Woodinville, WA – February 26, 2021 – At 5:00 PM today at Paradise Farm, Farmer Frog’s Emergency Food Distribution program, which has fed two million Washingtonians since March 2020 and which continues to serve hundreds of thousands of hungry Washingtonians during the ongoing Covid-19 emergency, is in jeopardy due to Snohomish County Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s declaration that the Food Distribution program will not be allowed to continue at the designated Unified Command Center.
Snohomish County Decision will begin injuring services to 1 in 4 Washington Households
After making false statements to the press, and sending threatening letters to Farmer Frog, Snohomish County stood their ground and sent another notice late last night that Farmer Frog’s Emergency Food Distribution program from Paradise Farm must be relocated or “the County will begin pursuing options to enforce compliance.” Even though Farmer Frog had initially responded to their request with a 1,167-page Study detailing the impacts of the relocation, it’s compliance with the Law, and three alternative layouts that would make the Fairgrounds a suitable site to relocate to, Snohomish County hunkered down in their demands and “have removed the Fair Park from consideration, and have no other suitable County-owned alternatives available.”
Farmer Frog Calling on County, State to Allow Life-Saving Food Distribution to Continue
Although the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) has labeled Farmer Frog’s regenerative agriculture and education activities a “conversion” of the land from its intended use for salmon habitat conservation, Farmer Frog has undertaken extensive habitat restoration activities on this land since 2015, using a “holistic whole system approach” to preserve forested areas, establish riparian buffers preserving key salmonid spawning and rearing areas. Farmer Frog is asking the County and RCO to reconsider and reverse the designation of its agricultural and food distribution activities as a “conversion” and enable this important work to continue unabated.
“Our service, as one of the largest food distribution operations to all of the Tribes in Washington State is currently at significant risk,” says Szabolcs Pasztor, Director of Administration at Farmer Frog. She calls upon both Snohomish County, and Washington State, whose Recreation and Conservation Office has labeled Farmer Frog’s activities a “conversion” of the intended use of Paradise Farm to “reverse their decision, [so that] our services to the Tribes and many of the BIPOC communities in Washington State will remain uninjured, and we can continue our important work in saving lives.”
In violating the lease agreement, Snohomish County gave only an official 10 day notice to relocate food distribution operations and has been refusing to negotiate with Farmer Frog. Zsofia Pasztor, Executive Co-Director of Farmer Frog, asks the County to “slow down and let all of the impacted community members have a voice at the table. Our operations must continue while we discuss this work or people will begin to starve.”
Publishing Statement asking for help from the Community:
“During a pandemic, the likes of which we have seen only one hundred years ago, communities are in need and this moment in time is one of historic significance. Just as one goes to vote at the ballot, history and the needs of the people are pleading to the community to act today. Everyone who benefits from food assistance programs in the State or has neighbors that get support, should be calling their representatives right now and let them know Snohomish County’s actions are harmful to the community. Take just five minutes of your time and vote with your voice. The times have found us, and today is the day that we as a community must rally together.”