Why I'm a WFF Board Member

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Farm Friends board members and staff talk about why they serve.

My passion is that we preserve our heritage for the generations to come so they have an opportunity to farm here. : 

My passion is that we preserve our heritage for the generations to come so they have an opportunity to farm here. -Sherm Polinder WFF President Ronelee Farms Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member

The big thing for me is it’s very important that farmers work together at the county level. This is how we can work with our local policy makers and have a unified voice. : 

-Mark DeJong Eaglemill Farms Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member The big thing for me is it’s very important that farmers work together at the county level. This is how we can work with our local policy makers and have a unified voice.

As I’ve said many times before I think it’s the closest place to the Garden of Eden. I hate to see us just fritter it away. : 

As I’ve said many times before I think it’s the closest place to the Garden of Eden. I hate to see us just fritter it away. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Sherm Polinder WFF President Ronelee Farms

I love to farm. : 

I love to farm. -Marty Maberry Maberry Packing Co. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member

My roots are in Ag. There’s where I grew up and it’s never left my blood. : 

My roots are in Ag. There’s where I grew up and it’s never left my blood. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Paul Grey Technology Alliance Group

Last year or the year before was the first time the US imported more food than we exported. To me that’s fundamentally wrong. : 

Last year or the year before was the first time the US imported more food than we exported. To me that’s fundamentally wrong. -Tom Eckert President of Bellingham Technical College Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member

I grew up on a Dairy farm and I loved it. I thought I’d follow my father but that didn’t happen. In a way I suppose I’m living vicariously through being really concerned about Whatcom County Agriculture. : 

I grew up on a Dairy farm and I loved it. I thought I’d follow my father but that didn’t happen. In a way I suppose I’m living vicariously through being really concerned about Whatcom County Agriculture. -Chuck Antholt WFF Vice President Three Pheasants Farm Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member

It’s really opened my eyes working here. It’s very uplifting. : 

It’s really opened my eyes working here. It’s very uplifting. -Cathy Kellett Farm Friends Office Manager Why I work for Farm Friends

A big part of it is stewardship. We need to take what God gave us and use it to best of our abilities. : 

A big part of it is stewardship. We need to take what God gave us and use it to best of our abilities. -Marv Tjoelker Larson Gross PLLC Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member

I want to see farming prosper here. I’m willing to put out the time and energy for that. : 

I want to see farming prosper here. I’m willing to put out the time and energy for that. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Chuck Antholt WFF Vice President Three Pheasants Farm

My family farmed for generations. Anytime I can help with protecting farmers, I’ll be there. : 

My family farmed for generations. Anytime I can help with protecting farmers, I’ll be there. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Tom Eckert President of Bellingham Technical College

I want to fight urban sprawl. I watched farming get pushed out of two other areas in the US where I’ve lived. We in Whatcom County can do it differently. : 

I want to fight urban sprawl. I watched farming get pushed out of two other areas in the US where I’ve lived. We in Whatcom County can do it differently. -Dorie Belisle WFF Board Secretary BelleWood Acres Farm Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member

Preserving farming here won’t happen by itself. It’s going to take leadership. : 

Preserving farming here won’t happen by itself. It’s going to take leadership. -Paul Grey Technology Alliance Group Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member

It’s partly a business interest for me. We have a lot of clients who are in Ag. I want them to be successful. : 

It’s partly a business interest for me. We have a lot of clients who are in Ag. I want them to be successful. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Marv Tjoelker Larson Gross PLLC

I had a meeting with a farmer recently and his first question to me was, “Do you believe in preserving farmland?” I said, “Yes, but not at the expense of farmers.” : 

I had a meeting with a farmer recently and his first question to me was, “Do you believe in preserving farmland?” I said, “Yes, but not at the expense of farmers.” -Debi Gavette Stoney Ridge Farm Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member

I’ve been really privileged to make my living through a job that I love. : 

I’ve been really privileged to make my living through a job that I love. -Henry Bierlink Farm Friends Executive Director Why I work for Farm Friends

We have urban growth models that don’t have to consume large tracts of land. The biggest mistake this country could ever make is to quit growing food. : 

We have urban growth models that don’t have to consume large tracts of land. The biggest mistake this country could ever make is to quit growing food. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Tom Eckert President of Bellingham Technical College

I’m here to advocate for mid-sized farms that are owned by families. There is a middle ground in American agriculture and here in Whatcom County we’re it. : 

I’m here to advocate for mid-sized farms that are owned by families. There is a middle ground in American agriculture and here in Whatcom County we’re it. -Holly Hinman Farm Friends Administrator Why I work for Farm Friends

I can’t think of a better group of people to manage our resources than people who have a vested interest in protecting them. : 

I can’t think of a better group of people to manage our resources than people who have a vested interest in protecting them. Why I work for Farm Friends -Henry Bierlink Farm Friends Executive Director

We need to put a face on farmers for the general community. : 

We need to put a face on farmers for the general community. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Debi Gavette Stoney Ridge Farm

I enjoy doing programs with younger children because they have to have adult supervision. It’s a double whamie. I get the adults as well. : 

I enjoy doing programs with younger children because they have to have adult supervision. It’s a double whamie. I get the adults as well. -Cheryl DeHaan Farm Friends Community Education Program Manager Why I work for Farm Friends

In southeast Florida we watched the citrus industry go away. And it happened piece by piece. The same talk happened down there: We’re going to save farms. But nobody had enough guts to do it. : 

In southeast Florida we watched the citrus industry go away. And it happened piece by piece. The same talk happened down there: We’re going to save farms. But nobody had enough guts to do it. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Dorie Belisle WFF Board Secretary BelleWood Acres Farm

There are too many people who have no idea where a glass of milk comes from. That’s not getting better. That’s why our education mission is so important. : 

There are too many people who have no idea where a glass of milk comes from. That’s not getting better. That’s why our education mission is so important. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Brad Smith Dean of Huxley College WWU

I’m here because I believe government policy is greatest danger that American agriculture faces. : 

I’m here because I believe government policy is greatest danger that American agriculture faces. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Marty Maberry Maberry Packing Co.

One reason I serve on the board is to learn as much as I can about the industry I’m in. Hopefully I’m contributing at the same time. : 

One reason I serve on the board is to learn as much as I can about the industry I’m in. Hopefully I’m contributing at the same time. -John Vanderveen TJ Veenacre Farm Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member

My best scenario is when I’m sitting around a table with people from many sectors. If we’re not talking to each other it becomes polarized and finger pointing occurs. : 

My best scenario is when I’m sitting around a table with people from many sectors. If we’re not talking to each other it becomes polarized and finger pointing occurs. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Brad Smith Dean of Huxley College WWU

I have a hard time motivating my kids to get into agriculture as difficult as it is. I’d like to see that change. : 

I have a hard time motivating my kids to get into agriculture as difficult as it is. I’d like to see that change. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Debi Gavette, Stoney Ridge Farm

I’m proud that Whatcom County feeds the world. I’m not going to apologize for that. : 

I’m proud that Whatcom County feeds the world. I’m not going to apologize for that. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Dorie Belisle WFF Board Secretary BelleWood Acres Farm

I’ve been blessed to have a farm to take over. It’s absolutely beautiful. I feel I’ve been given a responsibility by my parents. I take it seriously. : 

I’ve been blessed to have a farm to take over. It’s absolutely beautiful. I feel I’ve been given a responsibility by my parents. I take it seriously. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -John Vanderveen TJ Veenacre Farm

None of us can have a single day, a single hour, without agriculture affecting our lives in some way shape or form. : 

None of us can have a single day, a single hour, without agriculture affecting our lives in some way shape or form. Why I work for Farm Friends -Cheryl DeHaan Farm Friends Community Education Program Manager

We’re all in this together. : 

We’re all in this together. Why I’m a Farm Friends Board Member -Brad Smith Dean of Huxley College WWU

Because we all have to eat. : 

Because we all have to eat.

Whatcom Farm Friends Board of Directors : 

Sherm Polinder, PresidentRonelee Dairy   Chuck Antholt, Vice PresidentThree Pheasants Farm   Dorie Belisle, SecretaryBelleWood Acres   Marv Tjoelker, TreasurerLarson, Gross PLLC   Mark De JongEaglemill Dairy Whatcom Farm Friends Board of Directors Tom EckertBellingham Technical College   Debi Gavette Stoney Ridge Farms   Paul GreyTechnology Alliance Group Marty MaberryMaberry Packing   Brad Smith WWU Environmental Studies   John Vander Veen TJ Veenacre Farms

Whatcom Farm Friends Staff : 

Henry Bierlink, Executive Director Cheryl DeHaan, Community Education Program Manager Whatcom Farm Friends Staff Holly Hinman, Administrator Cathy Kellett, Office Manager

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