Whatcom Conservation District
by Joe Monjure
The Whatcom Conservation District will have an election on March 10 for a supervisor position. There are five supervisors. They serve without compensation and set policy and direction for the district. Whatcom County registered voters must have requested an absentee ballot by February 9, 2015. Absentee ballots must be returned to Whatcom Conservation District or post marked no later than March 10, 2015, by 6 p.m. Ballots can be cast in person on March 10, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 6975 Hannegan Road, Lynden.
There are two candidates for the supervisor positions, Larry Helm (incumbent) and Joy Monjure. Both candidates were contacted and asked to provide an article for Whatcom Watch. Below is the response from Joy Monjure. Larry Helm didn’t respond to a message left on his answering machine.
As Whatcom County’s population grows and weather patterns change, local commercial farmers, fishers, and tourist-related business owners will find it harder and harder to remain profitable. The loss of these important industries could change the character and long-term health of our county. I believe the Whatcom Conservation District is poised to become a leader in ensuring that these critical economic and environmental resources are protected and I would be honored to contribute to their efforts.
Upon moving to Everson in 1989 I became aware of, and involved in, sustainable farming. Elected to the Everson City Council in 1995, I served three terms. I also served as president of the Everson/Nooksack Chamber of Commerce. My public service work led to an opportunity to help convene local farmers with the goal of increasing their profitability through effective marketing to raise awareness of the value of agriculture. To that end, I created the Whatcom County Farm Map and Guide and the community fall harvest dinner. I was instrumental in bringing community leaders together to foster understanding that a thriving economy depends on a healthy environment. I have served on the Farm Fund and the Whatcom Watershed Information Network, a coalition of local government and non-profit groups that focuses on water resource education.
My husband Ron and I raised two sons and are blessed with three beautiful grandchildren. In 2010 I opened Field of Greens, a small farm market in Everson (fieldofgreens.biz). Living 25 years on a working farm has provided me with first-hand knowledge and experience of the hard work, sacrifice and satisfaction of food production.
My 23 years as education and communications coordinator for Bellingham Public Works lit a passion for environmental protection and public service. I served on the boards of the Coalition for Healthy Communities, Domestic Violence Commission, Whatcom County Flood Hazard Management Committee and Whatcom Council of Governments. In 2014, I ran for Washington state Representative. That campaign reignited my belief in the importance of serving the community. I met so many active, dedicated citizens working tirelessly to preserve our rich culture for the sake of future generations.
The Whatcom Conservation District is a good fit for my skills, experience, interests, and my life. Their volunteer, incentive-based programs result in real, on-the-ground solutions. Farmers and landowners are required to comply with regulations around managing ground and surface water, soil, and manure. This award-winning District does not enforce regulations, but provides expert technical, financial and education services to build trust and empower landowners with the tools they need to be good stewards of their land.
Over time, in order to create productive farms, we have cleared land and changed natural water patterns by ditching, draining, straightening and filling our waterways. These systems were home to large populations of salmon, trout and other wildlife that are now threatened with extinction. Bacteria in our rivers and streams from failing septic systems, wastewater treatment, livestock and wildlife has impaired our local shellfish industry. The Whatcom Conservation works to restore these systems with a focus on making sure that farmers, fishers and small landowners remain profitable and continue the important work of providing food.