Against a backdrop of crops, greenhouses, and open vistas, U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene presented a Congressional Record honoring organic farmer Claire Thomas, who founded and still operates the Root Connection farm in the Sammamish Valley between Woodinville and Redmond. The Congressional Record honors Thomas for establishing the first community supported agriculture (CSA) farm in Washington. It also cites Thomas’s innovative projects on behalf of farmland preservation and productivity, and her non-profit that coordinates with other local farms to deliver surplus crops to food banks.
During the hour and a half that DelBene spent at the Root Connection on Aug 2, Thomas gave an in-depth tour of the 20-acre farm. She described the process of acquiring the farm and restoring its productivity. She explained their organic farming methods, their choice of crops, soil improvement, pest control, crop rotation, and their annual production.
Thomas pointed out that the USDA has ranked the Sammamish Valley as one of the ten most fertile agricultural areas in the nation. By Thomas’s calculation, if all 300 acres of Farmland Preservation Property in the valley were cultivated using the same intensive methods she uses at the Root Connection, the land could produce $54,000,000 of fresh organic vegetables each year.
“Claire Thomas and Suzan DelBene are both extraordinary women. It made sense to me to introduce them to each other, particularly because Suzan is Washington’s only representative on Congressional Agriculture committees,” says Vicki Grayland, who was inspired to suggest the Congressional Record after meeting DelBene and Thomas through the Sierra Club. “Having a farmer who is so articulate and energetic, and a Congresswoman who is so effective and committed to her constituents, we are in a strong position to preserve the rare gift we have in the Sammamish Valley.”