The story of Greenbank Farm’s rescue from development is a perfect example of how government and citizens can work together.
It took a patched-together band of government entities, nonprofit groups and citizens to save the farm and its iconic big red barn.
The 151-acre farm once was owned by Chateau Ste. Michelle winery and claimed the title of the largest loganberry farm.
But in the 1990s, it was in danger of becoming a housing development.
The farm is owned by the Port of Coupeville, but it’s a community asset for all of Whidbey Island.
This Saturday the port is having a “We Bought the Farm” potluck and celebration to mark the final $100,000 payment.
In a complicated series of events, the port ended up purchasing the farm for $2 million in 1997.
It may seem odd that a port owns a farm, but port commissioners made a brave and ultimately insightful decision when they bought the farm.
There’s been controversy at the farm over the decades, including in recent years. It has mainly centered around how the small port district should manage the farm.
Port commissioners chose to stop working with a management group two years ago and now the port is managing the building and properties.
Such kerfuffles, however, shouldn’t distract from the success story or the community’s enjoyment of the farm.
It has paths that afford walkers amazing views of the property. It’s especially popular with dog owners. It’s the site of several businesses, such as Whidbey Pie Cafe, a cheese store and two art galleries. The barn and the property has hosted many festivals and parties over the years.
And of course, there’s wine.
Make sure to stop by the farm on Saturday and celebrate with the community that worked so hard to make it a special place to visit.