Photovoice Event an Inspirational Evening with Decision-makers and Local Farmers

Agriculture Resilience: A Photovoice Exhibition presented a unique opportunity for decision-makers and the public to listen to farmers express their concerns for the future through photography. The event took place on August 14th at Skip Rock Distillery and was attended by close to 60 participants – the local farmers that participated in the project, their families and neighbors, elected officials including Washington State Representatives June Robinson and Steve Tharinger, reporters, and staff from various agencies and non-profit organizations.  This was the farmers’ opportunity to share “why agriculture is important to our community” and “what are the major challenges facing farmers in Snohomish County” through their art exhibit. 

Seven Farms participated in this event that came about through a series of four workshops hosted by the Snohomish Conservation District and The Nature Conservancy. At the workshops, the farmers brought photos to the group and discussed issues important to the future of their farms as well as what they saw throughout the farming community. The group decided on a final exhibition of work that included three photos from each farmer. The exhibition conveys needs and concerns around the availability of farmland into the future given our increasing population, challenges related to increased flooding, and the uncertainty of climate impacts on drainage, drought, and crops. “We all came to the process with different ideas of what we wanted to say, and while talking, we realized that we wanted to say a lot of the same things,” said Bill Pierce of Soaring Swallow Farm near Arlington (quote from Everett Herald).

“This event was truly inspiring,” said Cindy Dittbrenner, Snohomish Conservation District. “The photos were beautiful, the conversation between farmers and decision-makers was eye-opening, and the community that was built around these important issues was uplifting.”

This project is part of an Agriculture Resilience Plan that the Snohomish Conservation District and the local farming community are developing for the County. The goals of the plan are to provide tools that farmers can use to plan for risk, design and implement resilience projects, and protect high priority farmland from being lost to other uses.

For more information, contact Cindy Dittbrenner, 425-377-7005, cindy@snohomishcd.org.