From the Farm

From our Farmers: Where do all the veggies go?

Brindley and Spencer of Tanager Farm selling their CSA shares at a neighborhood market
2017-02-14 08:00:05

This is a farmer-contributed post in our “From our farmers” series, written by Brindley Beckwith and Spencer Suffling of Tanager Farm, both enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program. In this piece, Brindley and Spencer explore options for produce outlets and find a good option in a community venue!

As we were gearing up for our first season with our very own farm and purchasing all the seeds we wanted to grow, we stopped many times and said out loud, “but where will all the veggies go?!” This was both fun and frightening to think about. When you begin the journey of starting your own market farm, you have to think about the various outlets for selling vegetables. Did we want to be a CSA Farm (Community Supported Agriculture)? Or sell to local restaurants? Maybe do wholesale or farmers markets? There are many options, and all are very unique. We knew it was important to understand what the need was, but we also wanted to consider what we would enjoy. So why not try them all?

This is not always the best approach, but we felt that with the support of the Headwaters Incubator Program we were able to start slow (and with limited start-up costs) while getting a feel for the diversity of the Portland Area markets. We learned along the way about where the need was and what we loved to do!
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Unlocking the secrets to soil health

2016-12-27 12:24:42

Attention, farmers! Learn how to get the most out of your soil at an upcoming free workshop in Aurora, “Unlocking the Secrets to Soil Health Success in Organic Systems.” The workshop takes place on January 17th; see the flier for additional details.

RSVP for this free workshop: email Ben at ben@tilth.org or call (503) 580-4767.

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Join us at the Leasing and Purchasing Farmland workshop on November 2nd!

2016-10-20 12:01:03

Join us at Zenger Farm for a free workshop on purchasing and leasing agricultural land on November 2nd! Whether you are a farmer wondering how to get on land or a landowner looking to lease, this workshop has the information for you! This panel discussion and workshop is put on by partners Rogue Farm Corps, OSU Metro Extension Small Farms, EMSWCD, Friends of Family Farmers, and Zenger Farm. The focus of the workshop will be on the Portland Metro region and surrounding area.

Where: Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Rd, Portland 97266 (map link) When: Wednesday November 2nd, 4:30 - 7 PM, with potluck social to follow Please join us! There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion and questions, plus a potluck social afterward! RSVP is appreciated but not required. Please email Nellie McAdams at nellie@roguefarmcorps.org to RSVP or with any questions.
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Now accepting applications for the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program!

montage of photos from Headwaters Farm - lower two right picture courtesy of Chelsea Rutherford
2016-10-01 08:00:19

We are now accepting applications for the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program 2017 growing season! The Farm Incubator Program, now entering its fifth year, involves leasing out sections of our land at Headwaters Farm to motivated, experienced individuals looking to start their own farm business.

Visit the Incubator Application section of our website for information about the program and instructions on how to apply! You can also contact Rowan Steele, our Headwaters Farm Program Manager, at rowan@emswcd.org or (503) 935-5355. All application materials are due by Monday, October 31st, 2016.

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EMSWCD is hiring! Headwaters Farm Operations Assistant

2016-05-24 13:41:43

We are seeking a part-time, seasonal Farm Operations Assistant to engage in a wide range of activities related to running and maintaining Headwaters Farm. The Headwaters Farm Operations Assistant will help support Headwaters Farm staff during the growing season while practicing sound stewardship, maintaining equipment, and operating tractors and other machinery, among other general farm tasks.

The application period for this position has closed. Thank you for your interest! Application materials should have been sent by no later than Friday, June 10th, 2016.

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From our farmers: Thrifty farmer ideas for the season to come

reusing burlap coffee bags as mulch
2016-04-01 12:18:05

This is the sixth in our “From our farmers” series, which was contributed by Sue Nackoney of Gentle Rain Farm, one of the farmers enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program. Originally written in February, this piece features several clever ways Sue and other farmers at Headwaters are conserving resources and reusing materials!

As the days lengthen and we come out of our own hibernation, the urge to get into the soil starts, but usually it is still too wet and cold to do much this time of year here in the northern climes. Here are a handful of ideas to conserve, reuse and re-purpose for the farm or garden that you can do indoors before the busy garden time begins.

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From our farmers: On the challenges of farming and family

John and Heather's Family - Springtail Farm
2016-03-03 08:00:09

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.

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Tour Headwaters Farm on September 16th

crops at Headwaters farm
2015-09-11 16:31:19

Join our tour of Headwaters Farm on September 16th! If you are a farmer considering applying to lease land and farm infrastructure, our Farm Incubator Program may be just for you. Learn all about the farm incubator and EMSWCD’s efforts to utilize and promote conservation agriculture. All are welcome!

The tour will take place on Wednesday, September 16th from 6:00 to 7:30pm. This will be a rain or shine event; please dress accordingly! Contact Rowan ((503) 935.5355 / rowan@emswcd.org) for more information or to RSVP. Directions to the farm will be provided upon RSVP.

See photos of the farm in the Headwaters Farm photo gallery.

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From our farmers: Finding Community at Headwaters

Emily Cooper of Full Cellar Farm
2015-07-23 08:00:11

This is the fourth in our “From our farmers” series, and was contributed by Emily Cooper of Full Cellar Farm, one of the farmers enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program.

There’s a buzz around Headwaters Farm this year, and it isn’t just the bees. With 13 farms leasing land at the incubator (up from 8 last year), the activity here is more evident than ever before. And along with the sounds of the rototillers, irrigation headers, and tractors, there’s another sound that’s harder to hear, but more persistent than any other. It’s the sound of community, and it starts with “Good morning!”

I love farming at Headwaters, and the biggest reason is the community. With so many people here, it’s guaranteed you’re going to bump into someone as you go about your work. Maybe you share the wash station and get to see what variety of radish someone else is growing – or what pests are eating their carrots. Maybe you see a new tool someone is using, and stop to ask how they like it. Maybe you pause in the barn to bemoan your overabundance of tomatillos, and someone else magically has a customer who wants them. Or maybe you just say hi as you pass at the port-a-potty. (I’m lucky enough to host this hub of activity next to my field.)
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Bringing Beneficial Insects to the Farm

Pollinator strip at Headwaters Farm, Mt Hood in the background
2015-06-19 10:00:22

Healthy farmland is a microcosm of a heathy ecosystem; an abundance and diversity of life above and below the soil helping to make nutrients available to plants, ward off pests, pollinate crops, and contribute to the local food web. As the average farm size has grown, there has been a decline in both the quality and quantity of habitats that host farm ecosystems. Other farm practices like broad herbicide application and the reduction of flowering plants have also had negative impacts on beneficial native insects and honey bees.

Headwaters Farm serves as a demonstration site for several approaches to restoring on-farm habitat. The most prominent of these is the restoration work being done in the Dianna Pope Natural Area. This undisturbed area has great habitat and forage value to beneficial insects and is relatively close to the farmland. However, other habitat work is being done within and directly adjacent to fields actively in production. In partnership with the Xerces Society, EMSWCD is developing three defining habitat features: pollinator meadows, hedgerows, and beetle banks.
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