The Agricultural Resources Committee (ARC) was established by San Juan County (SJC) Council in 2005 with the mission to protect and restore agriculture in SJC. The ARC seeks to achieve it’s mission by advising SJC Council on relevant agricultural issues; identifying emerging opportunities; informing and educating electeds and local citizens about the importance of agriculture; and promoting programs, initiatives and policies that strengthen and expand the agricultural economy. The ARC is comprised of five to 15 members representing the agricultural community and is staffed by the ARC Coordinator.
To accomplish these goals, the ARC focuses on:
- Farmland protection and conservation
- Farm friendly regulations
- Agricultural economic development
- Education, communication and outreach
- Strategic planning
In 2011, with funding from the Washington State Office of Farmland Preservation, the ARC, in collaboration with the San Juan County Land Bank and San Juan Preservation Trust, developed Growing our Future: An Agricultural Strategic Action Plan for San Juan County. The Plan identifies priorities and recommended actions for the preservation of farmland, including actions that will strengthen and grow the agricultural economy.
The ARC’s ability to achieve it’s mandate will ultimately be defined by farmland conserved, and by the productive, profitable, and sustainable use of that farmland by local farmers, thereby contributing to a strong, diversified economy that benefits farmers and their community.
Powers and Duties
- Report to and advise the County Council (formerly known as the Board of County Commissioners) about regulatory, economic, land use, environmental, and educational matters so as to support and promote viable agricultural activities in San Juan County.
- Advise the County Council on specific efforts and projects that should be pursued to preserve and restore agriculture as a viable part of San Juan County’s economy.
- Work with other ARCs or similar groups in the North Puget Sound region to develop regional support for common issues that will benefit a broad segment of agriculture, and develop agricultural policies, programs and projects that can be duplicated and implemented in other North Puget Sound communities.
- Address local and regional agricultural issues that relate to threatened or endangered species and their habitats, and implement programs and create public dialogue around the need to protect the environment and preserve the viability of local agriculture.
- Address local and regional agricultural issues that relate to economic development, job retention and expansion and, recommend policies and implement programs that will retain, expand and diversify the economic viability of local agriculture.
- Identify food security needs and recommend policies and implement programs to increase the availability, distribution and consumption of locally-produced foods across all economic sectors of the population.
- Encourage public participation in evaluating and developing agricultural policies, programs and projects.
- Provide public outreach regarding the linkages between viable farms, local foods, and the rural landscape that attracts both residents and visitors to the islands.