Tristan is headed off this morning to talk to the Snohomish County Council.
Here’s the letter he’s bringing with him.
A huge “Thank you” to each of you who have responded so far. And for those of you who haven’t, there’s still time. Don’t wait, today, June 10th, 2015 is the close for the discussion. Add your voice to protect Snohomish County Farmland!
Good Morning, My name is Tristan Klesick and I am a local farmer from Stanwood. Before I begin, I wanted to say “thank you for choosing to be leaders”. Leadership is a rare commodity today and those who are willing to make the final decision are also rare.
I have been in the food and farming business for over 20 years and the last 15 years I have been involved with the TDR issue. The County has sent me to Maryland and California with then Councilman John Koster and Senior Planner Tom Niemann to study what worked and didn’t work in the TDR world. I was also co-chair of the Snohomish Agricultural Economic Development Action Team or SAEDAT. The Current TDR program is a solid policy.
Local farmland is an economic driver that provides local, regional and national food, helps keep taxes lower, provides habitat and flood storage.
I appreciate the tension surrounding Amendment 13. This issue is important enough to me that I engaged my community of customers and asked them to help me preserve local food options and farmland. I sent an email to 8000 people on my list and posted it on my FB page. As of this morning, that FB post has been seen by over 20K people and shared over 225 times.
My customers understand that growth is going to happen, infrastructure needs to built, but preserving the ability to feed our citizens is equally important.
The current TDR program is a good start at managing that growth and also ensuring that local citizens will have local food. Snohomish County needs the Development community to build the infrastructure to handle the growth and the TDR program, as it is, should also streamline that process for them. I understand that it is a new paradigm, but planning now to feed the current and future residents of our county is a part of that new paradigm.
This year I have seen the need for my farmland to produce more fruit and vegetables, because the local demand is increasing, but also because the “traditional” vegetable producing regions like Arizona and California are in major droughts. If things don’t return to somewhat normal precipitation, Snohomish County Farmland will be even more important to our county and this region.
My constituents, who are also your constituents, will want to hear how Council members Somers, Klein, Wright, Sullivan and Ryan voted. I will report back to them. I would love to report back to them that each of you led on the issue of managing growth and preserving local food options and farmland by voting no on amendment 13!