Heritage Farms, a 79-acre Clark County historical gem tucked away on Northeast 78th Street west of Northeast 25th Avenue in Vancouver, is updating its 10-year master plan this year and is looking for community input.
The farm first functioned as what was then called a “poor farm” from 1871 to 1943, intended to provide a place for impoverished people to live, raise their own livestock and harvest the crops they have grown. After 1949 the property was turned into an experimental agricultural station by Washington State University.
To ensure its master plan reflects the needs of the communities it serves, the county is encouraging the public to take an online survey about the plan to help measure preferences on how the farm’s land is used and developed in the future.
Among other things, the survey includes the possibility of establishing an onsite farmers market, expanding the WSU partnership to offer additional nutrition and gardening classes, and including a startup incubator/learning program for new farmers.
Joe Zimmerman, the farm operations specialist and site manager said the farm is important because it is feeding hungry people all over the Clark County area.
“Just last year we raised almost 100,000 pounds of fresh produce for the Clark County Food Bank,” he said. “We are helping our county, we’re helping our community.”
Feeding the local community is not the only benefit the farm provides; they also work with a local non-profit called Partners in Careers to help local veterans after they come home from deployment.
Other business around the farm
Along with planning for the farm’s future, the county has been working on a number of other changes laid out in the 2010 master plan: officials decided not to repair or rebuild the silos and the parking lot has been expanded.