From our farmers: New ways of thinking about farmland transfers

This is a farmer-contributed post in our “From our farmers” series, written by Emily Cooper of Full Cellar Farm, who is enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program. In this piece, Emily explores three different ways farmland can be passed from one owner to the next.

As I finish up my third year at Headwaters, I have naturally started thinking about what comes next. Although my husband’s off-farm job makes it possible for us to get a conventional mortgage, the cost of land in the Willamette Valley is generally much higher than any loan (and resulting mortgage payments) we could afford. Leasing land, while attractive for financial reasons, frequently comes with strings attached, and presents the possibility of friction with a landowner-landlord who doesn’t fully understand what it means to share their property with a working farm.

For those reasons, I have felt a little bit stymied by the options open to me. Earlier this month, though, I had the chance to attend a session on non-traditional ways to secure land tenure at the Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference. After the skillful presentation of Carrie Scrufari of Vermont Law School, I left with my head full of possibilities, questions, and a little more hope for the future of my farm. Read more

A new partnership with the Multnomah Grange

On Friday, April 14, 2017, the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) and the Multnomah Grange signed a 20-year Memorandum of Agreement for the use and improvement of the Grange facility, located in rural east Gresham. Under the agreement, EMSWCD will help bring some needed improvements to the facility, which will then be used by EMSWCD for public meetings and events geared towards helping community members improve soil and water conditions on their properties. Jay Udelhoven, EMSWCD Executive Director, said of the agreement, “What a great marriage of need and opportunity! We’re in need of a reliable meeting location and the Grange has an opportunity to meet those needs by making some minor improvements to their facility.”


The Multnomah Grange, a local affiliate of the Oregon State Grange, serves as a social center for the local community. The Grange is used by the general public for occasions such as bluegrass music shows, community sales, and art fairs, among other uses. For more information, see the Multnomah Grange Facebook page.

Our 2017 Native Plant Sale was a success!

Golden currant (Ribes aureum), one of the many plants available in our 2017 Native Plant Sale

Our annual Native Plant Sale store wrapped up last Saturday, February 18th as everybody picked up their plants. Thank you for supporting our plant sale! Roughly 11,000 native plants have been distributed to new homes in and around the District, which will help restore native habitat, lower outdoor water usage and support beneficial wildlife.

If you did not receive certain plants or have questions about your order, please contact Alex Woolery. We will process refunds for purchased plants that were not fulfilled due to stock shortages. If you did not pick up your order, we will issue a refund to you, minus a restocking fee (see full details here).

From our farmers: Where do all the veggies go?

Brindley and Spencer of Tanager Farm selling their CSA shares at a neighborhood market

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! Read more

Vacancies for EMSWCD Associate Board Director positions

The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) is seeking up to five Associate Board Directors. EMSWCD is a local government entity that serves over 700,000 residents who live, own, and/or manage land east of the Willamette River in Multnomah County, Oregon. The EMSWCD service area encompasses 230,000 acres, which includes the City of Portland and portions of three major watersheds, all of which contribute to the Greater Columbia River Basin.

The EMSWCD Board is composed of five publicly-­elected Board Directors and several appointed Associate Board Directors. Associate Board Directors help EMSWCD achieve its mission to help people care for land and water by participating in monthly board and committee meetings, representing the EMSWCD in the community, and by providing input on programs, policies, and grants. Associate Board Directors are non-staff volunteer positions that do not vote on Board decisions, but may be appointed to Board Committees wherein all Committee members vote. Read more

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