Category Archives: News

From our farmers: On the challenges of farming and family

John and Heather's Family - Springtail Farm

This is the fifth in our “From our farmers” series, which was contributed by John Felsner of Springtail Farm, one of the farmers enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program.

The challenges of producing food are innumerable: prices for land, materials, inputs, fuel, and insurance always seem to be rising; the uncertainties and rapid transformation of climate and weather patterns; eking out a living in a fickle market, and the list goes on. When my partner Heather and I made a decision to start a small family of our own, we were familiar with the difficulties of market gardening, as well as the satisfaction and promise it provided. What we were entirely unfamiliar with were children. What we’ve discovered since having one—and what has been both rewarding and unfathomably challenging—is that the hardest part of raising a healthy child while producing food is learning to manage relationships. Because, like good, honest food production, a child demands a full, healthy community in order to thrive and meet his or her full potential.

The highest hurdle for us with raising a child and farming is making time for everything that needs to be done day in-and-day-out. An off-farm source of income has always been the mainstay of our farming work, but this presents additional challenges. Read more

Our 2016 Native Plant Sale

Thank you for supporting our 2016 Native Plant Sale! The plant sale pickup day went very well: a nice break in the recent rainy weather, and more than 10,000 native plants were sent on their way to new homes in and around the District, which will help restore native habitat, lower outdoor water usage and support beneficial wildlife. We also want to thank our amazing volunteers for helping us put together customer orders and distribute them on Saturday! Our Plant Sale would not have been possible without your efforts.

If you are looking for more native plants, or were not able to order all the plants you wanted, please see our Local Sources of Native Plants page. There are many great retail locations that offer native plants, and several other nearby native plant sales coming soon!

If you were not able to pick up your plants on Saturday or did not receive some of the plants you ordered, we will process a refund or partial refund for your order this week. You can email Alex Woolery, our Marketing and Media Manager, or call him at (503) 935-5367, if you have any questions about your order.

Kathy Shearin interview on XRAY.fm’s “Grow PDX” show

Kathy Shearin in the EMSWCD 'Conservation Corner' yard

Kathy Shearin, our Urban Lands Program Supervisor, was interviewed last week on XRAY.FM! Her interview took place on a segment called Grow PDX, a show that focuses on horticulture, urban gardening, community food systems and agriculture. Learn about Naturescaping, rain gardens and the benefits of native plants, and pick up some simple tips for your yard or landscape!

Listen to the full show here.

Be sure also to check out our free workshops to learn more about these topics!

Educator/landscape professionals needed to present Sustainable Landscapes Workshops

Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

We are seeking educator/landscape professionals to conduct additional workshops! Please note that this is a contract and not a staff position. Our workshops are held evenings and on weekends, and are on topics such as Naturescaping, Site Planning, Site Planning Feedback, Rain Gardens, Native Plants and Simple Drip Irrigation.

Please see our Workshop Presenter page for more information about this position and how to apply.

Welcome to our new Conservation Program Supervisor, Andrew Brown!

Conservation Program Supervisor Andrew Brown

On behalf of EMSWCD board members and staff, we are very pleased to welcome our new Conservation Program Supervisor, Andrew Brown!

Andrew oversees the Conservation Legacy Program, which includes the Grants, Land Legacy and Farm Incubator programs, and serves as the District-wide planner. Andrew’s conservation and planning experience stems from his public, non-profit and private work in South Africa. During that time he worked in the Park Planning and Development Department of South African National Parks where he coordinated a regional landscape conservation initiative, and he also managed various conservation planning, land consolidation, stewardship and restoration projects.

Andrew came to the EMSWCD most recently from the Multnomah County Drainage District where he served as a Management Analyst. He holds an M.S. in Conservation Biology from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent in the UK, and a B.S. in Botany and Environmental and Geographical Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Please join us in welcoming Andrew to our organization!

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