Gerald Petersen’s absentee heirs have sold Petersen Farm to Port Orchard cattle ranchers DJ Cattle and Land (owned by the Berry family). Long-time farmer caretakers Scott and Peggy Hall were forced out of the deal despite the objections of the Kitsap Community Agricultural Alliance. Logging on the property is in the development plan. Full details in the Kitsap Sun article.
Along with the loss of Gregory farm, this strikes a serious blow at the agricultural capacity of Kitsap County. In the fertile Central Valley area spanning Bremerton, Silverdale and Poulsbo, this leaves only Pheasant Fields Farm and Abundantly Green farm.
I contributed to the conservation easement but I don’t feel like attending the celebration planned by the Great Peninsula Conservancy. The easement prevented the development of housing and stores on the property, but it did not guarantee keeping the property whole or retaining diversified farming. What we need in this county is what Clallam County has, farmland preservation.
As we transition from an unsustainable resource use model to a sustainable one – whether we consciously step into the transition or are forced to do so by declining resources – local farming will become increasingly more important. Retaining our farmland is an urgent food security priority, and we are not stepping up to address it.