It takes a lot to get a farm business off the ground. Growing skills need to be honed to specific microclimates, markets must be explored and established, and there are business and legal structures to develop, budgets to put together, and weed and pest management strategies to define, to name just a few essentials. However, much of this can’t happen without sufficient capital to make the initial investments in land, equipment, and farm infrastructure.
Our goal with the Headwaters Incubator Program is to identify individuals with farm experience, but who lack the capital necessary to launch their own farm business. To do this, the District makes available tools, equipment, and infrastructure essential to successfully producing in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, these items are so critical that the majority of staff time and budget for Headwaters Incubator Program’s inaugural season was committed to developing these basic assets, including a barn, greenhouse, irrigation system, wash station, and walk in cooler. Read more →
Today we added a whole new set of photos to give you a look behind the scenes at Headwaters Farm, with pictures of cover crops, events at Headwaters, conservation practices, the construction of our new barn and more!
We are accepting applications for the 2014 Farm Incubator Program until 5pm November 1st! All interested applicants, please turn in your application materials by that time, and visit the Incubator Application section of our site if you have any questions about the program, how to apply, or about Headwaters Farm. You can also contact Rowan Steele, our Farm Incubator Manager, through our contact form.
One of our favorite times in the EMSWCD Grants office are the days that final reports come in. As much as we’d like to visit every project we fund, the day to day responsibilities of running our grants program keep us in the office most of the time. That is why we are so thrilled to read your project completion reports after your project is over–it is the next best thing to being there, seeing the impact your project had on a habitat, stream, or a child’s education in conservation. Final reports also help us understand if your project was a success–did you meet your stated objectives? If not, why? What can other organizations learn from your successes or challenges?
Today, we received a SPACE Grant final report from the Sauvie Island Center. Our board approved a $1500 SPACE grant in March to help fund 25 students from the Peninsula Community Center to attend a week of Farm Camp. They are excited to report that 26 kids from North Portland neighborhoods spent the week learning about wildlife and the food web, the role pollinators play in our food supply, and harvesting vegetables to cook and eat for lunch.
While Sauvie Island isn’t within our District’s Boundaries, it is the closest farmland to North Portland. The Sauvie Island Center is committed to increasing food, farm and environmental literacy in the community by providing hands-on educational field trips for elementary school children. Often, it is the first opportunity children have to visit a real, working farm so close to the city where they live. Take a look at their video to see more about what they do.
As a farmer, it’s extremely satisfying to see a healthy, robust stand of cover crop germinating. Cover crops can provide a myriad of benefits, including soil retention, transferring atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, suppressing weeds, adding organic matter, reducing compaction, and improving soil depth—saving a farmer time and money in the long run. There are many types of cover crops, and proper selection depends on soil necessities, season, budget, equipment available, weed pressure, climate, and other factors. Given the dynamic problem-solving nature of cover crops, it should come as no surprise that they are a key piece of our conservation agriculture program at Headwaters Farm.
On August 15, 2013, the first scoop of a 1930s era dam was removed from the Sandy River Delta, representing a decade of planning to restore the original flow into the Columbia. EMSWCD grants staff attended the ceremony sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers to witness the first step of many in this complex restoration project. Sandy River Basin Watershed Council, another partner involved in Delta’s restoration, will begin a multi-year restoration of the Toucan Wing of the Delta with funding from EMSWCD’s Partners in Conservation grant program. Read more about it at in The Gresham Outlook.