Letters to the Editor

State budget: Farm money is restricted

For all of you who read in the papers about Governor Locke putting the Greenbank Farm in his budget for $1.5 million, please understand that this is money that is restricted to construction projects. It cannot save education social, health or human services deficits. It is set-aside money to foster economic development, which I hope you all know by now, is a primary mission objective for the farm.

With this money we can create commercial space in the farm’s remaining two barns for local entrepreneurs to establish small businesses. It is these small businesses that we project will create 40 new jobs. The farm’s inclusion in the governor’s budget does not guarantee the money. The Legislature will revise, compromise and horse trade until they ultimately pass the final budget. That means we have our work cut out for us the next three months to convince legislators that the Greenbank Farm is the best place to put 1.5 million in construction dollars.

You can help. Our local legislators have already jumped in with both feet: Mary Margaret Haugen, Barry Sehlin and newly elected Barbara Bailey. We need to thank them for their efforts, and we need to help them convince other legislators. So, send a note telling them your appreciate their support for the farm. And for all you readers who have your permanent voting address somewhere other than Whidbey Island, you can play an important role by contacting your senators and representatives from there. They need to know you are a Whidbey Islander, farm supporter and want them to support funding for Greenbank Farm. Contact me and I will be happy to send you a copy of the project proposal to help you write that letter, e-mail or make that phone call.

With solid support and foot work from this community we could have both Gary’s Barn and the H-Barn up and functioning with small business enterprises by the farm’s 100 year birthday in 2004. What a celebration we will have!

Blessings upon you all, may you have a fabulous new year.

Laura Blankenship

Executive director

Greenbank Farm Management Group

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