Pictured, from left to right, are SisterLand Farms volunteers Emily Marcus, Sammi Grieger, and Farmers Jenson, Eli Smith and Benji Astrachan at the North Olympic Land Trust Harvest Dinner. SisterLand Farms, located in Port Angeles, was named Farmer of the Year by NOLT for their work in the community. (Courtesy photo / Katrina Shelby, SisterLand Farms)

Pictured, from left to right, are SisterLand Farms volunteers Emily Marcus, Sammi Grieger, and Farmers Jenson, Eli Smith and Benji Astrachan at the North Olympic Land Trust Harvest Dinner. SisterLand Farms, located in Port Angeles, was named Farmer of the Year by NOLT for their work in the community. (Courtesy photo / Katrina Shelby, SisterLand Farms)

SisterLand Farms honored as Farmer of the Year

Annual North Olympic Land Trust award given to Port Angeles farm

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles’ SisterLand Farms is the 2023 Farmer of the Year, honored by the North Olympic Land Trust in a ceremony last month for its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship after the public nominated it.

This year, for the first time, NOLT’s Farmer of the Year award — an award honoring individuals or organizations that have positively and significantly impacted the local farm community — allowed nominations through public submission.

“It’s very special this season of all seasons,” said Jenson, one of the co-founders of the farm, in an interview this week.

“The farm is so rooted in community building, to hear that so many folks from Clallam County nominated and supported us, it affirms all this work that we’re trying to do.”

Started in 2018, SisterLand Farms is a queer-owned farm of less than an acre on Lauridsen Boulevard which in addition to its growing operation runs several other programs and services. It was presented the award at NOLT’s annual harvest celebration on Sept. 30, held at the Holladay Barn in Dungeness.

“In recognition of their inspirational commitment to land stewardship, environmental innovation, community building, and local entrepreneurship, North Olympic Land Trust has honored SisterLand Farms with the 2023 Farmer of the Year Award,” NOLT said in a press release.

In addition to its growing operations, the farm hosts a composting service; a floral service; hosts education classes on farming and political issues and offers consulting on agricultural issues.

Over 15 percent of the farm’s harvests are donated to food banks and mutual aid groups that bolster local food security, Jenson said, their staff are equally-paid and share equity and voting power in decision making and they host an annual summer camp for LGBTQIA+ adults.

The farm doesn’t specialize in just one crop, but operates under what’s known as a community-supported agriculture model, or CSA.

“Investors buy in in winter and fund operations,” Jenson said. “We treat them just like shareholders, they’re paid back in weekly deliveries of produce, and for the rest of the year about 20-25 weeks we deliver what we hope is nice diverse array of grocery items.”

The farm also grows and delivers fresh cut flowers, and Jenson said the farm hopes to start a separate CSA for fresh cut flowers.

SisterLand also runs the Dignity Project, a nonprofit program that brings on one new agricultural laborer a season with access to the farm’s full operations so they can learn the ins and outs of running a small agricultural business while being paid the same hourly rate as regular employees.

Jenson said they hope to have the Dignity Project expanded in future years.

“The Dignity Project is so important,” Jenson said. “Folks aren’t treated very well in farming and food service careers, a lot of people with brilliant ideas never get their foot in the door.”

“Securing funding for the Dignity Project would be my dream come true,” Jenson said.

The farm is also looking to acquire retail space to open a small grocery store that sells food and artisanal wares from local farms.

SisterLand staff also co-founded the Clallam Growers’ Collective — a network of farmers, gardeners and volunteers that support each other through education opportunities, work parties and networking.

The farm’s compost collection program — which offers a home pick-up service for food waste — is the only one in the county.

“In this community, we’re finding that farms are no longer focusing on the commodity market but instead turning their business models to revolve around niche products,” said Tom Sanford, NOLT executive director, in a release.

“The Land Trust is so excited to present this award to a local farm that really exemplifies what this future of farming can look like in our community,” Sanford said.

________

Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

East Jefferson Fire Rescue Chief Bret Black describes the 2,500-gallon wildfire tender located at Marrowstone Fire Station 12 on Marrowstone Island during an open house on Saturday. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Marrowstone Island fire station open for business

Volunteers to staff 1,300-square-foot building

Woman charged in animal cruelty

Jacobsen facing 30 counts from 2021, ‘22

Measures passing for Quilcene schools, Clallam Bay fire

Next ballot count expected by 4 p.m. Thursday

A repair crew performs work on the observation tower at the end of Port Angeles City Pier on Wednesday as part of a project to repair structural deficiencies in the tower, which has been closed to the public since November. The work, being performed by Aberdeen-based Rognlin’s Inc., includes replacement of bottom supports and wood decking, paint removal and repainting of the structure. Work on the $574,000 project is expected to be completed in June. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Repairs begin on tower at Port Angeles City Pier

The city of Port Angeles has announced that Roglin’s,… Continue reading

No one injured in Port Angeles car fire

No one was injured in a fire that destroyed… Continue reading

Quilcene schools, Clallam Bay fire district measures passing

Voters in Jefferson and Clallam counties appear to have passed measures for… Continue reading

Tribe seeking funds for hotel

Plans still in works for downtown Port Angeles

Clallam County eyes second set of lodging tax applications

Increase more than doubles support from 2023

Olympic Medical Center reports operating losses

Hospital audit shows $28 million shortfall

Jefferson County joins opioid settlement

Deal with Johnson & Johnson to bring more than $200,000

Ballots due today for elections in Clallam, Jefferson counties

It’s Election Day for voters in Quilcene and Clallam… Continue reading

Jefferson PUD has clean audit for 2022

Jefferson County Public Utility District #1 has received a… Continue reading