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2023 Farm Update

Sunset on the Farm in midsummer.

2023 has been a great year on the Farm of growth, new ventures, and a return to normalcy after 3 years of Covid challenges. We have been blessed with a very pleasant mix of a wet winter, mild spring and relatively cool summer, all leading to a great year for plants and people. On the Farm, seed crops and produce for the food bank and schools have thrived with the extra moisture and moderate temperatures. This year we are growing resina calendula, yukina savoy mustard greens, velvet queen sunflower, bush delicata squash, orange zinnia, and showy milkweed all for seed.

Orange Zinnia seed crop thriving in the Big Field.

The native nursery is also poised for the biggest year yet, with almost 100,000 trees, shrubs, and wildflowers growing in three greenhouses on the Farm. We are especially excited and honored to be growing 25,000 plants for the largest post-dam removal project in US history on the Klamath River. This tribal-led restoration project will commence in 2024, and we currently have 8 species, including Coyote Mint, Yampah, Goldenrod, Penstemon, and Balsam Root, growing on the Farm to contribute to this epic undertaking. Many thanks to the Karuk, Yurok and Klamath tribes for spearheading this decades-long effort to bring salmon habitat back to the tributaries of the mighty Klamath River!

We have 32 species of Native Plants currently growing in the Nursery. In the foreground are Spirea and Thimbleberry.

2023 has also been an awesome year in the school gardens at our four partner schools. Thanks to a grant from the Oregon Department of Education, Sarah Shea and Darien Aubinoe have expanded and improved our partnerships with Williams, Applegate and Ruch schools, and also started a new program with the Hidden Valley High School Special Needs class.  We have especially enjoyed the opportunity to introduce students to many locally grown and produced foods through our “Tasting Tables” program. This spring we offered fresh pesto, goat cheese, sourdough bread, and ferments, as well as fruits and vegetables, all from local small businesses (including White Oak) to the students at each of our partner schools. Oregon is a national leader in the Farm to School movement, and we are very proud to be a part of the effort to incorporate outdoor education and healthy eating into our local schools.

Jaime Dolan Tree working in the Hidden Valley High School garden.

2023 also saw the return of overnight Farm Stay after a three year COVID hiatus. We welcomed 20 students this summer for a week on the Farm of fun, food and friends. It was especially gratifying to have an incredible group of old and new campers and to witness their ability to collaborate with each other in the outdoor kitchen, on the talent stage, and in the fields and forest.

Campers with their gourmet salad creation.

There is still a long way to go before this year is in the books, but it’s off to a great start.  And now we look forward to a strong finish: harvesting seed crops, tree fruit and produce, bundling native plants for delivery, hosting fall school visits, getting back into the school gardens, and putting the Farm to bed with cover crops and mulch for another (hopefully) wet winter. Thanks to our great crew, supporters and partners for our many blessings and opportunities, and may all our gardens ripen and nourish people this coming harvest season!

Nootka Roses blooming in the native hedgerows.

More hedgerow magic!

Calendula, Zinnia, and Brassica seed crops maturing in the fields.

Campers learning to make friction fire on a lovely summer evening.

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Celebrating 20 Years!

Sunshine on the newly filled pond on New Years Day 2023

Remarkably White Oak Farm turned 20 years old this fall.  Two decades is a long time in human terms and in the life of a farm; amazing people come and go, babies are born, cabins get built, trees grow and produce fruit, others are thinned and burned.  Generations of chickens and goats and strawberries are raised, share their bounty and then die.  Children who participated in our first years of summer camps have their own kids now.  What started as a pie-in-the-sky dream shared by Stacey Denton, Eli Sarnat, and I, has turned into an established and multidimensional operation thanks to great people, hard work, generous supporters, and an open-minded local community. 

When we started White Oak way back in 2002, our ideas were a bit radical and tended to raise a few eyebrows. Not many people were talking about, much less implementing, farm-based education, natural building, alternative energy, diversified perennial agriculture, or eco-forestry. Concepts such as sustainability, food-security, restoration, and resilience were on the fringes, and global warming was still a problem that most thought was a century away.  We did not invent any of these techniques nor ideas, and our work has played only a tiny role in their subsequent adoption by the mainstream. Instead, our efforts stand on the shoulders of generations of farmers, builders and teachers before us, from indigenous people tending the oak woodlands and pine forests of the West with beneficial fire, to back-to-the-landers experimenting with new ways to live lightly on the land, to activists worldwide working to promote outdoor education, organic food, and climate awareness.  Yet it is still gratifying to see how these ideas and ways of growing, designing and teaching have expanded and captured the attention of millions of people in the past twenty years. There is now a robust farm-to-school movement worldwide bringing local food and outdoor education to children in underserved rural and urban schools.  Organic farming is the fastest growing sector of the US food system.  Solar power is now incorporated in huge municipal and private construction projects and is cheaper than coal. Human and biological diversity are understood to be pillars of a sustainable and just world.  And climate change is recognized as a clear and present danger that requires the world’s governments and corporations to work together on a massive scale.  Of course none of these changes are universal; many people and special interests are actively fighting against them, and there is still much to be done on a global and local scale.  Nonetheless, understanding and attitudes have evolved in remarkable ways in 20 years.

Looking forward to the next two decades at White Oak, I am incredibly hopeful and optimistic.  Despite challenges brought by fires, drought, and uncertain political and economic conditions, the Farm is in a great position to continue as a force for positive change. We have actively thinned our forests and improved our water systems to prepare for climate challenges. Our nursery is producing tens of thousands of trees and shrubs for restoration projects around the Rogue Valley every year. Our education programs reach almost one thousand children annually and are now integral parts of the curriculum at our three partner schools. The Farm produces hundreds of pounds of seed and thousands of pounds of free food for folks in need each year with less water and fewer inputs than ever before. Our staff and board are composed of talented and dedicated people committed to the mission.  And we are buttressed by an incredible community of partner schools and organizations, foundations, individual donors, program participants, and friends far and near who inspire and support us to keep growing year after year.

A high elevation riparian ecosystem in the Siskiyou mountains. This is the type of thriving pollinator habitat and native landscape we are working to mimic through our restoration work and farming style.
Signs of Hope! A frozen lake in the Washington Cascades last August.

2022 Programs and Projects:

Bush Delicata squash ready to be processed for seed. After scooping the seed, the remaining flesh was donated to the Josephine County Food Bank.
  • Completed 20 acres of ecological thinning, piling and burning in our forest – bringing our two-year total to 36 acres.
  • Grew 50,000 trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in our Native Nursery for riparian restoration projects around the Rogue Valley.
  • Hosted 20 students for Summer Farm Camp.
  • Provided weekly outdoor education programs in our partner school gardens throughout the year (Williams, Applegate & Ruch).
  • Spearheaded improvements at all three school gardens including planting native shrubs, constructing a garden wall, and upgrading irrigation systems.
  • Hosted 15 school field trips to the Farm.
  • Hosted tours and classes for groups such as Americorps, Rogue Farm Corps, OSU Alternative Spring Break, and Lomakatsi Youth Corps.
  • Grew and distributed over 4,000 pounds of free organic produce to local families, partner schools and food banks.
  • Grew over 500 pounds of seed crops including sunflowers, cosmos, tomatoes, pac choi, delicata squash and native milkweed.
  • Planted over 1,000 feet of native hedgerows for habitat, pollinators, and propagation materials for the nursery.
First Year Native Hedgerows in the lower field.

Hands-On Mud Education

By Sarah Shea Starr, Education Coordinator

Mixing Mud for the cob wall at Ruch School.

Building with mud is a bit of a wild concept.  When I first introduced kids in our local schools to this idea I was met with incredulous faces.  How can mud turn into a structure?  How can building with clay help the environment?  The answer: natural building with cob, straw bales, sustainably sourced wood, or other renewable materials is a great way to create affordable, beautiful and energy efficient structures. These buildings also have a low carbon-footprint and a minimal impact on the environment. Best of all, natural building is accessible to kids and adults with little experience because it requires few tools, simple concepts, and is quiet, safe and fun!

Over the past year, I have been incorporating hands-on cob building projects in our partner schools’ gardens and on Farm field trips.  These experiential breaks from the largely sedentary and cerebral school environment provide many benefits to students. It allows them to move their bodies, breath fresh air (especially during COVID-times), demonstrate prowess to themselves and their peers, and develop practical skills such as using a hammer, a level, and a cordless drill.  Additionally, natural building is a great way to encourage students who may be struggling emotionally or in the classroom to release stress and negativity and to succeed at something tangible and real.  Many of these students migrate over to the garden during their recess to lend me a hand on the wall, talk, and take a break from the challenges of being a kid in our fast-paced world. 

Getting our hands and feet dirty has also been a great gateway into exploring concepts of resource extraction, climate change, sustainability, and renewable building materials.  For most students this was the first time they have ever really understood that there is a limited amount of certain materials on the Earth.  It can be a hard subject to navigate, especially when we talk about global warming.  For kids growing-up in southern Oregon, climate change is not an abstract idea, but rather an experience they live every summer with smoke, drought, and extreme heat.  This reality and closeness of global warming makes the study of sustainability even more relevant. But by learning about these “hard” topics in an experiential and fun way we can empower students to feel capable and powerful in their ability to design and build a better future.

This fall we finished building a cob garden wall at the Ruch Outdoor School, and a small cob structure for native bees at the Williams School.  On field trips to the Farm during the spring and fall the students were able to tour our straw bale and cob structures and work on natural plaster projects.  We explored the concepts of solar gain, thermal mass, and the carbon footprint of natural materials versus manufactured building materials.  The students were able to see that my crazy ideas about mud can actually turn into beautiful and functional buildings that also have a lasting positive impact on the Earth!

The recently plastered cob garden shed on the Farm.

We would like to thank our many foundation supporters, partner organizations, donors, and volunteers.  Thank you for supporting our work!

Evelyn Roether, Jane Neubauer, Jean Greco, Ann Neely, Helen Majzler, Tim Shea and Barbara Landry, Sara Katz and David Markle, Paul Cox, John Shea, Janet Shea, Sally and Rick Ricupero, Felicia Knowles, Carrie Little, Janie and Kirk Starr, Sallie Swartz, Kathy Shea, Martha and Samuel Jacobs, Sallie Shawl, Steve and Sandy Hill, Cheryl Grandfield, Walter and Connie Lindley, Colette and Stephan Magoon, Michelle Bienick and Brian Hannigan, Matt and Margaret Shea, Merrilee Runyan, Phil Whitmore, Shahoma McAlister, Matt and Amanda Wilson, Jeff and Kendra, High Mowing Seeds, Organically Grown Company, Oregon Dept. of Education, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Hendrix Foundation, Jewish Community Fund, Ashland Food Coop, Rogue Valley Farm to School, Silver Springs Nursery, Freshwater Trust, Rogue Native Plant Partnership,  Ruch Outdoor Community School, Williams Elementary, Applegate School, A Greater Applegate, Josephine County Food Bank, Williams Food Pantry, Jen Hamar and Mike Merg, Eli Sarnat, James Haim, Andy Fischer, Jenny Kuehnle, Melina Barker, and especially our incredible and dedicated staff and volunteers: Sarah Shea, Nicole Kraft, Darien Aubinoe, Forrest Gillies, Stephen Saladyga, Amber Glassman, Hannah Borgenson, Julia Funaro, Josh Weber, Martin Gordon, Jake Manning, Stephanie Meehan, Taylor Starr, Willow, Ruby, Lucy and Maya

Giving Thanks!
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2022 Farm Update

Fog settles into the Williams Valley in late Winter

2022 has been a great year on the Farm so far. We have been blessed with abundant spring rains, cool weather, and lots of opportunities to work with students in the school gardens and at the Farm. With the constant stream of terrible news and regressive steps on the national stage it has been somewhat surreal to experience one of the most pleasant and beautiful springs and early summers I can remember in Southern Oregon. But, despite the challenges facing our country and the world, we are doing what we can in our little corner of it to make a positive difference and try to turn the tide one day at a time.

Burning branches and small trees thinned from our forest in early spring

Winter and early Spring found us busy in the forest, cutting, piling and burning small diameter douglas fir to increase forest health, decrease fuels, and hopefully make White Oak Farm (and the neighborhood) more fire resilient. Much thanks to Josh Weber of Greenpath Landworks, Jake, Stephen, Martin, Amber, OSU Alternative Spring-breakers, and the the Lomakatsi Youth Crew for doing the hard work in the woods. Woods-work is some of the most satisfying and challenging work there is: poison oak, steep slopes, hot sun, runaway burns all challenge the mind and body. The reward is the feeling of doing the good work to set the forest up for success down the road. We look forward to seeing how the woods respond to all this hard work (36 acres of thinning over two years), and to sharing the changes with students young and old over the coming decades.

Moving soil to the nursery in early spring

On the Farm, plant growth has been amazing with the moisture delivered by La Nina (my favorite personified weather phenomenon). This has been especially beneficial in the nursery where growth of native trees and shrubs has been far more robust than in past drier years.

Black Oaks (and an amphibious friend if you can spot her) in the Nursery

Sarah and Hannah have been extremely busy at Ruch, Williams, and Applegate schools, teaching in the school gardens, delivering fresh farm produce to students and families, hosting school field trips, and welcoming children to summer camp on the Farm.

Student Art at the Ruch School Garden
Ruch Outdoor School students on a field trip to the Farm
Perennial hedgerow in the foreground and Pac Choi seed crop flowering behind

On the Farm, seed crops such as Pac Choi, Delicata Squash, Resina Calendula, Cosmos, Sunflower, and Peacevine Cherry Tomato are planted, weeded, watered and growing well. Our perennial and native plantings are also thriving with the moisture and cooler temperatures, making for a good year to be a pollinator on the Farm.

A honey bee working the native milkweed seed patch (Asclepias speciosa)
Resina Calendula seed crop

As we enter the dog days of summer, we are watering deep, prepping for fall school visits and the return of students to the school gardens, and harvesting produce for the local food bank and the first seed crops of the year. In this time of profound challenge to our democracy and our planet, White Oak Farm is more committed than ever to do the positive work of education, restoration, and community food security. We believe more than ever in the right of all people to make decisions about their own bodies, to have an equal say in the direction of our nation, to live on a healthy planet with clean water and good food, and to have a hopeful future to look forward to. We also continue to experiment, grow new crops in new ways, mulch, plant more trees, and appreciate the many people, plants and animals that work together to a make the Earth our favorite planet. Below are a few images that capture 2022 so far….

Hard frost the morning of April 12 (the flip side of La Nina).
Not a positive development for fruit set on peaches, pears, plums or grapes.
Getting ready to plant out the Delicata seed crop – truckaroo still going strong in year 28
Cover crop breaking down in beds destined for fall brassicas (kale, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower)
for the food bank and local schools
Native hedgerows planted and mulched in the lowest field on the Farm with cover crop in between. In future years we will be able to harvest seed, cuttings material, and medicine from these hedgerows while also providing great pollinator habitat
Old growth forest in the marble gulch watershed above the Farm. White Oak Farm is working with amazing local groups like the Williams Forest Project and the Applegate Neighborhood Network to protect these forests from BLM logging in the Late Mungers and Penn Butte Timber Sales. Old growth forests like this are key to the Earth’s ability to sequester carbon and mitigate humans’ negative impacts on the climate. It is unimaginable that the Federal Government continues to give them away to corporations for a quick profit.
An unnamed and off-trail lake deep in the wilderness of the Klamath Siskiyou Mountains. These are the landscapes that inspire us to keep on planting, growing, teaching, and learning. May we all have the opportunity to swim in snowmelt waters that take our breath away and make us feel alive and renewed to live another day!
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14 inches and counting! We are so blessed to be getting an abundant snow producing storm this week. The creek is finally flowing, and the snow is piling up. The above view is of the upper meadow at the Farm – thinned in 2010 to enhance a white oak/manzanita savanna ecosystem. This type of drought tolerant ridge-top ecosystem provides great habitat for many species. Tracks observed in the snow today include: bobcat, deer, skunk and jackrabbit.

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The Native Nursery

A Beaver Pond along Neil Creek in Ashland at a Freshwater Trust restoration site.

By Nicole Kraft – Nursery Crew Leader

2021 marks the third year of White Oak’s Native Plant Nursery, and a successful one at that. This year we grew and distributed over 30,000 native trees and shrubs of 18 different species for the purpose of riparian restoration throughout Southern Oregon. 

These trees and shrubs were grown from hand-collected seed and cuttings, which all require specific treatments and stratification to mimic nature’s processes. In early spring as the seedlings emerged from their peat-filled trays, we individually potted them up into soil-filled nursery containers.  Next, we sorted and spaced the plants in order for them to size-up and grow in good form. We watered, loved, and fed them compost tea through the very hot and dry summer months.  When Fall arrived and the cool temperatures brought the beginnings of dormancy, we started bundling the plants by species and quantity, preparing them for their final destinations.  The cycle continues with new seed collected in late summer put into stratification, plant deliveries, cleaning and organizing the greenhouses, and preparing for winter cuttings.

Riparian zones are the land areas along waterways, streams, and other bodies of water, such as a streambank or a flood plain. They provide critical habitat for diverse fish and wildlife species and important ecosystem services that relate to hydrology, such as water filtration and groundwater recharge. Native plants fill specific roles in the riparian ecosystem, providing canopy and food security for hundreds of species, erosion control and stabilization of stream banks, improved water quality and temperature modulation, and greater resistance and resilience to wildfire. 

It will come as no surprise that humans have severely degraded riparian zones- with development, human-constructed dams and removal of the beaver, agricultural run-off and overgrazing, and the list goes on. Exotic plant populations, wildfires, and climate change are also on the growing list of impacts. 

It turns out that nursery-grown native plants can be hard to find, especially in significant quantities for larger scale restoration projects. White Oak sees an opportunity in this challenge, and we will continue to do our best to provide healthy native plant species for the important work of restoring the riparian habitat in our Southern Oregon communities.

As always, a huge part of our success comes from our partnerships, mentors, and community support.  We have learned from and worked with James Kraemer of Silver Springs Nursery over the last three seasons. He has imparted a great deal of knowledge and wisdom, as well as a passion for plants that is infectious. The majority of our nursery stock is purchased by The Freshwater Trust, a Pacific Northwest-based restoration organization.  For the past 8 years TFT has been working on restoration and conservation projects in the Rogue Basin of Southern Oregon, with 30 current restoration sites. We collaborate with the Rogue Native Plant Partnership on native seed sourcing and discussions about the future of restoration. We also work with local landowners and host on-site native plant sales to encourage the education and planting of native riparian plants. Thank you to all who support us and these efforts, and feel free to reach out with any questions about incorporating native plants into your own life!

Fall Colors in the Nursery. Douglas Hawthorn is the bright red species in the foreground.
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2021 Year in Review

Fall colors on the Farm


By Taylor Starr, Director

Given the challenges facing the world these days, it is easy to be pessimistic and even despondent about our future.  The smoke and fires start earlier every summer and last later into the fall. Drought conditions are worsening, and the pandemic and political polarization seem to continue unabated.  And yet each fall with the return of the rains, the growth of newly planted cover crops, the arrival of school groups, and the planting of young trees, hope is renewed and anything again seems possible.

Fall is truly the season of rebirth in our Mediterranean climate.  This October we were blessed with abundant rains, and seemingly overnight, smoky skies became clear, leaves turned their most vivid colors, and robins descended on the madrone berry crop in numbers not seen in decades. Now even in late November as I write, their songs reverberate through the forest as they feast.  I am heartened by their joy and their numbers, and reminded that despite the challenges our community and our world face, there is good work to be done, and it is best done with a song of joy.

This year has presented us ample opportunity here at White Oak Farm to whistle while we work. Children returned for school visits in Spring and Fall, and the education programs in the Williams and Ruch school gardens were expanded and improved in their second years.  We also hosted two weeks of summer farm camps, including the first year of Teen Camp, which was a big success! On the Farm, thanks to generous donations and partnerships with A Greater Applegate, Rogue Valley Farm to School, and the Josephine County Food Bank, we were able to distribute thousands of pounds of fresh organic food to local food banks, schools, and families free of charge.  We also had a great year producing seed crops of sunflowers, zinnias, calendula, winter squash, milkweed, greens, and beans for small farmers and gardeners around the country.  In the Native Nursery we took a big leap this year, producing over 50,000 trees and shrubs for riparian restoration and native landscaping.

Some of our most exciting work in 2021 took place in the forest that covers the steep hillsides behind the Farm.  This year we partnered with the NRCS and local forester Josh Weber to thin 16 acres of mixed conifer and hardwood forest on the western half of the property. These woods were previously so thick with small diameter Douglas Fir and Poison Oak that they were rarely visited.

After a winter of carefully designing a prescription, cutting small trees, piling and burning the branches, and leaving larger wood for firewood, habitat, or to decompose into the soil, the project area is healthier, more fire-safe, and more wildlife friendly.  This work will continue in 2022 on the eastern half of the Farm and into the future with the development of more trails, signage and educational opportunities. 

At the heart of this year of hard work and new programs is our commitment to restoration: repair, renewal, and reinvigoration.  We are focusing our efforts more and more in this vein: restoration of our woods, of local riparian corridors and burn zones, of our soil, and of local pollinator communities, school gardens, and food systems.  These efforts are impactful because their timeline is long. When sprouting thousands of acorns or burning piles of branches in our woods, the payoff is not measured in dollars, but in future cascading positive outcomes. Perhaps an acorn will become an old growth oak someday, shading a stream with healthy salmon runs, providing food for critters and people, and offerings its branches for children to climb.  Restoration is also an act of restitution, an attempt at making good for past actions gone wrong. In riparian restoration work, one of the signs that a project is successful is when beavers move back to an area and do their work. By taking down trees to build their dams beavers provide habitat, recharge water tables, reduce erosion and improve water quality.  There is poetry in this planting of trees to encourage another to cut them down, but it is this very complexity and long-term impact that makes the effort so important and so satisfying.

An example of beaver activity at a restoration site in the Bear Creek Valley. Our partner organization, The Freshwater Trust, plants trees and shrubs grown at White Oak Farm at sites like this around Southern Oregon.
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2020 Year in Review

Practicing Resilience

By Taylor Starr

One great thing about farming is that it prepares you for surprises.  There is always a late frost or a freak thunderstorm or an unexpected pest to throw a farmer a curveball when you least expect it.  Well, 2020 provided us all with surprises just about every day!  Thankfully, we at White Oak Farm were able to adapt and meet the challenges while still providing support to our local community in new and exciting ways.  Between COVID-19 cancelations of school visits and overnight camps; wildfire impacts on farmers markets and air quality; and endless uncertainty, it has been a challenging year to say the least.  Here at the Farm we are extremely privileged to work from home, with a dedicated staff, in our relatively isolated rural community, and to have years of farming successes and failures to help prepare us for resilience in this time of upheaval.

Last spring, as we were gearing up for our biggest season ever of farm field trips and programs in the schools, it quickly became clear that we were going to need a major change of plans due to the escalating pandemic.  In March, we tossed our original schedule out the window and pivoted to new education programs.  This became a theme for the year: seeing opportunities in the chaos, and looking for new ways to do good work whenever possible.  We adapted our School Partnership Program, putting more energy into improving the gardens at our local schools; providing online content for the students that encouraged outdoor adventures, creativity, and healthy eating; offering garden-based education to small groups of students when it was safe to do so; and providing free produce boxes for eligible school families.  We also adapted our summer Farmstay, by dividing the group of twenty campers in two and hosting two weeks of day camp – each with ten students. This allowed the kids to spend time at the Farm (and with each other) in a safe manner for all. 

A free CSA box in August

On the Farm, 2020 provided some exciting opportunities as well.  Demand for our seed crops grew due to the pandemic-inspired interest in gardening. We had already been slowly expanding our seed production, and this year gave us the ability to make a big leap, producing crops of mustard greens, delicata squash, tomatoes, zinnias, nasturtiums, sunflowers, corn, and two species of milkweed.  We also adapted our marketing of produce this year after COVID-19, wildfires and smoke impacted our farmers markets, offering a weekly contactless produce pickup for our loyal customers.  Thanks to funds from the State of Oregon and generous donations from local folks, we greatly expanded our free CSA program to provide weekly produce to 40 school families.  The boxes included recipes and activities and were designed to encourage kids to try new healthy foods.  We were also able to donate thousands of pounds of winter squash, apples, pears, and greens to local schools, food banks, and fire victims this year, doing our small part to provide organic food to the many families struggling to eat in these challenging times.

A new and growing aspect of our work on the Farm is our restoration program.  This year we expanded our native plant nursery, growing over 30,000 plants for riparian restoration projects and native landscaping throughout Southern Oregon.  This fall, in partnership with our former Intern Josh Weber and funding from NRCS we are also embarking on 16 acres of restoration for forest health and wildfire safety in our woods.  This work seeks to make the Farm more fire safe in a time of escalating wildfires, and also to develop and demonstrate carbon-friendly forestry techniques and practices.  This is the beginning of a two-year project that will also lead to more trails, signage, and educational opportunities in our woods.

As 2020 comes to an end, we are busy planning for next year’s programs.   We are looking forward to continuing our work in the schools, providing free food to local families, growing seeds and native plants, working to make our woods healthier and more resilient, and hopefully welcoming students back to the Farm for educational programs.  Whatever the new year brings, we are ready to change and adapt!  With the rapidly worsening climate crisis, an ongoing pandemic, and a fractured society, I believe we are living through a period where upheaval will be the norm, and resilience will be the best strategy for coping and even thriving.  Life is not going to be easy, and so we are all going to have to work as hard as possible to approach each new situation with intelligence, flexibility, and compassion.  We are inspired daily by the incredible efforts of young people across the country to stand up and demand racial justice, human rights, and an aggressive response to the climate crisis.  Their example shows us that together, we have the collective ability to create a society that is in balance with nature and that celebrates and values all life.  We continue to be hopeful for this future, and inspired to be a part of doing the work to get there with all of you!

2020 – Year of the New Puppy.
Our farm dog Lucy, here pictured learning to watch the turkeys (without chasing them!)
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Fall Equinox Fundraiser

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Perennials Class April 15th

Join us Saturday, April 15th for the 3rd class in our Sustainable Living Skills Class Series, “Perennial Crop Care” with Taylor Starr and Brian Geier. 9am-1pm, organic snacks provided. Cost is $40. Please pre-register by calling 541 846 0776 or emailing

This hands-on class will explore the world of perennials. Grow food, medicine, teas, fiber, basketry materials and more every year on your homestead with a small amount of maintenance. We will explore different methods of propagation, and participants will be able to bring home cuttings and divisions of plants. Some of the plants folks will be working with and bring home include: valerian, comfrey, lemon balm, basketry willow, flowers, raspberries, strawberries, grapes and more. Learn how to integrate low maintenance and high-bearing perennials into your homestead to feed your body and fuel your soul.

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