What's your connection to the land?
I was born on a small farm in the Skagit Valley, got my degree in Agriculture, and taught Agriculture for 30 years. I've logged and reforested. Now my sons have farms in the Skagit Valley.
What actions have you taken as a steward that you're most proud of and/or that you feel have made the biggest difference?
My role as an educator, both as a teacher and as a member of the Snohomish Conservation District Board of Supervisors, encouraging people to use land wisely.
What’s your hope for the next 75 years? And/or what advice do you have for those next 75 years?
As Snohomish County grows more urban, my hope is that people realize that farmable land is finite, that agriculture is an essential industry, and that land needs to be managed for future generations. We're losing too much land from agriculture for many reasons. There is currently too much of a disconnect between people who grow food and those who consume it, a lack of knowledge about what farming really involves and why producers do what they do as they grow and raise food.
Anything else you want to share or feel is important?
To see the young people - my sons, some of my students (including Spencer Fuentes, Mark Lovejoy, Andrew Albert) - come up into agriculture, a tough industry, warms the heart and gives hope for the future.
Who are you?
- Name: Steve Van Valkenburg
- Where is home? Arlington
- Where are you from? Mount Vernon, Skagit Valley