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.”
Groups File Comments Seeking Rejection of Oregon Mega-Livestock Operation
Cite Significant Impacts to Water, Air and Public Health
Salem, OR – This week, a wide range of environmental, family farm, public health and animal welfare organizations jointly submitted comments urging the State of Oregon to reject a proposed 30,000-head confinement dairy operation near the Columbia River. The facility would be one of the nation’s largest dairy confined animal feeding operations and poses a major threat to ground and surface water, air quality and public health in the region.
The facility, Lost Valley Ranch, is seeking a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the Oregon Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Quality. Though the facility would produce more biological waste than most Oregon cities, it is proposed for the Lower Umatilla Basin Groundwater Management Area, which is impacted by elevated nitrate concentrations in groundwater that in many areas exceed federal safe drinking water standards, or which contain excess pathogens from manure and bio-solids.
“We are concerned about the potential human health problems of adding more nitrogen and pathogens into the Lower Umatilla Basin aquifer,” said Kelly Campbell, executive director of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.
In addition to water quality concerns, the facility would be a significant new source of air pollution in a region already impacted by emissions from several nearby large confined animal feeding operations and industrial sources. The Oregon Dairy Air Quality Task Force in 2008 found that dairies and other animal feeding operations emit a wide range of pollutants including ammonia, nitrogen oxides, methane, volatile organic compounds, hydrogen sulfide and particulate matter, all of which pose public health risks in a region with declining air quality.
Despite this, the state has no plan to regulate, or even monitor, air emissions from the facility. “By ignoring the air pollution impacts of these kinds of mega-livestock operations altogether, Oregon is in effect subsidizing factory-scale livestock production,” said Ivan Maluski, policy director with Friends of Family Farmers, a small and mid-size farm advocacy group that served on the state’s Dairy Air Quality Task Force.
The proposal would produce roughly 187 million gallons of manure each year and use over 320 million gallons of water annually, raising questions on long-term impacts to the Umatilla basin and Columbia River as water becomes more scarce due to drought and climate change.
“The Oregon Department of Agriculture is tasked with both promoting and regulating agribusiness, and its conflict of interest is apparent in this proposal to permit a massive factory dairy, despite threats to water quality and public health,” said Tarah Heinzen, an attorney with Food & Water Watch.
“We urge the Oregon Department of Agriculture to deny this project,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This factory farm would use over 320 million gallons of water each year, taking water from endangered species like salmon and putting drinking water at risk.”
“The establishment of this factory farm would take a harmful toll on farm animal welfare, the environment and public health, and it would also be a step toward putting more of Oregon’s family farmers out of business. The Oregon Department of Agriculture should reject this proposal,” said Scott Beckstead, director of rural outreach for The Humane Society of the United States.
The organizations submitting the comments are Food & Water Watch, Columbia Riverkeeper, Friends of Family Farmers, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club Oregon Chapter, Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, The Humane Society of the United States and Center for Biological Diversity.
When envisioning Naked Acres Farm, one might imagine empty fields or uniform row crops. This farm is nothing of the sort. It is a wonderful specimen of diversity, a bouquet of heritage animals and heirloom vegetables, a lovely juxtaposition of the plant and animal kingdoms. Seeing as how the farm is so full of life and colors and characters, my guess is the adornment missing from this naked farm scene is a veil of synthetic chemicals and confinement infrastructure for their animals.
Naked Acres Farm is the result of dedication, long days, and tenacity. Farmers Gus and Margo manage the 3 ½ acres every day while juggling two farmers markets and off-farm jobs. Having an off-farm income is critical for many, if not most, beginning farmers. The high cost of land and water, particularly urban land and water, equipment and amendment costs, and the inherent risk of working at the whim of Mother Nature makes farming a high investment, low return sort of profession. Naked Acres accounts for this precarious formula by growing the farm incrementally as to avoid debt, even if it means the physical growth is slower than their reveries.
FoFF’s Urban Outreach program recently teamed up with IRCO (Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization) to organize a farm tour for parents enrolled in the Seed to Supper programs at Gilbert Park and Lent Elementary. Most of the folks who attended the field trip had never experienced a commercial farm setting nor met a farmer producing food in their own community.
Naturally, the tour kicked off with the most amusing feature, the animals. Gus described the process of raising animals humanely and why they concede extra labor and additional space in order to ensure their animals receive the highest welfare possible. It shows. The chickens, hogs, goats, sheep, and even a llama all exhibit their natural behaviors, outside in fresh air, with plenty of space to scratch and jump and root around for hidden treasures in the dirt. Due to their commitment to humane and ecologically responsible animal husbandry, Naked Acres Farm serves on the advisory board of Friends of Family Farmers’ Oregon Pasture Network.
Livestock animals are not the only creatures tended to on the farm. Beneficial insects, the kinds that feed on pests like aphids and mites and pollinate crops, are catered to with hedgerows, spray-free management practices, and forage abundance. Their vegetable production is an arduous one because, like everything else on the farm, Gus and Margo opt to take time to hand-weed rather than using herbicides. Thanks to the additional time, labor, and love they devote to the land, farm visitors are free to touch and taste with ease and enjoyment.
Naked Acres hosts an open farm a couple of times per year. If you are itching to witness hilarious goats and happy hogs, email Gus to receive notifications.
Sunday, March 6th
Living Learning Center South, Performance Hall
(1455 East 15th Avenue
University of Oregon, Eugene) 4-7 pm
Come learn how simple it is to make your own kraut, kimchi and other fermented delicacies. Learn about the healing qualities and nutritional importance of live-culture ferments, as well as their illustrious history and integral role in human cultural evolution. Empower yourself with simple techniques for fermenting these healthful foods in your home. Be part of the fermentation revival!
We will begin by hearing from Sandor about just what is so artful about fermentation. He will then lead a hands-on workshop where you can learn how to ferment your favorite (or winter appropriate) veggie!
This is a group fermentation workshop. You will be working with a handful of other fermentation enthusiasts to create a tasty, microbial rich concoction.
Please bring the following items to this workshop: 1-2 lbs. of veggies to ferment, cutting board, knife, hand grater, hand towel, and a wide-mouth mason jar with a ring. Home Fermenter in Eugene is generously donating lids with grommet holes and plastic airlocks to help your fermentation process.
Sandor Ellix Katz is a fermentation revivalist. His books Wild Fermentation (2003) and the Art of Fermentation (2012), along with the hundreds of fermentation workshops he has taught around the world, have helped to catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. A self-taught experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee, the New York Times calls him “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.” The Art of Fermentation received a James Beard award, and Sandor was honored with the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2014.
Here is a map of the building and where you can find parking!
In late 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the long-awaited Food Safety Modernization Act ‘Produce Rule,’ which sets sweeping new standards for growing, packing, harvesting and holding produce for human consumption.
Friends of Family Farmers joined sustainable and family farm advocates from across the nation to submit comments and provide feedback on the proposed rules during comment periods in 2014 and in face-to-face meetings with FDA staff in 2015. Our message was clear: smaller farms either need to be exempt from onerous new requirements under the rules, or must be able to comply without facing unreasonable costs. The farmers we work with already strive to provide the highest quality, healthiest produce available, and any requirements in the new Produce Rule should be based in science and not put responsible farmers at risk of going out of business.
While the rules were finalized late last year, many provisions will take time to go into effect, and some farms are exempt all together. So, here’s some things you need to know in the near term:
When do the regulations go into effect? The earliest deadlines for compliance with the Produce Rule are in January 2018, and this deadline applies only to the very largest farms. For farms classified as ‘small businesses’ – meaning they gross less than $500,000 per year on a rolling three year average – compliance begins in January 2019. Additionally, farms of this size can secure a ‘qualified exemption’ if more than 50% of their sales are direct-to-consumer or to restaurants and retail establishments within the same state and not more than 275 miles from the farm. Compliance begins in January 2020 for farms that gross less than $250,000 per year from produce sales on a rolling three year average – these are ‘very small businesses’ as defined by FDA. Farms that gross under $25,000 per year are exempt completely. A full list of exemptions and ‘qualified exemptions’ from FDA, including what crops are covered, can be found here.
That sounds really vague, what can I be doing now? If you believe your farm qualifies as a ‘small business’, ‘very small business’, or may even be exempt, begin documenting that now and keep good records. The FDA is ultimately going to need you to show them documentation dating back to 2016 to demonstrate how the rule will affect you.
In Oregon, the Oregon Department of Agriculture Food Safety Division ultimately expects there to be ‘thousands’ of farms in the state that have never previously experienced the level of inspection that FSMA will bring. In addition to documenting gross income to assess how the rules apply, many farmers who irrigate will have to test water for pathogens and may have to add filtration systems if their water quality is compromised.
Through our involvement in the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Task Force, Friends of Family Farmers is in a unique position to help provide feedback to ODA on how they approach their responsibilities for FSMA inspections, enforcement, etc. If you have any questions you’d like us to convey to ODA, please email our Policy Director, Ivan Maluski firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call.
2015 – A Year of Progress and Change for Friends of Family Farmers
We rang in 2015 moving at full speed and our strong and successful advocacy on behalf of Oregon’s socially responsible family farmers continued all year long, with growth in policy advocacy, program development, and community events.
As the 2015 Oregon Legislative Session began, we moved our new office to downtown Salem, just blocks from the State Capitol and state administrative office buildings to allow for more frequent visits to key legislators and decision-makers.
On March 30th, we hosted our most successful Family Farmer and Rancher Day at the State Capitol yet, advancing key food and farm priorities to our elected decision-makers and demonstrating the power of the local farm and food movement. We rallied on the Capitol steps and met with nearly all of Oregon’s 90 legislators over the course of the day.
This event was key in helping pass new legislation to support Oregon’s family farmers and a strong local food system. We tracked dozens of bills in Salem in 2015, winning key victories in expanding access to Oregon’s beginning farmer loan program (Aggie Bonds), limiting legal liability for farms engaging in value-added agri-tourism activities, making historic investments in Extension and Agricultural Research programs, and expanding Oregon’s Farm to School program.
We also testified and rallied the public around the growing threats from irresponsible antibiotic use on factory farms, the need for safeguards for farmers threatened with contamination from genetically engineered crops, efforts to promote urban agriculture, and the need for reform of Oregon’s Board of Agriculture.
Over the course of 2015, nearly 1500 FoFF supporters called and sent letters to the Governor and your state legislators throughout the year.
In 2015, we continued our six-year run of monthly InFARMation (and Beer!) educational events in Portland, reaching hundreds of urban residents to talk about how they can support socially responsible family farmers and ranchers in Oregon. We brought several of these events to Bend as well.
We also launched our first ever Portland Fill Your Pantry event, featuring 14 local farms who sold over 1,711 pounds of winter squash, 1,380 pounds of grains and beans, 3,851 pounds of storage veggies, and 840 pounds of pasture-raised meats. More than 160 customers made nearly $24,000 in advance bulk purchases from sustainable producers.
Finally, a summary of our 2015 wouldn’t be complete without mention of new staff joining our team.
Sarah Peters joined us as our new Executive Director. Kelly Crane came on board in a new position of Rural Organizer. We also hired a new Next Generation Program Organizer Molly Notarianni and Office Manager Katie Engelman.
Ivan Maluski remains on staff as our Policy Director and Erinn Criswell transitioned into our new Urban Organizer position to round out our new team.
Looking ahead to 2016, we are organizing another round of our farmer listening sessions, starting in the mid-Willamette Valley this year, and visiting all corners of the state early next year. Be sure to check our website for dates in your neck of the woods!
While we expect the short Legislative session in February 2016 to be less action-packed than 2015’s six-month session, we are poised to advocate for small and mid-sized farmers as the Legislature considers what bills to pass.
Our Urban Outreach program is also busy planning events in Bend, Eugene, Salem, McMinnville, and more in 2016. The Next Generation program is covering a lot of territory as well, with events and trainings for new and young farmers around the state, and a launch of our redesigned Oregon Land Link database, iFarm, scheduled for early April.
We look forward to continuing to expand access to and opportunities for local, socially responsible agriculture in Oregon!
Thank you to all of the participating farmers, eaters, volunteers, and community organizations for contributing love, labor, and support.
Thousands of pounds of food were carted off to happy homes. Just during the pre-sale, local farmers sold over 1,711 pounds of winter squash, 1,380 pounds of grains and beans, 3,851 pounds of storage veggies, and 840 pounds of pasture raised meats!
Of the nearly $24,000 in pre-order sales, $1,700 were paid using SNAP benefits.
Knowing that food insecure populations abound throughout the world, our nation, and within our immediate communities, we are ever grateful for the opportunity to engage in the abundance of responsibly raised sustenance. To fill your pantry is a blessing and a celebration, but it is also a choice that merits recognition.
We look forward to expanding this event in the future, to reaching new communities with the remarkably diverse and healthful bounty Oregon farmers work so hard to offer.
Thank you again, and keep an eye out for FoFF communications regarding 2016 events!
Online orders have closed, but you can still come out on to the market November 8th to find stock up on local goodies. Online pre-orders open between Oct 17-31
We are excited to bring this event to the Portland metro area on Sunday, November 8th from 11:00 am-2:00 pm at Rigler Elementary – 5401 NE Prescott St.
Fill Your Pantry provides an excellent opportunity for community members to purchase bulk quantities of staple and storage crops directly from farmers. Stock those pantry shelves for the winter with dry beans, grains, nuts, honey, root veggies, garlic, onions, winter squash and pasture raised meats.
Support your local farmers, stock your shelves, and strengthen the food system all in one go!