Paul Sangha and his family have been farming in Whatcom County for about 30 years.
“I’m a first-generation Punjabi Sikh berry farmer in Whatcom County,” Sangha said. He is a blueberry farmer.
“My biggest fear with what we are headed into right now is not just for my family and my farm but for our Whatcom County community as a whole,” he said. “Currently, my concerns match everybody else’s. When you come up with ideas like the adjudication — this topic holds a very sensitive point for me and my family and the entire East Indian community. … The fears come into my mind which then continue to just make me think of only myself: What will become of our family farm? Are we going to lose our crops and our way of life? Are we going to lose all of our water? Do we have property loss, value loss? If we’re going to have to spend our resources to just defend ourselves, then how can we spend those resources into our community to help one another?”
Sangha says the farming has done a great job reaching out to understand both sides.
“I think salmon recovery and all of our watersheds and things that the farming community has created are representative of a big effort to try to alleviate any tensions or any friction that we have with each other,” Sangha said.
He says right now is a critical point where the community can come together to understand each concern. He says the community needs to listen to each other, get clarity and try to understand where the other person is coming from.
“At this point both sides just needed a little bit more patience, a little bit more time and I fully believe in every culture, in every community, and every background, that we can come together,” Sangha said. “And, Whatcom County’s farmers and Whatcom County’s water sources can resolve this issue and we can all flourish in Whatcom County like we’ve been allowed to in the past.”
Sangha says it’s important to keep yourself updated.
“One of the initial and most important steps you can take is go to fishneedfarms.org and gain a very clear understanding of what we are all up against and what we are trying to work together for.”