InFARMation Fall Series: Uncovering the Dirty Parts of Farming
September 14, October 12, and November 9 2021
We uncovered the dirty parts of farming and what some innovative Oregon farmers and food system organizations are doing about it. We focused these important conversations on the benefits of pasture-raised animals, expanding meat processing in Oregon, the harms of IP-13, farm worker over time, dry farming, biogas, drought and more!
November 9 – Climate Change
Kate Fitzpatrick, Deschutes River Conservancy: Kate is the executive director and the Deschutes River Conservancy was founded in 1996 as a collaborative, multi-stakeholder organization, the DRC’s Board of Directors makes decisions by consensus and is comprised of key public and private interests including farming, ranching, timber, development, hydro-power, recreation, tribes, and the environment. Kate is excited to use her passion for bringing together diverse perspectives in leading the DRC in achieving its mission and vision to its fullest capacity.
Nate Johnson, Sunbow Produce : Nate is one of the farmers and owners of Sunbow Produce. Their farm offers USDA certified organic produce, year round, directly to customers in Corvallis and Philomath. They are committed to farming with future generations in mind. They work hard to increase organic matter in the soil, use drip irrigation, mulch, and employ dry farming techniques.
Tarah Heinzen, Food and Water Watch : Tarah is the legal director for Food & Water Watch which fights for safe food, clean water, and a livable climate for all of us. Tara is also involved in the Stand up to Factory Farms Coalition which FoFF is also a part of. It is a coalition of local, state and national organizations concerned about the harmful impacts of mega-dairies on Oregon’s family farms, communities, environment and animal welfare. Mega-dairies are major sources of air pollutants and significantly contribute to our climate crisis.
October 12 – Farm Worker Rights
Jennifer Martinez, PSU Oregon COVID-19 Farmworker Study: Jennifer is a Public Affairs and Policy Doctoral Candidate at Portland State University. Without data or a clear understanding of how people feel about specific issues like health care and living wages, it is hard to meet the specific needs of the community. Jennifer decided to merge the academic world with community and advocacy. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she felt the urge to use her research skills and lived experience to help facilitate the Oregon Covid-19 Farmworker Study.
Ira Cuello-Martinez, PCUN: PCUN is Oregon’s largest farm worker union. Ira works towards protecting workers as climate change makes variables like heat and wildfires more prevalent. PCUN uses policy as a way to make lasting change and they introduced farmworker overtime in this last legislative session, which didn’t make it through all the different committees to get it out of the session this year but they hope to try again.
September 14 -Animal Welfare
Mickey Willenbring, Dot Ranch: Dot Ranch, a farm located in Scio, chooses to work with heritage breeds instead of more common, modern production bred animals because they believe that ranching is about more than just the bottom line, it’s about history, conservation, and preserving the spirit of the American West. Veteran owned and family operated, Dot Ranch is Oregon’s first agricultural operation to be certified Homegrown by Heroes. Mickey will talk to us about this unique program, the importance of community, connection to the land and animals, and why you should buy pasture-raised meat whenever possible.
Michele Thorne, Oregon Pasture Network: As a part of Friends of Family Farmers, Michele is working to help expand Oregon Pasture Network’s membership of small family farmers and ranchers in Southern Oregon. She currently pastures “turduckens” (turkeys, ducks and chickens) and New Zealand meat rabbits with her partner. She’s the host of a burgeoning weekly podcast called Food Slain, which digs into the “dirty” side of the food supply chain and explores topics that help people understand the impact of our food and ingredients on our health, our environment and our economy. Michele will be sharing information about IP13 which is an initiative petition that would amend existing animal cruelty laws in Oregon by classifying the slaughter of livestock as aggravated abuse and redefining artificial insemination and castration as sexual assault.
Kate Crowley, PK Pastures: Kate is a first generation owner/operator of PK Pastures, an Animal Welfare-Approved pastured pork and poultry farm on Kalapuya territory near Sweet Home in Linn County. Their farm is currently in the planning and design phase for an on-farm processing facility for meat and poultry, and would be ready to build in 2022 if they can secure funding through the proposed grant program. Kate will talk about the challenges of our current meat processing system and the one she envisions in order to build a resilient local food system.
InFARMation Spring Series: Creative Ways to Access Land and Capital
February 23, March 30, April 27, and May 25 2021
The average farmer in Oregon is 60 years old. Without a plan to get new farmers onto the land, when the older generation hangs up their tools in the next decade we stand to lose 25-50% of farmland currently in production to conglomeration or development.
Although not everyone is interested in accessing land to grow food themselves, this generational land transfer will affect the future of the food system as a whole. We broke down reasons WHY these issues are important for all Oregonians (not just farmers!), such as watershed health, carbon sequestering, the fact that 98% of land ownership is white, rural economic development, and the accessibility of local food.
Throughout the series we heard about the inspiring hard work that farmers of color and organizations are doing to circumvent the barriers created by structural racism in the agricultural and financial system. We discussed the biggest threats to Oregon’s farmland, different types of capital available, the importance of having a farm business plan, the benefits of collective farming, and how we can support our BIPOC farming community. Having these continued conversations and sharing resources is a good first step to protecting and preserving our farmland.
February 23rd –
Matt Shipkey – Matt has 13+ years of land conservation experience. He currently works for East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District as their Land Legacy Program Manager. EMSWCD works hard to make sure farm land stays protected for working farms. Conserving our finite and threatened resources and connecting people with the land fuels Matt’s passion for land conservation.
Javier Lara – Javier has focused on growing traditional plants and vegetables in a way that allows us to exercise our ancestral traditions through agriculture. He runs the The Anahuac Program which is a culturally and ethnically specific traditional agricultural, culinary, cultural arts and wellness education program for youth and their families from indigenous farmworker backgrounds in Woodburn, OR and the surrounding areas.
Aaron Newton – Aaron is the Vice President of Agriculture for Steward. Steward facilitates community-sourced lending to back the regeneration of agricultural ecosystems. Through the Steward platform, farmers raise funds in the form of secured loan transactions. But unlike traditional loans, these loans are sourced first from appropriate lenders in a farmers’ own community—neighbors, customers, and friends—then from like-minded sophisticated lenders in the Steward network. Aaron’s goal is to leverage regenerative agricultural strategies to help reshape our food system; making it more sustainable, self-sufficient, secure and equitable.
March 30th –
Megan Horst – Megan (PhD) is an Associate Professor at Portland State University. Her research areas include food systems planning, food justice, land use planning generally but especially focuses on agricultural land/food systems/growth management. She has a wealth of knowledge and has published articles such as Racial, Ethnic and Gender Inequities in Farmland Ownership and Farming in the U.S., Land Access for Direct Market Food Farmers in Oregon, and Changes in Farmland Ownership in Oregon.
Adam Kohl – Outgrowing Hunger, the non-profit where Adam is the Executive Director, has a three-pronged approach to improving community food systems – providing refugee farmer development, community garden facility operations, and culturally-specific garden education and logistical support. They help support low-income, immigrant, and refugee families with the opportunity to grow fresh, culturally appropriate vegetables in their own neighborhoods.
Dan Miller – Steward‘s story begins with its founder and CEO, Dan Miller. When it comes to conventional financing, Dan felt that instead of forcing farmers to fit within a box, it should be the other way around. So he committed himself to creating a system that empowers farmers to steward their land sustainably, with consumers—the people with the most to gain from sustainable farming—investing in their success.
April 27th –
AnAkA – AnAkA is a descendent of revolutionaries, healers, and earth protectors. She currently serves as the Administrative Manager for the Black Oregon Land Trust, a non-profit organization that secures land for communal ownership and tending, and supports thriving life in our communities. BOLT is a collective of farmers, herbalists, birthworkers, mothers, artists and visionaries committed to our collective liberation. AnAkA grew up in Portland, OR and has launched herself into the world as an active archivist, alchemist and artist. She practices the ancestral right to live a sovereign life through herbalism, tattooing, photography, film, dance and music. She is particularly passionate about sacred wisdom and cultural preservation, and believes this mission is in direct alignment with land reclamation. AnAkA envisions a future full of sacred temples on protected lands, holding space for communities to thrive in peace. You can see her work here.
letty chichitonyolotli martinez – Letty, farmer and herbalist at Flying Dogheart Farm, grows medicinal herbs on their small urban farm and makes fresh herbal remedies for people and their dogs from what they cultivate on Wapato Island. They also raise Rabbits for meat and Chickens for eggs. Flying DogHeart Farm is working to join the movement to change the face of farming and herbalism in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest by working in solidarity with the Raceme Farm Collective, Canoe Journey Herbalists, Black Food Sovereignty Coalition and other Black and Brown Led efforts to connect Black and Brown people to land and relationship to plants.
Travis Bond and Logan Brown – Simply Sol is a long awaited dream come true for Travis and Logan. Their vision has always been to cultivate a medicinal, educational, and truly sustainable farm utilizing contemporary and traditional seventh generation agricultural practices and renewable energy. They are working with Steward to access capital to expand their hemp seed, plants and products business. Through the funding they secure through Steward, the individual investors will help Simply Sol with infrastructure, building soil health, equipment and more.
May 25th –
Ryan Gallagher – Through the Steward platform, farmers and community members come together by offering an opportunity for qualified individuals to participate in secured, interest-bearing loans. Whether you are a farmer looking for the back-up you need to take the next step or a community member looking to support sustainable agriculture, with Steward everybody wins. This is an opportunity to participate in a loan that directly impacts the farmers in our community. Ryan is proud to be on the team at Steward to accelerate the growth of regenerative & sustainable agriculture by bringing capital to the small farms, ranches, and fisheries that need it to expand.
Nellie McAdams – As Oregon Agricultural Trust’s founding Executive Director, Nellie is dedicated to working hard to keep Oregon farming long into the future. OAT is a statewide agricultural land trust that partners with Oregon farmers and ranchers to protect and pass on their land to the next generation. Nellie has put on workshops statewide to get farm families thinking about how they want to handle the transition. She is an attorney and long-time advocate for farm succession planning and farmland preservation.
Chris Overbaugh – Chris and his wife Shannon started off as employees of Winter Green Farm in which they now own. Winter Green Farm is a pioneer in holistic farming, certified organic at the first opportunity—thirty years ago, in 1984. Their organic and biodynamic practices allow us to grow healthy food while nurturing the vitality of the land. Chris will talk about his unique journey of becoming a farm owner and will share his story of going from farm worker to a collective to a partnership, and all the benefits and complications along the way.
Natalie Danielson and Silvia Cuesta – The average age of farmers in Oregon is 60 years old. Without a plan to get new farmers onto the land, we stand to lose 25-50% of the land that is currently in agriculture production in the next decade. In response, Friends of Family Farmers developed Oregon Farm Link, a land and resource connection database to help Oregon grow the next generation of family farmers. If you are a farmer looking for land or a land owner that wants to lease some of your land out, Natalie will explain how OFL works.