Our next Fill Your Pantry Community Bulk Buying Event will be held December 3, 2017 in Portland. For this one-day event, we will offer a very wide assortment of products from which area households can truly stock their pantries for the winter.
If your farm or ranch would like to be a vendor at this year’s Portland Fill Your Pantry, you can find our Application Form here. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please review the criteria we will be using to determine which farms and ranches will be chosen to participate below.
2017 Portland Fill Your Pantry Vendor Criteria
Preference for choosing FYP vendors will be based on a point system consisting or some or all of the following:
You are or have been a financial contributor to FoFF
Number of FoFF events you’ve participated in or volunteered for, such as Rally Day or inFARM speaker
You have a limited number of other marketing channels
FoFF’s need to ensure that we have a well balanced diversity of products and farmers participating
In addition, to participate in Fill Your Pantry as a vendor, you must:
for grains, veggies, fruit, nuts, honey & preserves…
The 2017 Oregon Legislative session is nearing its end, required to finish business by early July. But with little more than a month left to work, and in a session that has been dominated by the specter of a budget shortfall of over $1 billion, there is still no agreement on state funding and many important pieces of legislation.
As a result of the state’s current budget scenario, many good programs and policy ideas are facing significant cuts or elimination. Meanwhile, fierce debates rage over whether to raise taxes, curb spending – or both – to make up the budget shortfall the state is facing. It is unclear whether these issues will be sorted out by early July, or whether a ‘special session’ to sort them out will be needed later in the year.
HB 2038 – Full funding ($5.6 million) for Oregon’s Farm to School Program. This bill passed the House Agriculture Committee way back on April 4, but still awaits action in the Ways and Means committee. Ways and Means will determine whether and how much funding will be available for this program over the next two years. Though popular, Farm to School is in jeopardy this year – Governor Kate Brown proposed no funding for it in her budget, and Legislators are also considering substantial cuts or no funding at all.
HB 2739 – This bill would protect farmers who have experienced financial losses due to contamination from genetically engineered (GE) crops. It would allow farmers to be compensated by GE crop patent-holders when their products have crossed property lines and caused financial damage. It was advanced by the House Judiciary Committee in mid-April, and had a public hearing in the House Rules committee on May 23. Read FoFF’s testimony in support of HB 2739 to the Rules Committee here.
HB 2085 – This bill would establish a new beginning farmer tax credit in Oregon to encourage landowners to lease or rent land to beginning farmers and ranchers. In the House Revenue Committee, HB 2085 has not yet received a hearing and is at risk of falling to the wayside as the state grapples with how to make up for a nearly $1.4 billion funding gap. Similar tax credit programs aimed at helping beginning farmers and ranchers with access to land already exist in Iowa and Nebraska. And with news that Minnesota has just created a similar beginning farmer tax credit, it is a reminder that it is not too late for the Oregon Legislature to act on HB 2085.
On Tuesday, April 4, Friends of Family Farmers held our fourth ‘Family Farms Mean Business’ Day at the State Capitol in Salem. The event drew over 100 farmers, ranchers, students and local food supporters to the Capitol building to talk with legislators and rally in support of efforts important to Oregon’s small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers and family-scale sustainable agriculture.
The event included a ‘farmers market’ inside the Capitol in which local producers gave out free samples and talked with legislators about the importance of farm-direct agriculture and strong local food systems.
Morning policy workshops drew dozens of local farmers and farm supporters from across Oregon, with welcome remarks delivered by Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Alexis Taylor.
In the afternoon, event attendees met with Legislators from across Oregon to talk about bills to support beginning farmers, address problems with poorly regulated genetically engineered crops, provide funding for Oregon’s Farm-to-School program and regulate air emissions from the growing number of ‘mega’ dairies coming to Oregon, including a recently approved 30,000-cow confinement dairy operation in eastern Oregon.
We’d like to thank everyone who came to Salem for this great event.
A list of priority bills that Friends of Family Farmers is supporting this year in Salem can be foundhere.
Statement from Ivan Maluski, Policy Director, Friends of Family Farmers, on the March 31 decision by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Department of Agriculture to issue a permit approving a controversial new 30,000-cow mega-dairy in Eastern Oregon
“The state’s decision to grant the water pollution permit for a new 30,000 head mega-dairy in eastern Oregon is disappointing but not surprising. Two state agencies have now spent countless hours and public dollars to be able to permit this operation, which improperly began construction last fall because it assumed today’s outcome was inevitable.”
“We are particularly disappointed that the state did not conduct an economic analysis to look at the impact to small and mid-sized dairy farms in Oregon should this operation be built. Oregon has lost over 75% of its dairy farms, mostly small and mid-sized, since the first mega-dairy came to Oregon in 2002. These huge operations create an economic climate of boom and bust milk prices that have made it harder and harder for family dairy farms to survive.”
“This decision also exposes Oregon’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach for air pollution from mega-dairies. We would expect this kind of approach to major sources of air pollution from the Trump Administration, not Governor Kate Brown. A consensus proposal the dairy industry signed on to a decade ago would require air pollution monitoring and regulation for this operation, but to date, no such program exists. We urge the Legislature to move forward with SB 197 to address the significant air pollution issues this operation is likely to create.”
The future of our food system determines the future of mankind
This month at InFARMation, we have on tap an exclusive showing of the new, award-winning film Sustainable.Sustainable is a vital investigation of the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system, from the agricultural issues we face — soil loss, water depletion, climate change, pesticide use — to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who work it and what must be done to sustain it for future generations.
An Overview of Sustainable: There is no hiding from the facts – rising temperatures, drought, soil loss, chemicals in our food, antibiotic resistance, declining bee populations, obesity, diabetes, shorter life expectancy – America needs help. Sustainable reveals the crisis facing America’s food system, and the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Amidst the cornfields of Illinois lives the hero of the film – Marty Travis, a seventh-generation farmer who watched his land and community fall victim to the pressures of big agribusiness. Determined to create a proud legacy for his son, Marty transforms his profitless wasteland and pioneers the sustainable food movement in Chicago. Greg Wade, a visionary young breadmaker, works with Marty to revitalize ancient grain production in the Midwest, joining an artisan bread movement that’s sweeping our country. Together, they prove that traditional bread is not only healthier, it is also better for the environment. From Klaas Martens’ Einkorn fields in rural New York to Bill Niman’s cattle ranch off the Pacific coast, industry pioneers around the nation join in to reveal the profound connection between human health and environmental protection. In Iowa, Matt Liebman discovers a solution to combat the trifecta of drought, flooding and soil runoff, and a young Amish man in Ohio emerges as an agricultural leader who will feed the world despite climate extremes and limited natural resources.
Additional key interviews include Rick Bayless, Dan Barber, Mark Bittman, Marion Nestle, John Ikerd, Kelly Brownell, Nicolette Niman and Fred Kirschenmann. Sustainable is a story of hope and transformation, about passion for the land and a promise that it can be restored to once again sustain us.
AWARDS and ACCOLADES for Sustainable:
Best Cinematography, Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
Best Health/Environmental Documentary, Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
Winner, Spotlight Platinum Award
Winner, The Accolade Global Film Competition
“A persuasive and refreshingly positive eco-foodie doc.” The Hollywood Reporter
“Sustainable is what a farming documentary should be.” Documentary Drive
“A vital perspective to mankind’s relationship with the planet.” Screen Space
“Deserves broad exposure on TV and video.” The Hollywood Reporter
Matt Wechsler, Director/Cinematographer/Editor, Hourglass Films – Matt is an award-winning filmmaker from Chicago and the founder of Hourglass Films. His 2012 New York Emmy-nominated documentary, Different is the New Normal, aired nationally on PBS and was narrated by Michael J. Fox. In 2014, he shot and edited a 30-minute documentary, I Am For Peace, which also aired on PBS. Sustainable is his first feature film.
Annie Speicher, Producer/Editor/Audio, Hourglass Films – Before joining Matt at Hourglass Films in 2013, Annie edited several television shows including Mexico: One Plate at a Time featuring Rick Bayless. She has been nominated for a 2013 Midwest Emmy for her production work on Grannies On Safari: Colors of Cuba, as well as a 2016 Daytime Emmy for Mexico: One Plate at a Time. Sustainable is her first feature documentary.
Every few months, the 10-member Oregon Board of Agriculture meets somewhere in the state. The Board of Agriculture ‘advises the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) on policy issues, develops recommendations on key agricultural issues, and provides advocacy of the state’s agriculture industry in general. In addition, the board issues a biennial report to the Governor and Legislative Assembly regarding the status of Oregon’s agriculture industry.’
Because of this, FoFF often speaks at Board of Agriculture meetings to talk about issues important to small and mid-sized family farms in the state.
At the Board’s most recent meetings, held November 29 – December 1, we provided testimony raising concerns about the proposed Lost Valley Ranch 30,000 head mega-dairy moving into north central Oregon. We believe the proposal underscores several serious flaws in Oregon’s permitting process for livestock operations of this scale that need to be addressed. You can read our full testimony to the Board here, but we raised several key points including:
Water Quality – A concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) of the scale of Lost Valley Ranch should not be sited in the Lower Umatilla Basin Groundwater Management Area, a region with significant groundwater contamination issues related to runoff from manure.
Air Quality – Mega-CAFOs like the nearby Threemile Canyon Farms are already major air pollution sources in the region, releasing ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and methane. A state task force in 2008 recommended the creation of a Dairy Air Quality program to reduce air quality impacts from these kinds of operations, but to date, no such program exists. The state’s failure to establish air quality rules for large CAFOs is a major breakdown in oversight and accountability, and such oversight must be in place before Lost Valley Ranch is approved.
Land Use – While Oregon’s land use system protects agriculture, local communities have little or no power to say ‘no’ to industrial scale factory farms that threaten local agricultural communities, rural quality of life and the environment. The state must consider upgrades to the land use system to allow local communities to say ‘no’ to factory farms.
Impact on Smaller Farms – Both the US and Oregon have seen large numbers smaller family-scale dairy farms go out of business as the number of larger confinement dairies has grown. But the Oregon Department of Agriculture does not conduct any sort of impact analysis on the economic tradeoffs and potential harms to smaller farms when large CAFOs move in. ODA must consider the economic tradeoffs of these operations before it issues permits that could end up putting family scale farms out of business.
We hope that our concerns will not be lost on deaf ears. Please contact Governor Kate Brown and urge her to deny the water quality permit for the Lost Valley Ranch mega-CAFO, to enact long-overdue air quality rules for large livestock operations, and to protect small and mid-sized family farms and rural communities in Oregon from factory farms that threaten their livelihoods.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture will be making a decision on a key water quality permit needed for the Lost Valley Ranch proposal in the coming months. The next Board of Agriculture meetings will be held February 15-17, 2017 at the Oregon Department of Agriculture headquarters, at 635 Capitol St. NE in Salem.
We are consistently impressed by the community’s commitment to fortifying a vibrant food system. The second Portland Fill Your Pantry exemplified the extent to which Oregonians engage in our regional, sustainable agriculture by supporting local producers.
The 2016 online sales surpassed $36,000 (up from $23,000 last year), and vendors sold an additional $14,000 worth of local food during the three-hour event! That means, Fill Your Pantry shoppers directed over $50,000 dollars to local producers!
Check out the chart to see the breakdown of sales by product.
The value of this event reverberates beyond the financial impact to our local economy because that $50,000 translates to thousands and thousands of pounds of healthful possibilities. Whole foods like winter squash, beans, honey, grains, root veggies, etc. have made the migration from the fields to home kitchens where creativity and handcraft will morph them into nutrition and sustenance.
For those of you who participated in this event, we hope your experience was positive and that your pantry is prepared to sustain you throughout the winter!
Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for farmers. Price of tickets include pizza & salad, one drink ticket, ice cream, chocolate, music, a raffle ticket, and a donation to FoFF! Additional drink tickets may be purchased for $4. Ages 21 and over.
Money raised at this party will fund our Urban Outreach Program which includes events like InFARMation, Fill Your Pantry, hands on workshops like the one with Sandor Katz, farm visits, and much more. It is important that FoFF facilities educational experiences for urban consumers so that they know who is growing their food and with that knowledge, feel empowered to vocalize the kind of food system they want to see in Oregon.
We have some awesome silent auction items available for the taking, too! Products have been donated from: Patagonia, Breitenbush Hot Springs, Equal Exchange, Coava Coffee, Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply, Nel Centro, Worthy Brewing, Duck Pond Cellars, Dove Vivi Pizza, and more yet to come!
“All of my grandparents escaped the farm. Sometimes when I’m working, moving cow manure, I think to myself, is this what I envisioned myself doing with my life, you know, when I was 16?”
Michael laughed. We were in his kitchen, having wrapped up a tour of Verdant Hills Farm, which he has operated with husband Rich and 12-year old daughter Emily since 2013. Around us their 80 acres fanned out like a great skirt – a “throwback” to times when farmhouses stood at the heart of the land which supported them.
Our first stop on the tour had been to visit the newest addition to the farm: a calf born just that morning, curled up in the “deep bedding” layer of straw in the loafing shed. She was joined by the other recently born calves and the new mothers of the season, licking their calves to keep track of which were theirs – as they primarily tell by scent, until the calf picks up its signature “moo”. Beyond the loafing shed in the pasture there was another group of cows with more mature calves, and in a third area – a group of yearlings, born the previous year. They’re approaching the target population of 27 cows: 9 cows, 9 yearlings and 9 calves. They’re a closed herd, meaning no other cows come onto the property; new genetics are introduced via artificial insemination.
In today’s confusing and sometimes misleading landscape of labels, Verdant Hills Farm has found strength in directly marketing to customers who can know their farmers and determine if their values align. The core value of the meat production aspect of Verdant Hills Farm is the humane treatment of the animals. Butchering is done onsite by a local certified butcher, and the meat sold by the ¼ cow (vs. by cuts) to avoid sending them off to a USDA-certified slaughterhouse. These Angus cows, selected for docility and marbling, are 100% grass-fed using intensive rotational grazing, and all of their feed (pasture and haylage) is produced on-farm. The farm, near McMinnville, previously produced grass seed for lawns, and had to be replanted in forage-grade seed. They’re in the process of transitioning from annuals (ryegrass and clover) to a perennial mix with more forbs (chicory, Boston plantain) and have a no-till drill to accomplish re-seeding with as little erosion as possible. “We look at ourselves as forage farmers first,” asserted Rich.
Verdant Hills Farm has recently joined the Oregon Pasture Network, a program of Friends of Family Farmers that works to support the growth of pasture-based farming in Oregon for the benefits of connecting with other producers as well as more potential consumers.
We visit the flock of 16 layer hens in the pasture, next to their mobile chicken coop, and toss them a treat of watermelon rinds. Their job is to help control pests (flies) by breaking up the cowpies and eating the fly larvae. They also produce marvelous, orange-yolked eggs; Emily pulls out two this afternoon – one blue and one brown. They are sold at a weekly town drop-off; customers are also able to add on whatever produce is spilling over from the numerous raised beds right outside the kitchen window.
Last stop is the beautiful silvery cedar wood barn. The requisite cats are found snoozing atop the remaining strawbale towers – soon to be joined by many more bales in anticipation of winter bedding needs. Throughout the farm, Michael, Rich and Emily’s love for their animals and land is evident. From the loafing shed, which has had a passive rain shelter added on to it, to the portable shade structures built to be moved in the pastures to follow the cattle, to knowing just where on the head to give a little scratch – this family loves their animals and the land and life they help support. Verdant Hills Farm embodies the level of care that can and should go into food production – the delicious baby elephant-sized melon they sent me off with is proof positive!
Statement on Appointment of Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba to Lead the Oregon Department of Administrative Services from Ivan Maluski, Policy Director, Friends of Family Farmers
“We wish Katy Coba the best in her new role with the Department of Administrative Services. Her long background in state government should serve her well. But we also believe that a change in leadership at the Oregon Department of Agriculture is needed and hope that Governor Brown will use this opportunity to proactively shift the agency in a direction that better represents the strong commitment that Oregonians have to supporting sustainable, family-scale farms and agriculture.”
“Over the last several years at ODA, we’ve seen a growing shift towards promoting large, corporate, factory-scale farming operations in Oregon even as the state has been losing small and mid-sized family farms in large numbers. We’ve also seen an unwillingness by ODA to support common-sense state-level regulations to protect Oregon farmers from the significant economic risks and harms associated with poorly regulated genetically engineered crops. Whether it’s the growth of factory farms or the agency’s unwillingness to regulate genetically engineered crops to protect at-risk farmers, all too often ODA has stood with out-of-state agri-business interests.”
“In recent years, the ODA has also embarked on controversial efforts to open the long-standing Willamette Valley Protected District’s world-class seed producing region to genetically engineered canola, putting hundreds of family farms that are part of our valuable seed, fresh market vegetable and organic industries at risk. Friends of Family Farmers and a number of family-owned Oregon seed companies were forced to sue the agency over its 2012 decision to use a ‘temporary’ rule for such a significant decision, with the Oregon Court of Appeals calling the ODA’s justification ‘legally incorrect’ and ‘unreasonable.’”
“While we have not always agreed with Coba’s decisions or the stances of the Oregon Department of Agriculture during her tenure, we’ve appreciated being able to raise issues of importance to sustainable, family-scale farmers in Oregon and wish her well in this new position. We look forward to engaging Governor Brown and her staff as they search for a new Director for the Oregon Department of Agriculture and believe this appointment presents a key opportunity for the Governor to leave a legacy that reflects the importance of supporting sustainable, small and mid-sized family-scale farms and agriculture in our state.”