Dine Out for FoFF through November

All through November, stop by Blossoming Lotus in Portland and Celilo Restaurant in Hood River to Dine Out for FoFF. Enjoy great food and support our work on behalf of Oregon’s family farms!

Blossoming Lotus in Portland

Autumn Squash Gratin from Blossoming Lotus

Blossoming Lotus in Portland is donating a portion of the sales from one of their dishes, the Autumn Squash Gratin with Braised Onions and Brussels Sprout Kraut (pictured on the left), throughout November to Friends of Family Farmers!

Blossoming Lotus serves organic, freshly made, vegan fusion world cuisine with delicious cooked and live food options. Just like FoFF, Blossoming Lotus is dedicated to supporting Oregon’s family farms. Lissa Kane, their Executive Chef, told us that “local farmers bring the freshest, most nutrient-dense food directly to us. With lower transportation costs and fewer emissions, more money stays in the community. And the flavor cannot be beat.” The squash for the Autumn Squash Gratin dish is sourced from Dancing Roots Farm in Corbett.

Blossoming Lotus is located at 1713 NE 15th Ave, Portland, OR 97212 and their hours can be found here.

Celilo Restaurant in Hood River

Seasonal Squash Soup at Celilo Restaurant

Celilo Restaurant and Bar in Hood River is donating $1 for each bowl of the Seasonal Squash Soup, with locally-sourced squash, to Friends of Family Farmers all through November as well!

Ben Stenn is the chef and managing partner of Celilo Restaurant and is also dedicated to supporting Oregon’s family farms: “We love working with local farmers. In our fast paced world today, first person relationships are evermore critical. Our connection to food and the source of our ingredients is the foundation of what we do at Celilo.”

Celilo Restaurant and Bar is located at 16 Oak St, Hood River, OR 97031 and their hours can be found here.

We’re hosting Fall Parties in Bend and Salem: Join us in celebrating family farms!

This year Friends of Family Farmers hosted 19 listening sessions and heard from over 200 farmers all across the state about the top issues facing Oregon’s family farms. Join us for a fun evening and learn more about the solutions Friends of Family Farmers is working on to address issues such as access to land and capital and the growing interest in agritourism.

We traveled all over the state and heard from over 200 farmers about the greatest needs in our local food systems. Now, we want to share what we learned and our proposed solutions with local producers and concerned eaters at our two Fall Parties!

Bring your family and friends to our Bend or Salem Fall Harvest Party! Meet your fellow good food supporters starting at 5:30pm and enjoy a short presentation by Friends of Family Farmers at 6pm.

  • Free event, all ages welcome
  • Raffle with prizes from Patagonia & more
  • Support family farmers & ranchers

These events are free, but please follow the RSVP link below to let us know you’re coming!

Details for the Events:

Local producers voting on the top issues for Friends of Family Farmers to prioritize in the coming years.

Bend Fall Harvest Party
Tuesday, October 16th, 5:30-7:30pm

Dump City Dumplings
384 Upper Terrace Dr,
Bend, Oregon

RSVP for the Bend event here!

Salem Fall Harvest Party
Wednesday, October 17th, 5:30-7:30pm

Vagabond Brewing
2195 Hyacinth St NE,
Salem, Oregon

RSVP for the Salem event here!

 

 

 

The Oregon Pasture Network: What’s in Store for Farmers and Eaters

By Lindsay Trant, OPN Program Manager

In June 2016, FoFF launched the Oregon Pasture Network (OPN). The program connects Oregon’s pasture-based producers to each other as well as resources and expert assistance on sustainable grazing systems that are healthier for animals, the environment, and their farms. The OPN also connects these producers to the growing crowd of eaters who care about the source of their food and want to purchase their meat, eggs, and dairy from pasture-raised animals.

Two years later, there are now nearly 60 members of the Oregon Pasture Network and the benefits keep growing. Every member of the OPN is listed in the OPN Product Guide for free, allowing Oregonians to locate and purchase products raised in a more environmentally sound manner, on pasture. We hope to keep evolving this Product Guide as the program grows. Most recently, we made it easier for shoppers to find pasture raised meat, eggs, and dairy directly from OPN producers in their area.

In addition to upgrading the Product Guide, we are organizing a series of InFARMation events in the Portland area through the Fall of 2018 for a deep look into the benefits of raising animals on pasture – for the environment, for farmers, for animal welfare, for consumers, and for your health. You can find details and a full list of the InFARMations here. Our next will be on the topic of Pasture Raised Poultry on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 6-9 pm at the Lagunitas Community Room.

For farmers, being a member of the OPN means access to  a number of benefits. We sponsor classes to provide expert assistance for producers dedicated to continually improving their pasture-based systems and want to deepen their understanding of the art and science of responsible grazing. Last year we worked with Dr. Woody Lane of Lane Livestock Services to offer an 8-week in-depth forage and pasture management course and OPN members got a 50% discount on course fees. One OPN member who took the course said that the course inspired him “to get out and do some of things I already knew needed to be doing. Case in point: get an updated soil test! It really helped me up my pasture management game and it started paying off in the first season.”

Members of the OPN enjoy a pasture walk together in Beavercreek.

We also provide a place where pastured producers can get together and learn from one another. We host a producer listserv to share tips and information, and we launched a Potluck and Pasture Walk series this summer, hosted by different members of the OPN. The first of these events was hosted in Beavercreek in August, and about 20 producers came out to learn from one another and talk pasture. Since pastures can vary from place to place and seasonally, these walks will continue in different parts of the state.

Our long-term vision for the Network is to include every Oregon producer who raises animals in a pasture-based system that places a high value on the land, animal welfare, and the well-being of their local communities. We recently opened up the membership to include ‘aggregators,’ those  who sell products from other pasture-based producers solely, or in addition to their own. Interested aggregators can now apply to join the OPN here.

If you are a producer interested in joining the Oregon Pasture Network, you can read more about our program and apply to join (for free!) here. Please reach out if you have any questions. You can email us at OPN@friendsoffamilyfarmers.org or call us at (503) 581-7124.

Victory! Lost Valley Mega-Dairy Permit Revoked

On June 27th, 2018 it was announced the permit for the Lost Valley mega-dairy was revoked.

Thanks to YOUR action, the Oregon Department of Agriculture formally revoked the permit for the Lost Valley mega-dairy in Eastern Oregon in late June, effectively shutting down this public health and environmental disaster. 

This is huge a win for family farmers, the environment, and public health!

Friends of Family Farmers and a diverse coalition led the fight to stop Lost Valley – we helped generate thousands of public comments against the facility, testified at public hearings, used Oregon’s Public Records Act to expose severe violations, and uncovered shocking photos of cows standing in deep manure.

Lost Valley was initially granted a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit in early 2017 for up to 30,000 cows, making it one of the nation’s largest dairy CAFOs. But Lost Valley’s permit violations and manure spills began almost immediately. Threats to drinking water and manure mismanagement led the Oregon Department of Agriculture to sue Lost Valley in early 2018. But the violations continued. In late June, the agency finally took action to shut the facility down by revoking it’s permit to operate. You can read more about the permit revocation here.

Please make a donation today to support our work. With your help, we will continue to monitor and take action on behalf of family farmers and ranchers!

There is a better way

There is an alternative to industrial-scale CAFOs like Lost Valley: family-scale producers raising animals on pasture. We strongly support producers who are doing it right and our Oregon Pasture Network is a program to support and promote producers who raise their animals on pasture. We believe that sustainable, humane, pasture-raised production is the best way to raise animal products. 

In response to the Lost Valley permit revocation, Friends of Family Farmers along with Food & Water Watch, Oregon Rural Action, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Columbia Riverkeeper, Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the Humane Society of the United States commented:

Lost Valley Farm has been a mess since the day it opened its doors. State inspections have documented cows standing ankle-deep in a slurry of their own waste, overflowing manure lagoons and ‘mortality’ boxes. Its violations have put drinking water for local families at risk. The state’s action today follows a renewed call from numerous organizations which sent a letter to Governor Brown last month asking that her administration shut down Lost Valley, along with emails from nearly 3,000 concerned citizens. We applaud the permit revocation as an important victory for animal welfare and against mega-dairy water and air pollution, which pose massive environmental and public health risks in Oregon and across the country.

Tales from the Road – 2018 Listening Session Recap

by Lindsay Trant, Grassroots Organizer

Since December 2017, Natalie Danielson – my fellow FoFF Grassroots Organizer – and I have facilitated Listening Sessions for farmers and ranchers throughout Oregon. We have completed 18 so far and have heard from almost 200 producers along the way who raise vegetables, fruit, animal products, and just about every other crop or product that can be grown in Oregon—all of them operating on a family-scale.

Thanks to all the Granges and other venues that hosted us!

We traveled well over a thousand miles up, down, and across the state. We stayed in a variety of places, ate at some great restaurants, and explored towns I’d never been to before. By far, my favorite part of this was visiting so many of Oregon’s Grange Halls. We tried to host as many of our Listening Sessions as we could at local Granges because they tend to be centrally located for producers. As one farmer said at the Multnomah Grange in Gresham, “I think this is the first time I’ve ever used a Grange for what it was intended for and this feels really good.”

The goal of our Listening Sessions is to gather input from as many of Oregon’s socially responsible, family-scale producers as we can about what issues they are facing. This is important to us because we want everything we do, every policy we fight for and every program we run, to be supported by Oregon’s family farmers and ranchers.

Recently, after a great discussion of issues facing farmers on the North Coast, one producer laughed and asked “Is it depressing going to all of these listening sessions and hearing about all these problems?” You might think that visiting nearly 20 different venues, and hearing from so many small and mid-sized producers about the most challenging issues they are facing would be kind of a downer…. But, it’s not! This process has actually been incredibly inspiring. In the past 5 months, I have personally met well over 100 producers who are extremely dedicated to producing food for their communities in the most socially and environmentally responsible manner possible, while trying to keep their operations financially viable. These producers make it possible for me to do what I love: Eat and fight for good food! And the insights and experiences these producers shared with us will be invaluable in helping Friends of Family Farmers continue to be the most effective small farm advocacy group in the state.

And this helps underscore why we do what we do. While on the road, I got to hear about some of the positive impacts FoFF’s work has had for family farms in Oregon. For example, I met a landholder at the Beavercreek Listening Session who found the perfect partnership for his farm through our Oregon Farm Link program. Separately, a producer in Banks, when explaining to other producers a policy championed by FoFF back in 2011 called the 1,000 Bird Exemption, said: “My operation would not be where it is today without the 1,000 Bird Exemption. That exemption is how we were able to start our operation.” This farm is now just days away from opening up their own on-farm, licensed poultry processing facility.

While my Listening Session travels were focused on the western side of Oregon, Natalie was mostly on the road East of the Cascades, hearing from producers about the unique issues that farmers and ranchers face in the drier regions of Oregon. For her, it was inspiring to hear from producers seeking to provide food for their communities in areas with small but growing support for local agriculture. One of the best parts of our Listening Sessions is seeing the supportive network of producers getting together to strategize about local issues big and small. For example, in Enterprise a “chicken moving day” was suggested to help a chicken farmer retrieve her flock of very free range chickens out from their favorite tree and to her new property. Now that’s community supported agriculture!

These are just a few of the inspiring stories we’ve heard about how our programs and policy efforts have positively impacted family farms around Oregon. Our team at FoFF is excited to use what we learned from our 2018 Statewide Listening Session Tour as we refine our program work and look towards the 2019 Legislative Session.

Did you miss out on attending one of our 2018 Farmer and Rancher Listening Sessions? It’s not too late to make your voice heard through our Farmer and Rancher Survey. This survey is open until May 31, 2018 and will help us in compiling the final report from our 2018 Listening Session tour.

Natalie facilitated a great Listening Session in Central Point.

Fill Your Pantry – Portland 2017 Was a Big Success!

On December 3rd, 2017, Friends of Family Farmers hosted our 3rd annual Fill Your Pantry at The Redd on Salmon Street in Portland. Ecotrust, which manages The Redd, generously donated the space to help make the event happen. Fill Your Pantry is a one day Farmers market-type event in which community members meet and support their local farmers directly for bulk purchases of produce, meats, honey, preserves and more. Most of the items were ordered online ahead of time which in turn helped farmers and ranchers with planning, harvesting, preparation and loading.

Fill Your Pantry events take place all over the state, organized by different organizations, and have become a financial boon for producers during the slower, winter months. Hundreds of folks attended the Portland event and collectively helped generate over $60,000 in sales that went directly into the pockets of 24 local farms & ranches!

According to farmer Elizabeth Miller from Minto Island Growers, “Fill Your Pantry was an incredibly positive event for our farm. The pre-sale opportunity made for easier preparation and planning and came at a key point in a tough cash flow time of the year. On the day of, spirits were so high among shoppers and other producers. A huge thanks to the FoFF staff for organizing such a successful day for the food community – this is becoming one of our favorite sales opportunities of the season.”

One participant, Nancy Bond, had this to say: “A giant THANK YOU for putting on another successful, fun, beautiful event!! The venue was terrific. You all were super organized (including helping folks park and providing wagons), the vendors had beautiful displays, everyone seemed well organized and prepared, and every customer walked around grinning.

In conjunction with the Portland Fill Your Pantry, Friends of Family Farmers also partnered with the Culinary Breeding Network and OSU’s Squash Project to host Oregon’s first Sagra, or local food festival, to celebrate the abundance and diversity of winter squash grown in our state. Local chefs gave out samples of tasty dishes made with different squashes prepared in a wide variety of ways. There was a squash ‘butchery’ demonstration, kids activities, and OSU researchers were there to talk all things squash. For more background, information, recipes and videos, check
out
www.eatwintersquash.com.

 

FoFF in the Field 2017

Ever wonder what the life of a Field Organizer at FoFF is like? Well, this summer I traveled over 1,500 miles visiting farms and attending events. Being the Field Organizer, I am the main staff person “in the field” (you may have come across my posts on Instagram: @foffinthefield). It is one of the best aspects of my job—venturing from Ashland to Tillamook, to Beavercreek, to Bend and beyond—talking to farmers and ranchers, hearing their stories, and learning about some of the incredible farms and ranches all across Oregon.

The pins on this map represent all of my travel destinations since June 2017. The blue pins are farms and ranches visited for Oregon Pasture Network and the red pins are events visited while tabling for FoFF. If we didn’t make it to your neck of the woods this summer, let us know so we can plan to next summer! Send me an email: lindsay@friendsoffamilyfarmers.org
Dairy goats at Fraga Farmstead Creamery clearing blackberry brambles.

I’ve lived in Oregon for 10 years, and thought I’d explored all the trails I could get my feet on and all the rivers I could wade into, fishing rod in hand. But I have never seen the side of our state that I experienced this summer. The roads I took this summer provided me with a unique and hopeful picture. I stood on ground that was once inside of a volcano and watched goats and chickens grazing on a wetland restoration project on top of a mountain outside Ashland at sunset. I watched goats eating blackberry brambles and clearing Christmas trees to turn a Christmas tree farm back into what it once was: A small, diversified, food-producing family farm. In the outskirts of Beaverton I got a lesson on using a no-till drill to renovate what was once a wheat field into luscious, diverse, forage that will be available for cows and pigs to graze on in the coming years.

A beautiful glimpse of wetland restoration at Willow-Witt Ranch near Ashland.

The side of agriculture that I get to see during my farm visits is largely regenerative, restorative, and responsible. I get to travel all over the state learning from amazing farmers and ranchers that are working hard to provide food in incredibly innovative manners. They work with their land, their communities, and their animals to create a vibrant and diverse food system throughout Oregon. The growing number of producers that have joined our Oregon Pasture Network (OPN) are great examples of this. You can read more about the work our OPN Members do here. and can support them directly via our recently published OPN Product Guide.

Recently germinated forage seedlings from the no-till drill used at Croakers Crossing Farm outside Beaverton.

On the other side of my role with FoFF, I work with young and aspiring farmers; the ones who dream of continuing the work of other producers before them, working to regenerate our food system. Over the course of the summer, I attended and presented at events put on by organizations with similar missions to ours. I showed beginning farmers how to use Oregon Farm Link (OFL) to find land to start – or expand – their farming operations, and recruited landholders to list their land on OFL in order to find someone to keep the land in agricultural production.

Beginning farmers exploring our land-linking site, Oregon Farm Link.

In so many ways, I am incredibly lucky to do the work that I do. This important work is made possible because of the generous donations of our supporters and funders — thank you! If you’d like to support the continuation of this work, please donate to FoFF today.

Looking ahead, beginning in early 2018, we will begin our newest round of Farmer & Rancher Listening Sessions throughout the state. I hope you’ll participate and come introduce yourself to me!

— Lindsay Trant, Field Organizer, Friends of Family Farmers

 

Cows grazing on luscious pasture at Rickety Bridge Ranch near Redmond.
Chickens at Helios Farm grazing and enjoying a nice hilltop view outside Yoncalla.
Another beautiful sight – pasture at Allen Cattle Co. near Sutherlin.
Cattle grazing on a pasture at Black River Cattle Co. tucked in the woods outside Eagle Creek.

 

 

 

Oregon Pasture Network – Update on Farm Visits and Things to Come – June 2017

Lindsay Trant with an Alpine goat at Willow-Witt Ranch in Ashland, OR.

For those of you who don’t know me yet, I’m Lindsay and I’m the Program Coordinator for the Oregon Pasture Network (OPN). I have recently started full-time with Friends of Family Farmers and have been busy getting the ball rolling with OPN after a long, wet spring.

From the left: OPN Advisory Committee member Gus Liszka of Naked Acres Farm and David Morgan of Froggy Bottom Farm in Beavercreek, Oregon.

These farm and ranch visits have not only been fun, but they have been informative for everyone involved. It is not only a chance for OPN applicants to pick the brains of our Advisory Committee members, it is also a chance for the Committee members and me to learn a thing or two as well. Even our most experienced Committee members are able to learn from visiting pasture in different parts of Oregon and seeing how other producers have dealt with their individual challenges. A significant theme throughout our visits is that no two pastures are the same. Each region of Oregon has its own specific climate and different types of forage that succeed in that climate. Our Network is greatly enhanced and expanded through these visits.

Be sure to look for these “Proud Member” signs where you purchase your meat, dairy, or other animal products!

As the current round of farm visits winds down, we can shift our focus to the other projects in store for OPN. In early June, we sent out “Proud Member” signs to our current Partners so that they would be more identifiable at farmers markets and farm stands. We also had a lot of fun throwing a Square Dance and Benefit at the ZCBJ Hall in Scio, featuring the Slippery Slope String Band and Caller Woody Lane—thank you to everyone who came out to support OPN!

In the coming months, we will be launching additional marketing and networking tools to support our OPN Pasture Partners such as a members-only OPN listserv, a first-of-its-kind statewide pasture-raised product directory, and scheduling pasture walks for our Partners to ask questions and share knowledge amongst each other. There is a lot to do with OPN, and I am excited for every step and look forward to meeting more pasture-based livestock producers all across Oregon. If you are a pasture-based producer in Oregon and are interested in joining OPN, apply today! Our application can be found here and questions can be sent to opn @ friendsoffamilyfarmers.org or you can call us at (503) 581-7124.

Thanks to everyone who joined us in Scio and danced their support for the Oregon Pasture Network!