January 12: Dryland Farming– as Oregon summers continue to become hotter and drier, farmers and researchers are turning their attention to dry-land farming.
-Amy Garrett- Instructor for the OSU Extension Service Small Farms Program
-Anne Berblinger- co-owner of Gale’s Meadow Farm.
-Jeff Fairchild- Produce Buyer for New Seasons Market.
February 9: Food for the Soul- Cut Flower Production– Flowers are uplifting, inspiring, soothing, exciting, fragrant, and the lovely list goes on and on. But like most things beautiful these days, there is an ugly face to flower farming lurking behind the pretty presentations.
-Larissa Ushriya- Portland Flower Market & Oregon Flower Growers Association
-Elaine Walker- co-owner of Vibrant Valley Farm
-Lauralee Symes- owner of Sellwood Flower Co.
March 29: Farm to School- Local and state farm to school iniatives abound in Oregon. Last year, the Oregon Legislature appropriated nearly 4.5 million dollars to Oregon’s Farm to School Program, split between procurement funds and educational grants…
~Amy Gilroy- Farm to School Program Manager with the Oregon Department of Agriculture
~Gitta Grether-Sweeney- Senior Director of Nutrition Services at Portland Public Schools (PPS)
~Richard Vial- grows and sells grape to PPS
April 26– Food and Farm Forum: Multnomah County Commissioners Candidates
Non-partisan candidate forum, to get to know where the Multnomah County Commissioner candidates stand on issues related to food and farming.
May 31– Eatin’ Crickets– Did you realize that crickets are being farmed right here in the Northern Wiillamete Valley? And that Portland is home to multiple cricket flour companies? Some folks believe that eating crickets could alleviate climate change pressures because the production releases much less carbon emissions than industrial livestock production.
June 28– Cultivating the Next Generation of Oregon Farmers– The USDA estimates that 25-50% of farmland will change hands in the next decade. One cause for this change is that the average age of farmers across the US is 58 years old. Those producers are preparring to retire, or at least not work their bodies so hard. Who then will grow our food?
We screened the Greenhorns Documentary and heard from from Molly Notarianni, Next Generation Organizer for Friends of Family Farmers and Matt Gordon, Portland Chapter Coordinator for Rogue Farm Corps.
July 26– The Hands That Feed Us– Examine the concept of farmworker rights through the experiences of local farmers who strive to pay a fair wage, as well as through the international lens of Fair Trade.
What can eaters and producers do in Oregon to promote fair and safe working conditions for farmworkers?
Listen to the discussion here.
August 30th– Climate Smart Agriculture– Join us to hear about environmentally responsible agricultural practices employed by Oregon farmers. Learn about how the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) program bolsters farmers using conservation practices through funding and educational support.
-Kimberly Galland- Conservation Specialist with NRCS
-Leslie Carter- co-owner of Jo-Le Farms
-Eric Harvey & Louis Kemp- farmers at Our Table Cooperative
September 27– It’s alive! The reasons to ferment and enjoy fermented goods are myriad! DIY enthusiasts treasure the edible challenge. Farmers appreciate the opportunity to turn bumper crops into value-added products, while taste and nutritional content are certainly draws for many folks.
-Tara Whitsit- founder of Fermentation on Wheels
-Jon Westdahl- owner of Squirrel and Crow Foods
October 25- Farming Inside the City Land costs are enormously more expensive in the city than in even the most prime of agricultural zones. Competition is stiff; water rights are nonexistent, and municipal water is costly. The fate of leased land is dubious in the presence of land-hungry developers. Take these pressures and add them to the long list of hurdles small and sustainable farmers face, and you may ask-why then do urban farmers grow food in the city?
-Amanda Morse- co-owner of Blue House Greenhouse Farm
-Weston Miller- Oregon State University Extension, manager of the (BUFA) program, and on the board of directors for Grow Portland
-Steve Cohen- Sustainable Food Program director for the City of Portland
November 29 – The Fight to Protect Oregon from Factory Farms – With a proposal to site one of the nation’s largest dairy CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) in Oregon, this issue has come to the forefront.
The ‘Lost Valley Ranch’ mega-CAFO would house 30,000 dairy cows in confinement and without access to pasture, producing 187 million gallons of manure annually. The facility poses a major new threat to air quality in the region and is located near the 70,000 cow Threemile Canyon Farms mega-dairy, already one of the biggest sources of air quality problems in the Columbia Gorge. These huge dairies are also a major source of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.
The State of Oregon is responsible for issuing water quality permits for CAFOs of all sizes, but the state doesn’t consider impacts to air quality, small farm economies or rural communities when siting new large CAFOs in the state. The growth of larger and larger dairy CAFOs is also linked to the loss of family scale dairy farms in Oregon and across the US.
At this InFARMation, we talked about the environmental and social impacts of mega-CAFOs in Oregon, learned about pasture-based alternatives for dairy and meat production, and talked about how to take action.
Kendra Kimbirauskas, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project
Amy van Saun, Center for Food Safety
Jon Bansen, Oregon dairy farmer, Double J Jerseys
January 19- Deciphering the Labeling Lingo – a break down of different labels and certifications so that we might gain a better understanding of their merits.
-Kitri Falxa- Certification Officer at Oregon Tilth
-Gigi Meyer- owner of Windflower Farm
-Beth Spitler- Farmer and Market Outreach Coordinator at Animal Welfare Approved
-Randy Yochum- Supervisor of Perishables at Newport Ave Market
February 16: Grains & Breads– When you hear grains, your brain might conjure visions and aromas of breads and beer. But there is much, much more than these end products. Nutrition, history, varietals, culinary creativity and more combine to make grains a complex and rich discussion.
-Annie Moss– co-owner of Seastar Bakery
–Juli Huddleston, MS RD- owner of Nutrition by Jules
-Daniel St. Lawrence- baker at Jackson’s Corner
March 15– Local Libations– Central Oregon has become a mecca for craft libation enthusiasts. The choices of local beer, cider, spirits, and wine options are abundant, but how does local craft beverages relate to local agriculture? Just how local is your favorite local beer? What does it take to grow the ingredients that make local libations so lovely?
January 28– The Soil Will Save Us- Atmospheric carbon is a topic gaining conversation these days, and most of the time, the tone is daunting and overwhelming. Kristin Ohlson’s book, The Soil Will Save Us, shines light on the high stakes of climate change while offering an uplifting way to reverse its effects- regenerative agriculture.
-Kristin Ohlson– author of The Soil Will Save Us
-Marie Vicksta– of the Yamhill County Soil and Water Conservation District
-Carrie Sendak– founder of Mama Tee’s Farmstead
February 25– Tree-based Agriculture-Trees lend themselves well to diversified farming operations. Other farms rely on trees exclusively as their production base, whether harvesting timber or fruit. They can bare fruit and nuts, encourage fungal growth, have medicinal properties, or become a product in their entirety.
-John Peterson– co-owner of Dundee Hills Food Forest
-Lars Norgren- owner of Peak Forest Fruit
-Nik Wiman- Assistant Professor & Orchard Crops Extension Specialist Oregon State University
-Bogdan Caceu- La Creole Orchards
March 24– Gaining Ground– tells the stories of farmers making extraordinary changes in their farming practices so they can feed their local communities sustainably grown produce and grains. From farms in Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley to underserved communities of color in Richmond, California, this film reveals the tenacity and courage of these diverse urban and rural farmers, committed to serving and empowering their communities.
March 2– Farm-direct Meat & Talking to Your Butcher– Are you looking for ethically raised meat options that support your local food system? Have you ever considered buying quarters, halves and whole animals? What are the steps a consumer needs to take to get that meat cut and wrapped for the freezer? And what are the state rules and regulations that inform this process? We’ll discussed these subjects and more!
-Wendy Parker- co-owner of Heritage Farms NW
-Mike Kloft- co-owner of Lonely Lane Farms and Century Oak Packing Company
-Will Fargo- Food Safety Specialist at Oregon Department of Agriculture
April 6– Just Food- Prolonged hunger is vast and exists for a long list of reasons. Approximately 14% of the Marion-Polk region’s population is food insecure. And while populations experience food scarcity, tons of food spoils on the farm, after market, and on store shelves.
Capturing excess food and redistributing it to populations of need is one way to alleviate hunger. Another path towards food security is to grow a garden in a community plot with the assistance and direction from peers.
May 4: The Next Generation of Oregon Farmers
The average age of the Oregon farmers is 60 years old and is steadily increasing. What does it take to entice the next generation of Oregonians to take up farming? What barriers exist for this demographic? What educational and/or training opportunities are available to enable future agriculturalists?
-Brian Hewitt- fresh market farmer in Rickreall
-Christopher M Konieczka- Faculty Instructor at Clackamas Community College Horticulture Department
-Melissa Streng- Owner of Sun Love Farm
June 1: Cider in the Pacific NW– Apples abound in the Pacific Northwest and have staked their claim as an iconic agricultural product of the region. What is exciting is that cider apples are nudging their way into orchards in the area, and the outcome of that is copious amounts of delicious cider!
July 6: Pollinators!– Humans benefit from pollinators in so many ways. Honey might be the first delight that comes to mind, but without the hard work of pollinators, we would be hard pressed to grow food.
July 21– Growing Organic in Oregon– How do local, small-scale organic growers compete with this big Organic? And how can local buyers work with the higher prices of locally grown produce and effectively market it so that the community will purchase and appreciate it?
Chris Jagger- co-owner of Blue Fox Farm
Steve Swader- produce Buyer from Medford Food Co-op
Mary Alionis- co-owner of Whistling Duck Farm and Store
Wendy Siporen- Executive Director of Thrive
April 1– The Buzz About Bugs– Where we’re at within the industrialized agriculture era, pollinator populations have taken a serious beating. Heavy applications of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. are decimating the livelihoods of our friends in the insect (and bird) world. But, thankfully, some folks are doing their best to promote pollinator health because they know that by doing so, our own health benefits.
October 27– Pasture-raised Meat- A Glance at the Supply Chain
Shelley Bowerman– Cooperative Manager of Heart of the Valley Coop detailed the coop’s mission to promote local producers and supply residents with responsibly raised protein.
-Jenni Timms- co-owner of Fair Valley Farm and Heart of the Valley coop member, described her farm’s practices of raising animals on pasture.
-Mark Kosmicki- co-ower of Party Downtown Catering in Eugene, talked about the retail side of purchasing humanely raised meat products from local producers.