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!
What I took away from Field School 2014
by Rowan Steele, Farm Incubator Manager
On October 3rd the farm incubator world descended on Headwaters Farm as part of the National Incubator Farm Training Initiative’s (NIFTI) annual Field School. The three-day event included two days of meetings, lectures, discussions and networking, and ended with a day of farm tours and onsite presentations.
As with any conference, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of topics, interactions, ideas and the general “nerd-fest.” The 2014 NIFTI Field School was no different—a complete inundation of everything that is beginning farmer development. It has taken a few weeks just to process the experience. In fact, I think it might take a full off-season before the content can be fully synthesized in relation to the Headwaters Incubator Program (HIP). Read more
It’s been a great season for the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program; one that has seen both the farm and its farmers grow by leaps and bounds.
This year there were eight farm businesses operating at Headwaters Farm. These businesses range from small scale medicinal herb operations to multi-acre vegetable production for restaurant sales. The diversity being produced onsite is evident in the range of markets where these products are sold. For example, several incubator farms practice Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)—subscription farming directly to the consumer—some of which are even forging a new approach to this model by providing bulk ‘canning shares’ of complementary preservable crops, like dill, pickling cucumbers, and garlic. Still Other farmers go with more traditional routes like selling at farmers markets or to local retail outlets. Read more
I am very excited as I begin my first week as the Executive Director of the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (EMSWCD). With a great staff, supportive board, helpful partners and a motivated public, we are ready to build on our successful track record to make a big difference in the lives of people living in the district.
During my career, I’ve had the pleasure of helping protect land and water at local, national, regional and global levels. As such, I know the positive results that local organizations like EMSWCD can have in restoring and protecting natural resources. I look forward to helping the EMSWCD achieve its conservation goals from the eastern reaches of Multnomah County to the Willamette River, a beautiful part of the world. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions you might have. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 935-5352. Read more