San Juan Islands Sustainability

July 9, 2012
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Can the Islands return to a more diverse time, when farming produced a greater share of employment? Will it bring new migrant labor problems? How would the economy change?

Clearly, when farming was a large part of the local economy, local economic rules were different. Farmers markets served more farmers and their employees. Today, the scale has tipped in favor of serving more tourists.


1954 employment in agriculture – 28%

1999 employment in agriculture – 2.5%.

In 2007, 113 of 291 farmers were considered full time.Farms have been diminishing in size.

In 2002, 119 of the 225 farms reported were be- tween 10 to 49 acres, 52 were between 50-179 acres, and 32 were less than 10 acres.

This reflects a statewide trend: From 1974 to 2002, farms under 10 acres> have more than doubled in Washington (3,330 to 7,482 farms). – from the San Juan Islands Conservation District.

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