Farmland Preservation protects valuable farmland and habitat for recreationally important animals, like salmon, birds, deer, and elk. These projects allow families to continue farming the land they have worked on for generations, and provide Washingtonians with healthy local food and a diverse economy. WWRP is the only source of farmland preservation funding in the state budget.
The Whidbey Camano Land Trust seeks to acquire two farmland conservation easements on 214 acres of historic, working farmland near Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island.Historic Bell’s Farm was purchased by the Mueller family in 1946, and it’s sweet, June-bearing strawberries are a renowned Whidbey Island tradition. Bell’s Farm is now run by fourth generation farmer, Paige Mueller, and husband Kyle Flack, a disabled US Army veteran who has been instrumental in the promotion of local food resilience on Whidbey Island.Since 2016, Kyle has reinvigorated Bell’s with a focus on organic, regenerative practices, turning around a struggling operation into a thriving hub of local food production and education. The farm currently raises approximately 35 head of ancient white park cattle, 125 sheep, 60 hogs, 6 acres of strawberries, and 2 acres of market garden as well as producing hay for the animals. They employ 11 full-time workers and over 40 additional in the growing season. Using these animals in a rotational grazing system combined with regular soil testing, Bell’s uses no synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.Now it is time for the Bell’s Farm model to expand, and the Bell’s Farm North properties meet all the needs of this thriving operation to take it to the next stage of success and helping the Whidbey Island food system. The new site will provide even greater public access and a incubator site for beginning regenerative farmers.