keep the farms alive!
To help as a volunteer with Friends of the Farms, please visit our volunteer sign-up page and join us!
One of Friends of the Farms’ favorite collaboration is with the EduCulture Project, an initiative of Global Source Education, headquartered on Bainbridge Island. Featured programs and services include:
- Farm-School Programs: a menu of lived learning experiences on farms with K-12 students
- Farm Hands: Locally-grown summer and after-school programs for youth
- Educator Summer Institute
- Community-based programs: special events, classes, dialogues, docent training
For the first time on Bainbridge Island, publicly-owned farmland (Morales Farm) is being used in service of public education to create public produce. Food grown by students will be served in the Bainbridge Island School District lunch program, studied and consumed through classroom projects, donated to the community and used to “farmraise” to keep the program going.
Every year in May, Friends of the Farms holds its annual meeting to celebrate and thank our membership, as well as to take care of a little organizational business (ie, elect new board officers). Held at Suyematsu-Bentryn Farms at Day Road, the event features a potluck dinner, grape cane bonfire, Maypole and live music. In 2010, Friends of the Farms initiated the Akio Suyematsu Award.This award was presented to its namesake at the Annual Meeting. In future years, the award will be presented to an individual who demonstrates outstanding commitment to local farming and stewardship of farmland in the spirit of Mr. Suyematsu. Read more about it in the Bainbridge Review.
Friends of the Farms reaches out to the community by giving presentations to groups about our local farms. Friends of the Farms also staffs a booth at public events, such as Farmers’ Market. These opportunities allow us to let the public know the status of local farming, what the needs are, and how they can support efforts to make sure that local farming is truly viable here.