Clallam County renews contract with WSU Extension

Service helping farmers during COVID-19 crisis

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners have renewed a contract with Washington State University Extension to provide educational programs for county residents.

Commissioners approved Tuesday a long-standing memorandum of agreement with the land-grant university at a one-year cost of $172,098.

WSU Extension offers such programs as Food and Farms, Community Health, Master Gardeners, 4-H/Youth Development and Waste Reduction.

“They are great programs,” Commissioner Randy Johnson said.

Clallam County Extension Director Clea Rome said her department had been working with partners on community food systems during the COVID-19 crisis.

WSU Extension is partnering with the North Olympic Development Council and the Clallam and Jefferson County land trusts to establish a dedicated fund to help farmers during the coronavirus pandemic, Rome said.

“They can use the money right now for whatever they need, whether it be seeds, whether it be upgrades in equipment,” Rome told commissioners last week.

“They pay back that money through donations to the food banks and food pantries over five years, so they have plenty of seasons to kind of make up that little flush of income.”

Commissioner Mark Ozias, former Sequim Food Bank director, acknowledged the work of Benjamin Astrachan, Community Food Project coordinator.

“Benji was out in Forks last week delivering donations of seeds and soil and building materials for little free pantries and cookbooks for members of the Forks community,” Rome said.

Five free food pantries have been stocked with nonperishable foods in Port Angeles. Other free pantries were being planned for Sequim and Forks, Rome said.

“Clea, thank you very much for supporting the West End,” said District 3 Commissioner Bill Peach, who represents the western third of the county.

“I really do appreciate the way you engage everybody.”

The memorandum of agreement with WSU Extension helps fund the salaries of the Clallam County Extension director, Master Gardener coordinator, 4-H coordinator and community health specialist.

Clallam County helps fund WSU Extension programs through its general fund, road fund and grants.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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