Mike, a founding member of Puyallup Cohousing, bought the farm in 1988 from two elderly sisters who had been growing raspberries on the land since sometime around World War II. In the past, the Puyallup valley was a prime location for raspberry production, with all of the attendant infrastructure necessary to support farming berries. Local raspberry farms diminished in number as their lands were converted to housing and other development. The local packing company closed up shop. Large farms further north were more suitable for automation, hence making hand picking of small farms less competitive.
The farm has been leased to various sharecroppers for the last 30 years. Now, less than 4 acres of the farm are devoted to berries, with other crops such as beans, corn, and pumpkins filling the void.
Development of the Puyallup Valley has continued, and sadly, farmlands are becoming less and less feasible. How best to serve as a good steward for as much as possible of the land in perpetuity?
The farm consists of three contiguous tax parcels of land totaling 17 acres in Pierce County, WA. Two of the parcels (10.75 acres) are within the City of Puyallup’s future urban growth boundary, with current zoning of “Moderate Density Single Family” both in Pierce County and in the City of Puyallup’s long term plan. The hope is that Cohousing could be developed as a group of clustered homes, thereby preserving as much of the land as possible.
Location: Puyallup, WA
Owner: Mike Slama
Size: 17 acre farm comprised of 3 parcels
Not developable: 7 acres – 800 feet riverfront
Developable: 10.75 acres flat farmland w/view of Mt. Rainier
History: Raspberry farm since WWII
Start Date: Core group formation Spring 2020