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
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
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
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
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
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.
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. Read more
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
Is your organization looking for funding for a conservation project? You can apply for a Partners in Conservation (PIC) grant!
What we fund:
Projects must address one or more of the following topics:
- Habitat Restoration / Monitoring
- Water Quality / Conservation
- Sustainable Gardening / Agriculture
- Stormwater Management
There are two types of grants available:
- PIC Grants: shorter term projects with a one year time frame, for a minimum grant award of $5,000 and a maximum of $60,000.
- PIC Plus Grants: projects with a time frame of two to three years, between $5,000 and $100,000 per year.
Grant applications are due by December 15th this year; don’t delay! Application materials are now available. If you have questions about applying for a grant, please contact Suzanne Easton, EMSWCD Grants Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about PIC Grants! See some past grant Project Highlights
You can also learn about our 2015 PIC grants awarded here.