February 2020

On Feb. 7, an exciting coalition of climate organizations, small farmers, and large farm organizations came together to testify in support of a revised version of the Sustainable Farms and Fields bill (SB 5947) in front of the House Rural Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources committee. (Photo: A diverse panel advocating for SB 5947: the Farm Bureau, the Dairy Commission, CarbonWA, and the Nature Conservancy)

A partial list of the SB 5947 supporters: 

The Nature Conservancy Tilth Alliance Washington State Dairy Federation
Carbon Washington Washington Young Farmer Coalition Washington State Farm Bureau
Washington Farmer Veterans Coalition Washington Association of Wheat Growers Washington Cattleman’s Association
Taylor Shellfish Wilcox Farms And 115 farms and organizations who joined the letter of support

In 2019, SB 5947 did not advance out of the House Rural Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources committee in part due to concerns from several agricultural stakeholders. Throughout the summer and fall of 2019 Carbon Washington worked with partners to reach out to the farming community to improve the bill and build support for its passage in 2020.

Today, those outreach efforts paid off. At the Feb. 7 public hearing, 81 stakeholders supported the bill, while 0 opposed the bill.

CarbonWA board policy chair Greg Rock talks about prospects for the bill in the latest edition of CarbonCast(more…)

Klickitat Canyon Winery in Lyle, Wash., is proving that respect for nature is good business — and that vintners can care about both grapes and meadowlarks.

The winery was founded 30 years ago by Dr. Robin Dobson, whose main job is working as an ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service. When Dobson decided to retire from winemaking, his son Kiva took over the business.

“I grew up doing this,” Kiva says. “I also studied natural resources and biology. When Dad said he was done with the winery, I said I’ll give it a shot.”

Klickitat Canyon Winery is almost directly across the Columbia from Hood River, Ore. It includes 7 acres of grapes, 7 acres used for other crops, and 20 acres of oak woodland, which they leave as natural habitat.

The winery produces about 500 cases of wine per year. Those include Organic Estate Syrah and Organic Meadowlark Gold, which the winery’s website describes as “a lively wine sourced from our Meadowlark Vineyard. A blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Viognier that creates grapefruit flavors with hints of wildflowers and earthiness on the nose.” Other varieties are made with grapes from nearby vineyards.

One reason Kiva took over the winery was his desire to continue Robin’s approach to farming — which the pair calls eco-dynamic agriculture. “By reintroducing the native wildflowers and bunch grasses between the rows and around the periphery,” he says, “we strive to increase biodiversity as much as possible. As a result, our vineyard has become a continuation of the surrounding environment, as opposed to an oasis for non-native and sometimes harmful pests. We think of it as a form of agricultural habitat restoration.” (more…)