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.) Read more
Students at Outdoor School – photo courtesy of MESD Outdoor School
July 2 Update:
Outdoor School legislature SB 439 will become Oregon law! It passed the floor of the House of Representatives with a 59-0 vote. Read more from the Outdoor School for All campaign here
The Outdoor School For All campaign seeks to secure lasting public funding for every Oregon fifth or sixth grader to experience a full week of Outdoor education. At our last Board Meeting on March 2nd, 2015, the EMSWCD Board of Directors joined 11 other organizations by approving endorsement of the Outdoor School for All campaign.
Many District residents have come to our Board meetings to relate the positive impact that Outdoor School has had on their lives. Outdoor education has been shown to help students develop leadership, social and critical thinking skills, while also fostering an appreciation for the natural environment and the importance of conserving it. In recent years, EMSWCD has joined with other local entities to provide funding to our local Outdoor School. We believe a long-term, statewide funding solution is necessary to ensure all Oregon students have access to this valuable, engaging and highly educational experience. Read more
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. Read more
The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) awards $739,322 through its 2015 Partners in Conservation (PIC) grants for conservation and environmental education projects.
We received 34 PIC applications this year, representing projects in each of five grant program areas: restoration and monitoring, stormwater management and urban landscaping, urban gardens and sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and equitable access to conservation benefits. The PIC grant program funds projects through a competitive process in order to support the efforts that are most closely aligned with the EMSWCD’s strategic priorities.
This year, the EMSWCD Board of Directors awarded 24 grants, including two multi-year PIC Plus grants. EMSWCD provides partial funding for most of these projects, with a minimum 1-1 match for all grant amounts over $10,000. EMSWCD’s PIC funding for 2015 will leverage more than $2 million in additional support! A wide variety of projects were funded this year, from a project to restore over 100 acres in the Mirror Lake floodplain to another project that will establish a new community garden at the Floyd Light Middle School in East Portland.
Read the full press release here (PDF), which includes the full list of 24 grant projects and details about each. Learn more about our annual and monthly grants here.
Thank you for supporting our Native Plant Sale! We had a fantastic plant sale “pickup day” this last Saturday: hundreds of people picked up their plant orders, and now thousands of native plants are being planted in and around the District, which will help restore native habitat, support wildlife and lower outdoor water usage. We also want to thank our wonderful volunteers, who helped us package the plants, sort customer orders and distribute them on Saturday! Our Plant Sale would not have been possible without your efforts.
If you are still looking for more native plants, see our Local Sources of Native Plants page. There are several other nearby native plant sales coming soon!
If you were not able to pick up your plants on Saturday, we will process a refund for your order this week. You can email Alex Woolery, our Marketing and Media Specialist, or call him at (503) 935-5367, if you have any questions about your order. Thank you for supporting our Native Plant Sale!
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) and the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University are offering a family farm succession program, entitled “What Does the Future Hold for Your Farm?,” on Tuesday, February 3 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Milwaukie Center, 5440 SE Kellogg Creek Drive, Milwaukie, OR 97222. There is no cost for the program and light refreshments will be served.
Our infographic on Oregon farmer trends, based on data from the USDA 2012 Census of Agriculture
The average age of farmers in Oregon is now over 59 years (see our infographic) and many family farms are facing a transition between generations, or to someone outside of the family. There are many important issues for farm families to consider when retiring from farming. “Can the current owners afford to retire?” “Do the children in the family want to keep farming?” “How do we transfer the farm’s assets?” These are just some of the important questions and issues that will be addressed. Read more