Farm Land Trust purchases 29-acre James family property in Rochester


By The Chronicle team

The Olympia-based Community Farm Land Trust announced on Wednesday the acquisition of 29 acres of the historic James 1852 pioneer family farm, located south of Rochester.

The purchase was made on August 3, according to a press release from the land trust. The farmland will continue to be used for food production and agriculture, according to the land trust, and will be leased to Common Ground Community Supportive Action, one of the region’s oldest community-supported producers who provide produce. local agriculture. The land will be turned every few years.

“I believe this will be a great asset to the community… I am grateful to be part of the vision of stewardship of the land and the sustainability of agriculture and farming vital for family, neighbors, the community and generations to come, ”said the Gayle sisters. and Cheryl James in a statement.

Along with their sister Lori James, the trio sold the property to Community Farm Land Trust, aware of the historic significance of the property and are supportive of its transition.

The sisters also have a strong personal bond with their grandparents’ farm.

“As kids we spent many years having wonderful times with our cousins ​​playing in the barn, sliding down the hill on cardboard, eating giant Wolf River apples from the orchard. ‘down the hill’, walking to the river and sharing Sunday dinners around our grandparents’ tables, sometimes eating wild nettles that were picked nearby, ”said Lori James.

Before the occupation of the land by the James family, it had been used from time immemorial by the upper Chehalis tribe.

“From the start, relations between the James family and the Chehalis tribe were friendly with reciprocal trade and other social interactions. In 1854, when a second wave of European diseases hit the Chehalis, the James family helped care for the sick, taking care of the worst cases and providing medicine, ”the press release said.

In return, the Chehalis tribe granted the James family permission to remain on the prairie as permanent residents.

“We grew up knowing how much the James family owed the Chehalis tribe for their generosity in allowing them to settle on their land, offering them a chance to create a new life,” said Lori James.

Primary funding for the acquisition came from the Thurston County Conservation Futures program, the Tides Foundation, and supporters and members of the Community Farm Land Trust.

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