This summer’s crops are popping up in the rolling hills south of the Spokane Valley.
Also popping up this summer are signs identifying those crops: peas, barley, wheat, lentils, bluegrass, alfalfa.
The signs - which can be seen along Highway 27, the Palouse Highway, and Elder Road between Rockford and the Idaho state line - were erected by the local chapter of Washington Women for Agriculture. The signs are intended to help passersby learn about the many crops that grow from the area’s dark, rich soil.
“What we’re trying to do is educate the people where their food comes from,” said Peggy Collier, who with her husband has farmed in the Rockford area for the past 18 years. “A lot of people don’t stop to think about it when they go to the grocery store that the food they’re buying comes from somewhere.”
Collier, along with Teresa Mahn and Kathy Cornwall, also of the Rockford area, established the local chapter of Washington Women for Agriculture last May. The local group is an off-shoot of an organization based in Sunnyside, Wash.
“We thought it would be a good idea (to have the crop identification signs in place) around the Fourth of July, with people from Spokane driving these roads down here to the Indian reservations for fireworks,” said Collier.
The rectangular signs - which measure five feet wide, 12 inches tall and have green lettering on a white background - stand about five feet above the ground on poles along the roadside.
“It’s a good idea,’ said Roger Schuman, a Waverly farmer. “Even farmers can’t tell what’s in the field when the field’s been turned and everything raked under.”
Along with the crop identification signs, the Washington Women for Agriculture chapter plans to put up a second series of signs.
Those signs will provide descriptions of the various products that come from locally grown crops, the number of families a single farmer feeds and other information.
“The interest shown from the community has been wonderful,’ said Collier who gathered $2,000 in donations from local businesses to pay for the crop identification signs. The signs were made by inmates of the state prison in Walla Walla. , DataTimes
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