“The people that live here really care about our farming community and are continuing to support them, and it’s just a beautiful and delicious thing to experience.” – Maressa Valliant, Marketing Coordinator at Sustainable Connections.

It’s a growing trend – people love to connect with local farms and the people who grow our food. Dillon Honcoop of Save Family Farming’s Farm Show talks with Sustainable Connections’ Marketing Coordinator, Maressa Valliant, about their Eat Local First Whatcom County Farm Tour and going virtual in this new world of Covid-19.

Whatcom Family Farmers is a big supporter of this event, including manning booths along a few stops in past tours, but in these days of social distancing and flattening the curve, the Farm Tour has taken the necessary move to a virtual experience.

“We’ve been racking our brains about how we can still connect our community with where their food is coming from, and who’s producing it, and how they can go get a taste of it,” explains Maressa. “There’s no replacement for putting your feet on the soil, and getting to look around and see what our farmers get to experience everyday … the joys and the challenges of farming first hand, but that’s what we wanted to try to bring into people’s living rooms and be able to just connect the best way we possibly can right now.”

Normally held in September, Maressa shared that it was decided that moving the Farm Tour up into August was a great opportunity to give families something to do before the busy-ness of school begins in September and feature farms whose crops won’t be in season next month, like berries.

This year’s virtual farm tour features 11 different farms around the county, and includes a question and answer panel with four of our local farmers from Triple Wren Farms, Appel Farms, Pleasant Valley Creamery, and Cloud Mountain Farm Center.

While the in-person experience couldn’t happen this year, there have been a couple benefits to going virtual. The added accessibility has allowed more people to “tour” area farms. In past years, the Farm Tour was held one weekend only, but the video is now available to viewers all through the month of August 2020. Another benefit is being able to “visit” farms that aren’t usually open to the public, like Cascadia Mushrooms and Misty Meadows Farm.

The community can access the Farm Tour video at Eatlocalfirst.org. Visitors to the page will need to register for the event and will then be sent a link to watch the video. They will also be able to learn about the Farm Stand Loop happening from August through September, featuring 21 farms with farm stands and food businesses throughout Whatcom and Skagit Counties.