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.

 

 

 

Get Connected with Oregon Farm Link!

OFL-logo-2colorThere are over 500,000 beginning farmers growing food across America, so you may be surprised to learn that the average age of farmers in the state of Oregon is 60 years old.

Even more shocking, between 2007 and 2012, the state lost nearly 25% of its beginning farmers.The gap between farmers leaving agriculture and those entering is steadily increasing. Who will grow our food in the future? Friends of Family Farmers has one solution to Oregon’s land access crisis: Oregon Farm Link.

Oregon Farm Link is an online hub that connects beginning farmers and ranchers with land holders. In addition to hosting land listings, Oregon Farm Link serves as a portal for those interested in getting involved in agriculture, with a board of job listings and a comprehensive resource library designed to assist farmers of all experiences.

Oregon Farm Link is a major upgrade to Friends of wheel hoeFamily Farmers’ popular iFarm land link program, which was originally created in 2009. iFarm facilitated more than 70 land matches around the state, but the site needed major improvements to handle the demands of hundreds of listings.

Chelsea Girimonte, farmer at Vee Cee Farm in Dayton, OR explains, “As first-generation farmers we’re not always sure how to access all the resources in our agricultural community, including land lease and partnership opportunities. iFarm helped us access landholders and start conversations we wouldn’t have had the opportunity for otherwise.”

Since its launch in late May, Oregon Farm Link has been buzzing with activity! The site has been joined by nearly 30 new land holders and land seekers, and new job postings have been listed almost daily.

Now is the time to cultivate the next generation of Oregon’s agrarians!  List your land, find land, look for a job, & locate resources on FoFF’s new Oregon Farm Link database.

For more information, visit oregonfarmlink.org

Family Farm Week in Northeast Oregon!

Friends of Family Farmers is taking a road trip to Northeast Oregon during the second week of May, and we have several fun and interesting events lined up. We can’t wait to see all our farmers and eaters in the area who support socially and environmentally responsible family farms!

Hanna Ranch Poster EMonday, May 9th – Movie Night in La Grande

Join Friends of Family Farmers and the Fort Union Grange from  6:30-8:30 PM for an evening celebrating Oregon’s family farmers. We’ll be offering a FREE screening of the film Hanna Ranch. Snacks provided!  Let us know you’re coming by rsvp’ing to our Facebook event.

facebook_event_933303526766892Tuesday, May 10th – Listening Session in Hurricane Creek

We want to hear from Oregon’s family-scale, socially and environmentally responsible Wallowa County farmers about the issues that matter to them. If this sounds like you, then please sign up today, and join us from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Hurricane Creek Grange.

Seed SwapWednesday, May 11th – Seed Swap and Social in Enterprise

Bring your extra seeds (saved or purchased) to swap with your community just in time for planting season. We’ll provide light refreshments. Join us from 6:00-8:00 PM at Terminal Gravity Brewery to mix, mingle, and take home a new seed variety! RSVP here.

facebook_event_1657115237894349Thursday, May 12th – Listening Session in La Grande

We want to hear from Oregon’s family-scale, socially and environmentally responsible Union County farmers about the issues that matter to them. If this sounds like you, then please sign up today, and join us from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Union County 4-H and Extension Education Center, RM #9.