News & Events

Grant Funding Secured for Two Historic Farms: Hannan and Natembea Northwest!

Author: Lilly Schneider | 06/29/21

Wide view of farmland with trees in the far background.

Hannan Farm comprises 115 acres of historic farmland in Center Valley four miles south of Chimacum.

We’re doubly delighted to announce that the Land Trust recently secured grant funding for conservation easements on Natembea Farm and Hannan Farm, which together total over 200 acres of prime farmland in Jefferson County.

A cow and a calf at Hannan Farm.

Two curious cows at Hannan Farm.

Every other year, the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) accepts applications for farmland preservation grants. This grant program provides funding to buy development rights on farmland to ensure it remains available for farming in the future as well as to restore natural functions, improving the land’s viability for farming.

Jefferson Land Trust’s 2020 applications for Natembea and Hannan were selected along with 11 other exciting projects from across the state of Washington.

Hannan Farm is a historic cattle farm in Center Valley four miles south of Chimacum run by daughter-and-mother team Julia Nottingham and Laurie Hannan. One of the larger working farms in the Chimacum watershed, it comprises 115 acres of land that has been in agricultural use for over a century, and includes nearly a mile of Chimacum Creek identified as spawning habitat for coho and steelhead salmon.

Hannan Farm lies within a specific agricultural geographical priority area identified by the community in the Land Trust’s Conservation Plan. In addition to its value as a historic family farm and its proximity to Chimacum Creek, the soil on Hannan Farm has been classified by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as Farmland of Statewide Importance, and the property’s barn and attached milking parlor, built in 1900, is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.

A man leans over a fence toward a herd of goats on open farmland surrounded by trees.

Tending goats at Natembea Northwest.

Natembea Northwest’s pasture, woods, and wetland straddle the city limits of Port Townsend and unincorporated Jefferson County. Much of the property is prime agricultural ground classified by NRCS as Farmland of Statewide Importance. The property retains agricultural water rights, and on clear days, the Olympic Mountains sparkle over the trees. The planned easement will protect 77 of the farm’s 97 acres.

Owners Devon and David Pablo Cohn purchased the property from the Swanson family in 2016 with the goal to preserve the open space of the farmland and manage the land for community benefit while honoring its heritage as a historic family farm. It’s currently the largest farm in Port Townsend, and it has a strong community connection.

Natembea defines itself as a “cooperative farming project.” The land is currently farmed by six independent farm operators: Humble Bread, producing local grains and stone-baked loaves; Sweet Seed Flower Farm, growing local flowers; One Straw Ranch, providing pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, and eggs; Hopscotch Farm Cannery, growing heirloom produce and producing artisan pickles, preserves, relish, and dried herbs; Heartwood Nursery, growing regionally-adapted fruit and nut trees on a small scale; and Ground Control Goats, offering natural vegetation management and invasive species control.

A woman weeds the grassy ground around young saplings.

Heartwood Nursery, growing fruit and nut trees on a small scale, is one of six independent farm operators leasing land at Natembea Northwest.

With this model, Natembea provides economically viable land access for farmers in a challenging land market and ensures local food access for the surrounding community.

Conservation easements on each of these historic family farms will ensure that they’ll remain available for farming for all time. These protections will help our local farmers keep working these pristine farmlands, which in turn strengthens our local food system. As conserved farms, they’ll also benefit salmon and other wildlife, protect prime soil, water, and native trees, and help to maintain the open space and rural character of Jefferson County.