The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the final 2017 Census of Agriculture figures in mid-April; statistics for all of Multnomah County are available here. The census findings highlight the importance of EMSWCD’s working farmland protection efforts, as Multnomah County lost 15% of its farmland from 2012 to 2017 – or about 2.5 acres a day.
Farmers in Multnomah County are on average 2 years younger than their peers across Oregon and the US, which is reinforced by our Headwaters Incubator Program for new and beginning farmers. And with the average per-acre value of agricultural land and buildings increasing 75% in Multnomah County to the second highest of any county in Oregon, the importance of our work to improve access to affordable farmland is greater than ever.
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) is pleased to announce that the working farmland protection component of its Land Legacy Program has closed on the acquisition of its first-ever working farmland easement. This month, EMSWCD secured the permanent protection of a 57-acre farm property in the Gresham area.
The acquisition of the easement occurred in conjunction with the sale of the property, which EMSWCD had owned since 2011. EMSWCD acquired the property when it was listed for sale and at risk of no longer being available for productive use by the local farming community. Proceeds from the sale will be used by EMSWCD to protect additional working farm properties.
A working farmland easement is a legally binding blueprint for the future of the property which ensures it will remain in active and highly productive agricultural use. The recently released U.S. Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture underscores the need for these working farmland protection efforts, with Multnomah County losing an average of 2.5 acres of farmland a day during the period from 2012 to 2017.
- About 14 acres of the property is comprised of forest, steep slopes and streams which drain to the Sandy River
The easement for this property also seeks to address the growing challenges of farmland access and affordability. Farmland affordability is a challenge in Multnomah County, with the Census of Agriculture finding a 75% increase in the value of farmland and buildings from 2012 – 2017 and the second highest average farmland/farm building values of any county in Oregon. The easement incorporates provisions that ensure the property will remain in the ownership of a farmer and limits residential infrastructure that could make the property unaffordable for agricultural operators. As part of the transaction, EMSWCD also secured an option to acquire a working farmland easement on another 20-acre property owned by the buyers. Read more
Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.
March 26thth, 2019
Plant Sales, Cultivars and Neonicotinoids, oh my!
Spring is here and it’s time to get those native plants in the ground! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for that perfect addition to your native plant garden. Read more
In 2015 EMSWCD staff began working on awareness building, training and program development around diversity, equity and inclusion. Our communities and workplaces are strengthened by diversity, and more inclusive conservation efforts are necessary to ensure lasting and equitable outcomes. We acknowledge the historical and ongoing disparities in income, education and health in our communities. We also understand that these disparities can impact who has access to healthy land and water. For these reasons, our staff and board are committed to making meaningful changes in the work we do so that all communities can benefit from our programs.
We have recently developed a draft Equity Statement and are seeking input. We hope you will visit our new Equity page, read the draft Equity statement, and let us know if you have any comments, concerns or questions.
This is a farmer-contributed post in our “From our farmers” series, written by Catherine Nguyen of Mora Mora Farm, who is enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program.
Mora Mora Farm is a single-farmer, half-acre, diverse vegetable operation that just wrapped up its first season through the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program. Mora Mora grows produce to sell at one weekend farmers’ market and for a handful of friends in the city. When people find out that it’s just me running the farm, doing everything from seeding and harvest to bed preparation and marketing, the normal response is, “Wait. You’re doing this all on your own?!”
The decision to begin as a single-farmer operation simply stemmed from my own personality. I like being able to see the whole picture: production and sales, starting up my farm and setting up systems to maintain it, figuring out where operational weak points are, and how I can optimize the system as a whole. I knew if I ever wanted to have ownership of a farm and manage people well, I’d better know what the heck I was doing and why.
Of course, being a single-farmer operation comes with its challenges: Read more
Our 2019 Native Plant Sale was a success! With the help of our incredible volunteers, over 14,000 native trees and shrubs were distributed on February 16th, enhancing local habitat and helping keep our land and water healthier.
If you’d like to receive a reminder about next year’s Native Plant Sale, you can join our email list. You can also visit our Native Plant Sale FAQ page to learn more about the event. If you are looking for other places to obtain native plants in the meantime, please see our Local Sources of Native Plants page.