Warm Valley Farm
2008 Stewardship Award Winner – Farmland Category
Bill and Barbara Humes have maintained Warm Valley Farm just past the ferry landing on Orcas Island for over 45 years. Their commitment to conservation spans this entire timeframe. The Humes helped form the SJC Conservation District. Bill Humes remains as a Associate Supervisor, and continues to provide valuable information and input to the Conservation District and to the County’s Agricultural Resource Committee.
In 1994, the Humes were one of the first to form an agreement with the SJC Land Bank to place their lovely 78-acre farm in conservation status. To this day, the sheep are well kept, the land maintained beautifully, and the farm continues to supply many island families with sheep and wool.
In addition to protecting their own property from development, the Humes have served as farming mentors and community leaders and have shown what it means to “lead by example”: They allow neighbors to pasture their sheep without charge and have worked alongside their neighbors to maintain a successful agricultural area in Warm Valley. The Humes have ideas, knowledge and experience that help serve new farmers in the community. As one nominator stated, “These people are exemplary on our island and have been and continue to be great citizens, strong contributors, and loving people. I heartily recommend this fine, deserving couple to receive this stewardship award.” Others have said of the Humes that they are continuously seeking new ideas, and finding new ways to conserve resources and be outstanding stewards of the place that they live.
The Humes have proven that being a great farmer doesn’t just mean keeping good care of the land…it also means keeping good care of your neighbors, too.