|Washington, D.C., June 2, 2008—American Farmland Trust (AFT) has chosen Nash Huber of Nash’s Organic Produce in Sequim, Washington, for its annual Steward of the Land Award. Nash and his team grow more than 100 types of produce, pasture-raised pork, and seed crops on 400 sustainably managed acres in the Dungeness River Valley—a unique micro-climate that allows year round production. The farm products are sold directly to the public through Nash’s Farm Store, a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), local restaurants and five area farmers’ markets. He will receive the $10,000 AFT prize for his environmental stewardship and farmland protection efforts—the largest such award in the agriculture sector.
Nash and his wife Patty McManus have been leaders and critical advocates for the preservation of farmland, and they are central to a variety of efforts to raise public awareness about the issue and actively protect agricultural land in Clallam County. “Because of increased food and fuel prices, people are quickly becoming more aware of the pressure on the land from many different factors including development, and the resulting stress we’re putting on one of our nation’s greatest resources,” says Ralph Grossi, president of AFT. “It is fantastic to be able to honor a producer like Nash as the 2008 Steward of the Land since he does so much to take care of farmland and to protect it for future generations.”
Nash and Patty have helped save hundreds of acres of local farmland and important wildlife habitat through their efforts. Nash served as a founding member of the PCC Farmland Trust, and the grassroots farmland protection organization, Friends of the Fields. He has worked extensively with the North Olympic Land Trust and the Clallam Citizens for Food Security, a group that has worked to promote a purchase of development rights program (PDR) through several public education and legislative campaigns.
Huber has created a training ground for future farmers—his core team of women and men who are growing healthy food, supporting their local economy, protecting the environment and providing wildlife and salmon habitat. Since 1979, the farm has been certified organic and is “Salmon Safe Certified.” In addition to his farmland protection efforts, Huber’s nomination for the award highlighted impressive on-farm practices that keep the land healthy:
- Nash’s Organic produce protects water quality by participating in public campaigns for water protection and by creating vegetated buffers near creeks, rivers and ponds. They have participated in Washington’s Pioneer in Conservation grants program that funds projects to protect salmon habitat on agricultural land.
- Land managed by the farm provides migratory waterfowl habitat for dozens of types of birds and certain grasses and trees have been planted to ensure wildlife habitat.
- The farm uses a chemical-free pest control management program to deal with insects naturally and without harm to the environment. And, the farm has an extensive composting program to nourish and restore the soil using natural byproducts from dairy farms, fish processing plants and the farm’s vegetable packing operations.
Nash comes from a traditional farm background—a midwestern grain and dairy farm. He holds a master's degree in chemistry, and worked in the food industry developing artificial textures and flavors. “After a few years of tasting the results, he decided to move west and begin farming,” adds Grossi, with a chuckle. “He’s articulate and passionate about preserving the culture of agriculture, sees that much of what he does today uses his scientific and research background daily to do what’s best for farmland and the natural environment. He works actively to equip the next generations of producers with the same knowledge and values.”
Established in 1997, AFT’s Steward of the Land Award recognizes the American farmer or farm family who best demonstrates leadership in protecting farmland and caring for the environment. The award honors the memory of Peggy McGrath Rockefeller, an avid farmer and conservationist who helped found AFT. Nash’s Organic Produce is the twelfth recipient of this award.
*Note to editors: pictures of the farm operation are available through American Farmland Trust or through Kia Armstrong, Nash’s Organic Produce at 360-681-7458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.
AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.