November 30 Update: North Olympic Peninsula Farmers Convergence & Mixer

The Convergence & Mixer is happening December 3 at the Finnriver Cidery in Chimacum, WA. Here's another update on the preparations.

Finnriver Logo


1:00 to 5:30: Farmer networking & discussion groups.

5:30 to 6:00: Open mike for proposals, ideas, offers.

6:00 to 6:30: Farming Awards Ceremony. Nominate your favorite farmer.

6:30 to 9:30. All Farmer Mixer Dance with the High Waisted Ramblers

* From 2:00 to 5:00 pm, Pretty Gritty and Small Souls will be playing live music on the Finnriver stage.

Farmers & their families, interns, farmworkers, aspiring farmers, local ag folks and friends.

Invitations have been sent to 50 to 100 farmers in Jefferson, Clallam, Kitsap and north Mason Counties. The Convergence has been mentioned in the WSU Coop Extension newsletter and various other internet channels, posters are around and there is a buzz. On December 3 we will find out how far the word has spread and what parts of the farm community it attracts. We are celebrating the local food system as well. Farmers, farm workers, processors, stores, farmers markets and all the people who make the agricultural economy work. We will give awards to people in all these categories. We are up to 36 people going on our Facebook Page and are hoping for 100 to 200 to attend.

North Olympic farm communities of today are a far cry from the bustling small farm communities and economies of the early 1900s with its network of granges and community life.  The farm communities were partially depopulated during World War II and gradually dwindled until the1970s when a new wave of small farmers moved into the scene and gradually co-evolved with the traditional farm families. Today there is a new wave of young farmers entering onto the scene.  There is a sense of revival - A re-weaving of the fabric of rural culture. The fabric of rural culture is always changing but always retains elements of the old. The Convergence is an opportunity to celebrate our part in the warp and weft of our evolving farm culture, tapestry, the old and the new.

Festive gatherings help maintain social connections and facilitates the exchange of knowledge and viewpoints. These strengthen a group’s resilience and allow it to maintain its distinctive life-ways. A thriving farm sector economy improves the overall local economy. The convergence offers an opportunity to make connections which can lead to your farm or ag business running better and being more profitable.

Farmers share the seasonal round as we wind down another growing season - finish root digging, seed cleaning, food processing and packing our bounty into root cellars and pantries, firewood gathering and winterizing. Time to be social around the fire, drink cider and swap stories.

Discussion Groups Schedule:

The discussion groups will be held in the Farmhouse Co-Lab. A warm, dry location where we won’t have to contend with the music.

2:00 - 3:00.

* Government Agriculture Policy

Mark Jochems, Jefferson County Planning Commission, District 2, will be on hand to answer questions and inform us on the ways we can have input.  Land use, housing, zoning, etc. Members of the Policy Committee of the Jefferson County Local Food System Council will be there and the Olympic Peninsula Regenerative Agriculture Alliance has a Position Paper they can introduce. We will compile a list of ideas from the participants.

3:00 - 4:00

* Menu for the Future.

Judy Alexander. Jefferson County Local Food Systems Council.

At this 1-hour offering, learn how you might host, or join, an existing Menu for the Future course this Jan/Feb or March.  Each group will have a farmer, fisherman, cheese maker, or other food producer as a participant to inform the dialogue as to what it means to depend on your local community of eaters for your livelihood.  Books cost $20, no other fees associated with taking the course.  User friendly syllabus means no "teacher" is necessary.  Read, discuss, digest, and act on what you find of value from the process.  Books will be available on Dec 3rd, and are also sold at:  Chimacum Corner Store, Jefferson County Library, and the PT Food Coop member services desk.  See more about course content at:

* Herb Growers Cooperative for Northwest Washington. Introduction to the current process. Accepting ideas and founding members.

4:00 - 5:00.

* Farmland accessibility and the rising cost of land.

Proposed by Alexa Belbling, Moonlight Farm.

* Local Seed Discussion Group.

Tessa Gowan, Seed Dreams, Steve Habersetzer, Oatsplanter Seeds, et al.

Suggested but not scheduled.  We can do these if there is enough interest.

* Crop pest issues in the North Olympic peninsula.  Current situation, organic controls and ways to improve the situation. Apple maggot, codling moth, drysophila fruit fly, others.

* Bulk tree & shrub purchase.  The Conservation District’s spring tree sale is a great place to get native trees.  Are you looking for trees or shrubs they don’t carry?  Want to do a group buy? Windbreaks, hedgerows, tree crops, berries,

* Other discussion groups can be scheduled at the event.

Farming Awards: 

Who would you like to honor for their farming, for service to the farm community and the local food economy?  Get them to attend. 

Open Mic period:

The floor is open for ideas, proposals, announcements, what have you.

Farm Film Festival. Winter of 2017/2018

This is in the works and details and movies will be announced at the Convergence. 

Children welcome. Finnriver is always open to children. Terry Du Beau will be on hand with some activities for children aged 6 to 12.  Terry is the after-school coordinator at Swan School.

Bring your business cards, catalogs, price lists, posters, handbills, promotional material.  We will have a table space and bulletin board for people to use.  There will be displays by Friends of the Trees Society, Jefferson County Local Food System Council, Port Townsend Food Coop, Olympic Peninsula Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Jefferson County Herbalists Guild, Northwest Washington Herb Growers Cooperative, WSU County Extension, Farmstand Local Foods, and more.

Bring some farm products to reward the band. No cover charge but we will have donation jars out. 

Lend a hand at the convergence. Can you help out for a few hours with set-up, registration, sign-making, etc? Some of this will be done at Finn River on Saturday. Contact Michael.

Sponsors include: Friends of the Trees Society, Abakis Music, Jefferson County Local Food System Council, Port Townsend Food Coop, WSU County Extension, Olympic Peninsula Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, and Nash’s Organic Produce.

Contact: Michael Pilarski
360-643-9178. [email protected]

Previous details are at: 

Facebook page 



Sponsors include: Friends of the Trees Society, Abakis Music, Jefferson County Local Food System Council, Port Townsend Food Coop, WSU County Extension, Olympic Peninsula Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, and Nash’s Organic Produce...


MICHAEL “SKEETER” PILARSKI is a life-long student of plants and earth repair. His farming career started in 2nd grade and his organic farming career began in 1972 at age 25. Michael founded Friends of the Trees Society in 1978 and took his first permaculture design course in 1982. Since 1988 he has taught 36 permaculture design courses in the US and abroad. His specialties include earth repair, agriculture, seed collecting, nursery sales, tree planting, fruit picking, permaculture, agroforestry, forestry, ethnobotany, medicinal herb growing, hoeing and wildcrafting. He has hands-on experience with over 1000 species of plants. He is a prolific gathering organizer and likes group singing.