Category Archives: Conservation Legacy

The Launching of a New Farm

Headwaters Incubator Program’s first graduates, Pete and Claire, enjoying the first season on their new plot of land in Canby, Oregon

Udan Farm, Headwaters Incubator Program’s first graduate

Pete and Claire St. Tulnoynum came to the Headwaters Incubator Program (HIP) in 2015 with a couple of seasons of farming under their belt, some produce management experience, and a good understanding of what makes for healthy soil. Using the Lloyd and Woodlawn Farmers Markets as their primary retail outlets, they were able to establish Udan Farm and transition their business onto leased farmland in just two years.

Participants in HIP are given up to five years to launch their business, but Udan Farm’s experience is essentially how the program is designed to work: a farm enters the program and works to refine production practices, establish markets, build farm networks, make investments, and then leaves for their own site (either leased or owned) to continue growing the operation. Or, as Pete explains, “Headwaters Incubator Program was extremely good for us. We got to experience what it was like to work together as a couple, we gleaned ideas from other farmers, and we were able to get the business running.” Read more

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

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

Important information on applying for the Partners in Conservation 2019 grant program

A volunteer at a restoration project

Are you considering applying for a Partners in Conservation (PIC) grant? Please note that EMSWCD is now using an online application system called ZoomGrants. To get started, please create an account and password on the EMSWCD ZoomGrants webpage. Please note the ZoomGrants portal will not be active until November 1st, when EMSWCD begins accepting applications.

Apply on the EMSWCD
ZoomGrants webpage

Note: If you already have a ZoomGrants account from an application to Metro or another organization that uses ZoomGrants, you should enter your existing login information in the page linked above.

All applications are due by 4:00 PM on December 14th, 2018. Read more

Building beetle banks

Illustration of a beetle bank along row crops. Beetle not to scale!

Fight off pests and reduce the need for insecticides with one simple feature! Beetle banks are berms (an area of raised earth) planted with bunch grasses to provide habitat for predatory ground beetles. Beetle banks reduce pest pressure and the need for insecticides, while also helping suppress crop weeds!

Read on for easy instructions on how to build a beetle bank, or join us and our partners at the 2016 Farwest Show (Thursday, August 25th through Saturday the 27th) for a great informational display, complete with a beetle bank model! Read more

Entering a new strategic partnership with the Columbia Slough, Johnson Creek and Sandy River Basin Watershed Councils

Jay Udelhoven and all three Watershed Council Executive Directors sign the SPA agreement.

We are proud to announce the launch of a new long-term partnership with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, and the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council! Under this five-year Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), we will work together with the watershed councils to plan for and implement joint conservation projects within our service area (all of Multnomah County east of the Willamette River). The partnership will include grant funding up to $1.5 million from EMSWCD to the watershed councils as well as joint fund-raising from other sources.

Find out more about the partnership and initial project funding here.

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