The Bean and Grain Project
The Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project is a consortium of farmers, agencies, non-profits, community organizers and business owners who believe that growing nutritionally dense beans and grains in the valley and selling them to local markets is a great idea. It makes good agricultural and economical sense, while helping establish long term regional food security.
It is estimated that with our current agricultural acreage, the Willamette Valley could provide food for all of its residents, including the Portland Metro Area. Although staples such as beans and grains were once grow in quantity in the valley, the past three decades of industrialization have seen grass seed production account for 60% of the farmed acreage. Food crops currently occupy only 18% of Willamette Valley agricultural lands. In these times of financial market instabilities, peaking oil production, and climate change uncertainties, rebuilding a local food system will enhance both economic and food security.
The Bean and Grain project envisions using the fertile soils of the Willamette Valley to feed our bioregion first, and growing food for export second. The project hopes to stimulate the cultivation and local marketing of organically grown bean and grains to provide a foundation for year-round food resources in the valley.
2008 participating farms:
Sunbow Farm, Corvallis- 15 acre organic farm, owner Harry MacCormack has provided much of the motivation and vision for this project. He has been experimenting with varieties of beans and grains not historically found in the Willamette Valley for the past four years.
Stalford Seed Farms, Tangent- recently transitioned the food production portion of a 9000-acre conventional grass farm. Owners Willow Coberly and Harry Stalford have transitioned 130 acres to organic cultivation of bean and grain crops, and are in the process of transitioning 400 additional acres. They planted 1200 acres in conventional soft white wheat this year.
Excerpted from the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project Executive Summary, January 2009. Link to a detailed report at Mud City Press. For general questions, requests for materials, or to get involved contact the Willamette Food and Farm Coalition in Lane County or Ten Rivers Food Web in Benton, Linn and Lincoln Counties.