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The Local Dirt: February 2017

Feb 1st, 2017 | Category: Community

The Mt. Baker FFA held a grand opening for its new barn on Jan. 21, according to Todd Rightmire, Ag Instructor/CTE Director/FFA Advisor. The barn is located near the bus garage south of the high school, on the former greenhouse site. t the site of the old greenhouse, and is raising funds to complete the work. The new barn is 84 feet by 36 feet, and designed to be multi-purpose including hogs, chickens, sheep, goats, and calves. Students breed and raise their hogs for the  Puget Sound Jr. Show and Northwest Washington Fair/Lynden Jr. Livestock Show and Sale. Watch for an article next month. the local dirt web

Ferndale-based Appel Farms expanded its cheese operations in December to a new 12,800-square-foot production and cold-storage facility at 6605 Northwest Drive, across from its cheese shop. Appel Farms started cheese production 30 years ago in an 800-square-foot building on the family farm. Cheese production currently uses more than half the milk from the farm’s 600-cow dairy herd. In mid-2016, the farm began producing havarti, parmesan and maasdammer cheeses, adding to a product line that already included gouda, cheddar, quark, feta and paneer. The new building includes a window for viewing gouda production, although interested visitors should call ahead for times. Watch for an article next month.

An election for one seat on the Whatcom Conservation District Board will be held on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at the District’s office at 6975 Hannegan Road, Lynden. Polls will be open between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. All registered voters residing within Whatcom County may vote in person at that date, place, and time or by mail.  Mail-in ballots are only available upon request, which must be made no later than 4 p.m. pm on Feb. 14, 2017. Local residents Heather Christianson, Roderic Perry, and Suzzi (Suzanne) Syndar are running for the position. For candidate statements and more information, see

A Potting Party will be held March 4 at the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group Nursery (1202 S 2nd St, Ste C, Mount Vernon) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited to help pot new plants for future planting seasons. Email to let them know you’re coming, so they can have enough snacks and tools for everyone. Please remember to dress for the weather. Minors between 13 – 17 may be dropped off but must have a legal guardian sign them in. Minors under 13 must have a legal guardian present at the event. For more information, see

Bellingham Food Bank’s Garden Project is gearing up for another great growing season. The Garden Project is now recruiting for volunteers and garden recipients. Each year, the program builds 25 raised bed veggie gardens for low income Bellingham residents, free of charge. In addition to the garden bed, program participants receive free resources for two years, which include educational workshops, organic seeds and plant starts, basic tools, a growing guide, and a seasonal newsletter and access to a garden mentor.  The Garden Project comes to life with the collaborative efforts of volunteers, participants and staff. If you are interested in receiving a garden or volunteering as a garden builder or mentor, please contact us at

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show is coming up Feb. 22-26 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle! Get a preview of what’s happening this year at Local bus trips are available, including from Garden Spot Nursery and Christianson’s Nursery!

Transition Whatcom is hosting a Grow Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming 1-Day Workshop on Feb. 25 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bellingham Alternative Library. This will cover growing as much as you can in the smallest area, while building soil and more. All skill levels welcome. The class is $35 however no one will be turned away. Bring a sack lunch or a potluck item to share. Call (509) 679-4194.

The Northwest Agriculture Business Center has several workshops available this month, including: Getting Your Products Into The Market, Feb. 7; Write Your Business Plan, Feb. 14; Cider & Perry Orcharding, Feb. 16; Product Development for Value-Added Food, Feb. 28; and OSU’s Cider & Perry Production, March 27 and March 31. For complete details and registration information, see


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