Friday, April 27, 2007

Local Food in the News?

Every week I scan the Food section of the Tuesday edition of the Columbian hoping to find ANYTHING related to the local food scene. Given I can always count on seeing the Health Inspection results and the list of upcoming tastings & classes. But this information is supplied to the newspaper by others with no journalistic effort on the Columbian's part. I know there is always a gratuitous, poorly written restaurant review in the Friday Entertainment guide, hacked out by someone whose restaurant experience obvious adds up to, "Ummm...I like to eat at restaurants. I must be qualified to write a restaurant review." Whoopee. Is there really nothing of interest, gastronomically speaking, going on in our entire county that will move the staff of the Columbian to pick up a pen and write even a few short paragraphs? I guess that if it requires actual reporting, then the Columbian must not be interested in taking on the challenge. Well here's what I think should happen.


Save yourselves a few bucks and stop wasting our time or put forth at least a minimum amount of effort to provide some content besides AP articles or articles and recipes gleaned from the efforts of real journalists.

This week I was all set to be as disappointed as always with the lack of local information until I noticed something on the back page, in the lower right hand corner, occupying a obscure column was the annual Columbian call for farmers to be listed in the annual Clark County Farm Fresh Guide. Do the folks at the Columbian actually want submissions or are they hoping that nobody sees the information, thereby keeping the workload for the Farm Guide to a minimum? In addition to keeping the invitation to be a part of the Farm Guide a virtual secret, the qualifications for being listed in the guide manage to occlude some of our most innovative, sustainable, and valuable farmers by stating if you don't have a farm stand open to the public on your farm, then don't bother asking to be listed. Well that leaves out the CSA farmers, the folks who grow all sorts of specialty livestock & produce for the commercial trade, and the folks who may not open their farm to the public but they can certainly be publicly accessed via their stands at local farmers markets for a good portion of the year. Why is it that these folks have less value than the farmers who have decided to sell to the public from stands on the farm itself? Truth is, they don't.

Come on Columbian. You can do better than this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If You Didn't Have Enough Reasons...

If you didn't have enough reasons to make preservation of local agriculture a top priority, perhaps the latest developments related to the melamine contamination of pet food will convince you.

If you've been following recent national and local news headlines you should have seen stories regarding the melamine contaminated "pet" food being introduced into our food supply by hog farmers who fed their animals the aforementioned contaminated product to their animals as "salvage" pet food. Salvage pet food means pet food (dog and cat) in distribution that is no longer available for retail sale. Examples of distressed pet food include, but are not limited to, dented cans, torn bags, or pet food past its sell-by date....and apparently although is not good enough to be fed to our pets, it is apparently good enough to be fed to livestock that will eventually end up on your family's table. Interestingly enough, there is actually a Federal ban on feeding salvage pet food to ruminants due to fear of spreading BSE. here's the gist of it:

"A Federal rule that prohibits feeding protein derived from the tissues of animals to ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, deer, elk, bison, and buffalo became effective on August 4, 1997. The purpose of the regulation is to prevent the establishment and amplification of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States, and thereby minimize any risk to animals and humans. "

So the USDA recognizes potential danger in using salvage pet food to feed livestock, but is willing to make some exceptions.

Preliminary investigation by independent watchdog groups, the media, and our own Congress has turned up what amounts to massive failure and negligence on the part of our government agencies to protect our food supply. According to the USDA the main sources of contaminated or inappropriate food products appear to be FOREIGN in nature. However, there is NO ban on feeding salvage pet food, or any of a number of other questionable or non-USDA approved items, to livestock in many countries we import food from...and so here we are back to foreign food imports that don't get much attention from our inspectors being introduced into our food supply.

Additionally, the amount of foreign food products and ingredients imported into the US has increased substantially in the last few years. In 2001, the United States imported about $4.4 billion worth of ingredients processed from plants or animals, according to analysis by the Associated Press. By last year that total leaped to $7.6 billion — a 73 percent increase. Other food and drink imports rose from $38.3 billion to $63 billion — up 65 percent. Unfortunately, there has been no effort on the part of our regulating government agencies to increase the scope of inspections on said products. The lack of oversight appears to be even greater with respect to food ingredients, like the contaminated wheat gluten that was used in the recent pet food debacle. In fact former USDA official, Carl Nielsen, whose job until he left in 2005 was to make sure field inspectors were checking the right imports said, "I don't ever remember working on ingredients.. That was the lowest priority..."

"The lowest priority". $7.6 billion dollars worth of ingredients going into your family's food is of no consequence to the government agencies whose job it is to protect our food supply. Not very reassuring, is it.

So now we'll briefly change subjects and touch on the latest edition of the US Farm Bill. The same folks who are responsible for the mess covered above are the brain trust behind what is perhaps the WORST piece of agriculture related legislation in history. I won't get into the details, there are plenty of other folks out there who have dissected this bill and they are a whole lot smarter than I am. In fact, if you're the intellectually curious type, you can find out more by following one of the links below:

What I can tell you is that the 2007 Farm Bill opens the door of our nation to even more foreign food imports and does not address the issue of import food safety at all. Also, it continues the taxpayer funded, corporate welfare program designed to reward large, agribusiness commodity growers and completely disenfranchises the small, local farmer. The very same local farmers who are our last hope to provide us with a safe food system. So much for national food security.

So there you have it. Compelling reasons to not only support and preserve local agriculture, but to have serious concerns about the safety of our food supply. Please folks, I know that when buying locally sometimes it might cost a little more or may not be as convenient, but for the sake of our nation, our communities, and your family, put your best foot forward and do even a small part to save our local farms. Here in Clark County, you can help out by writing to your county commissioners and letting them know that you do not support the proposed Land Use policy and that you want to see more effort going into policy that will support, preserve, and encourage local agriculture. Our children will thank us.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

CSA Documentary at PDX Film Festival

PDX Film Festival to screen CSA documentary produced by Washington native Jade Adjani

Growing Awareness
Jade Ajani, 90 min, video, 2007

Saturday, April 28th, 5:30PM
Hollywood Theater
4122 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland
$7 General Admission

This locally-produced documentary examines Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), in which consumers buy shares of a local farm harvest, receiving a weekly supply of fresh food throughout the season. It is also a critique of the Organic-Industrial complex and the modern corporate-controlled globalized food system. Small-scale organic farmers in the South Puget Sound region share their views on the present reality of small-scale CSA farming and its impact on farmers, consumers, and the local community as a whole.

Director Ajani grew up on such a farm in the Independence Valley south of Olympia, and his passion for the subject is evident in the beautiful selection of imagery and music that accompanies the observations and insights shared in the film.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fedco Seeds Farm Logo Search - Get Some Free Publicity!


We would like to do a future catalog with the theme of farm names and logos
featuring some of the most original farm names and graphics. Please send us a
copy of your farm logo. We would prefer black and white, although we can
render color logos into black and white with a small loss of resolution. We will
choose the ones we like best and your farm will get free nationwide publicity.

Fedco Seeds, PO Box 520, Waterville, ME 04903
(207) 873-7333

Thursday, April 19, 2007

CSA News from the Vancouver Food Co-op

What a perfect way to get your produce--buying directly from the farmer.

If you are not familiar with what a CSA is please click on the link below for more info:

There are 8 CSA this year!!! This is more than double what we had last year.

A few of the CSA's still have shares available--some CSA's offer more shares than others so they have more available.

Please contact them all to see who you feel fits the best with you. They offer different options as far as delivery or not, and varieties so call and compare.

CSA's with available shares:

DanDee Farm Naturals
Dan & Nola McPherson
503 N.E. 257th Ave
Camas, WA 98607
(360)834-7472, (360)921-9072, (360)601-9356

Gee Creek Farm
Lyle Stanley
Ridgefield (360) 887-0463

Hunter’s Greens
Jim & Diane Hunter
Brush Prairie (360) 256-3788

Purple Rain Vineyard
James Voisin & Luisa DePaiva
Hockinson (360) 256-8658

As the season gets under way we will keep you as informed as we are about buying local from your farmers.

Thank you for your support
Vancouver Food Co-op

Polls, Apathy, Etc...

I read an article today in the Columbian regarding the the release of poll results pertaining to Clark County and how the citizens feel about subject like county government, greatest concerns, quality of life, etc... I wish there had been more data, or at least information telling the reader how they could view the full content and results of the poll. Unfortunately, the mediocre quality of journalism, typical of the Columbian, didn't give the reader anything but a superficial glimpse of the story with no way to learn anything more about the subject matter.

The results sounded quite optimistic and in many cases had improved since a similar poll was done in 2003.

A surprising result was that although concerns about growth and sprawl topped the list, the percentage of people who chose growth/sprawl as their greatest concern has dropped. Of course there is no way to know if that improvement might be related to a percentage of those polled being from areas already plagued by poor growth management and unchecked suburban sprawl...S. California, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston...I've met an awful lot of folks from these regions who have moved to our county recently. I'm sure that compared to where they used to live, this is paradise.

The most disappointing poll result actually had nothing to do with any of the questions from the poll. It had to do with the pathetic number of poll returns. Only 877 people out of 5000. For shame, Clark County! Surely we can do better than that. For once, the County is actually asking our opinion. They apparently want to know how we feel about things. It's very disappointing to read that although people who were selected to participate in the poll were given a postage paid envelope to facilitate the return of their poll, only 17.5% of those selected took advantage of this opportunity. Our apathy will only lead to more unfavorable, uncontested policy making by our county officials unless we put forth the minute amount of effort it takes to let them know how we feel about issues.

I'll end this nonsense with a parting quote from the Simpsons. A TV show that I personally feel is chock full of priceless, philosophical nuggets.

"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true."
-Homer Simpson

Monday, April 16, 2007

Earth Day Sustainable Ag Event

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2007 @ 7 pm

Clark County Licensing Office
1408 Franklin
Vancouver, WA

Co-sponsor: WSU Master Gardeners
FoCC host: Val Alexander
Moderator: Dr Charles Brun, Washington State University Extension


Vance Corum,
Farmer’s Markets America
Community Choice 2010 food access

Bev Doty
Permaculture gardening

Anne Lawrence, Storytree Farm
Community Supported Agriculture

Sunrise O’Mahoney, Vancouver Co-op
Locally grown & organic foods

Kathi Silveria, Clark County
Master Composters

Hunter's Greens Updates & Notes From the Margin 4.16.07

Dear Once and Future CSA-ers, Courtiers and Fellow Tilters at Windmills,

On Friday, April 20, Hunters' Greens will have a table at the Clark County Center for Community Health from ten to two. Stop by and see us, send your friends. The Center is located at 1601East Fourth Plain Boulevard. It is a new building in the Veterans Administration area where St. John's Blvd. meets Fourth Plain.

We are into the time of anxiously waiting at the farm:waiting to see when the rains will stop and when we can get back in the fields, waiting to see how many shares will be purchased. The bright spots are that the peas are now about three inches high and Jim's experimental greenhouse garlic starts are bursting out of the seed blocks. We're up to about 30 firm share commitments, still looking for 20 more.

The word on the street is that there will be hearings on the Comprehensive Plan Update in early June. Meanwhile, write to those Commissioners and if you're feeling particularly literary,a letter to the editor.



We're not sure about you, but we could use a little break from discussing the depressing world of local politics. So we'll take a short hiatus to write about something a little more exciting, TOMATOES!!!

Now vine ripened fresh local tomatoes may be just a twinkle in your eye in April, but Jim has been applying his most creative coggling and appropriate technology skills (what folks these days call sustainability) to bringing you this year's crop.

You see over the years, we have struggled to figure out how to germinate tomatoes. Tomatoes need about eighty degrees. Now, the conventional solution is to buy an electric germination mat that provides bottom heat to the flats of seeds, but they are a little pricey for our depression era/ Scots/ Dutch ancestry to justify. Also we tried to figure out ways to utilize heat we were already generating.

When we lived at the house on the corner we heated the house with a woodstove in the basement. The basement was a place Diane didn't mind getting dirty, so Jim arranged the flats of tomato seeds around the woodstove and the heat that warmed us, warmed the tomatoes. But our"new-old" house doesn't have such a convenient arrangement, and so for years Jim has struggled to find an alternative.

This year's experiment is showing promise. We call it "Tiny Jim's TomatoTeepee". Jim took four, nine foot long, two by fours and tied them together on one end with rope, he then spread them out to form a rough teepee frame. On the south side he hung clear plastic. On the rest of the circumference he hung a hodgepodge of sheet metal and a reflective foil insulating paper (all reused materials available on the farm,nothing purchased). He wrapped the whole thing with a fibre glass insulation blanket left over from sheathing the granary roof. During the day we pull back the fibre glass from the south side to let light in the plastic sheeting.

Inside the teepee Jim installed a small wood stove some elderly friends had passed on to us, and used some rusty old Fifield House stove pipe to vent it out the side of the teepee. He arranged metal shelves on metal posts (inflammable and hard for seed eating mice to climb) around the wood stove.

Jim seeded some flats of tomatoes and peppers, put them inside plastic sacks to keep them from drying out and set them around the wood stove to warm. Within a couple days the flats were covered with mildew, and Jim's heart sank that the experiment had failed, but he whipped off the sack sand put the flats back, in hopes the mildew would die.

This meant that we had to devise a way to keep the flats moist. Fortunately an old refrigerator produce bin was lying about that was just the dimensions to soak the seed blocks when they got dry (watering from above might dislodge the seeds). Jim picked up on a tip from fellow farmer James at Purple Rain Vineyards and decided to soak the seeds in warm water to keep the germination warmth going.

Well it hasn't been a picnic. The first and last thing Jim does everyday is feed the tomato teepee fire. A number of times the shelves have fallen over and spilled the seed blocks. There is no room to stand in the teepee, so Jim comes in every evening with sore soggy knees. But we are successfully germinating tomatoes and even peppers.

Often Jim thinks of organizing our essays into a series of ongoing"columns" on different subjects. The title for the column this essay would fall under, we would call "A penny saved... wisely?" The title poses the question of whether our latest coggle represents "A penny saved is a penny earned," or is "penny wise and pound foolish."

Certainly in terms of labor, the electric germination pad would be a wise investment. Now that we are burning wood just to germinate tomatoes, we could ask, " does the contribution to global warming trumps the salmon fry being chopped up in hydro dam turbines?" And we could ask whether burning windfall limbs and leftover scraps from lumber being used in restoring historic building might be considered "carbon neutral."

And then we can ask, "What is the value of the joy that we experience in using our creative urges to design novel solutions to pesky problems?"

As you can see the calculus of these choices is not simple, and we would argue it is better left to intuition than reduction to a mathematically calculable formula, but then we guess that's part of why we're writing you "notes from the margin."

Well, our two pages are up, so we'll have to save the tale of how Diane turned Jim's last failed coggle into too many tomatoes. Can a CSA have too many tomatoes?

Until then, Sustainably yours,

Jim and Diane Hunter
p.s. Don't forget the Earth Fair and to write your commissioners

Got Parakeets?

Got Parakeets, Cockatoos, Seagulls? Lucky you! According to the folks at Fiery Foods, you can use your little tweeety bird's poop to increase germination rates of your pepper seeds. Click the link below to get the scoop on the poop and more helpful pepper growing tips:

Dee Creek Farm Goes Mobile

Very cool stuff here folks. Despite some unfortunate setbacks last year, Dee Creek Farm is still rockin' along and they are just about set to bring their selection of raw milk products, produce, soaps and other Dee Creek specialties direct from the farm to the doorsteps of us city folks with the implementation of their Mobile Farm Store. Read on for the full story...

Licensed Grade A Dairy Within The Month!

After much time and anticipation, the dairy is nearly completed! We have a date with our local inspector for licensing (if all passes) on April 20th. We plan to begin sales of raw goat milk as early as the following week at our new Mobile Farm Store.

Where and When?

We have yet to determine exact times and locations for drops, but are considering the downtown Vancouver area, as well as the Salmon Creek area, around 134th Street. We will need a place to park the Mobile Farm Store for 2 hours, once a week (two separate locations). We will be equipped with our own generator to keep the fridge in service, so electrical hookups will not be required. We welcome customer participation in the farm, so any input of ideas for possible delivery/drop locations are welcome and appreciated!


We will limit each drop off to 2-hours, two times a week in Vancouver, and once in Woodland. Our Mobile Farm Store will carry the products that have come to characterize Dee Creek Farm, including (but not exclusively!) fresh produce and herbs, handmade soap, lotions, other home and skincare products, farm fresh eggs, plants, and a multitude of dairy products. We will also carry a diverse line of goods from local families and businesses that believe in natural, sustainable living.

The Ins & Outs of Dairy Products

Customers maintaining monthly pre-paid orders will have first dibs on the milk. They will be paying $6.50/half-gallon (compare to Wild Oat’s price for pasteurized goat milk for $6.58/half-gallon). All walk-up and non pre-paid customers will pay retail at $7.00/half-gallon, and be subject to availability. If monthly payment is late by more than 8 days, you will no longer be considered a Pre-Paying Customer. You will then be buying your milk at retail price, and will not be guaranteed milk at the drop off. Retail customers may contact us via our cell phone at the drop to make sure there is still milk available.

Taking Orders NOW!!!

We are taking a list for committed pre-pay customers. You will need to send a non-refundable deposit of $26 immediately to begin your commitment, along with an email or phone call to confirm. This will be used toward your first month of milk, beginning May 1st.

Initially, we will offer fluid raw Nubian GOAT milk ONLY.

This is what you are committing to by replying to this email. However, this is only the beginning. In the next few weeks you can expect to see a wider variety of GOAT products including raw cream, pasteurized yogurt, kefir, cheeses, and butters. We are planning to offer non-homogenized COW milk and dairy products in early summer.

Dee Creek Farm
P.O. Box 1936
Woodland, WA 98674
email: info (at) deecreekfarm (dot) com

Friday, April 13, 2007

Farm TV = Growing Goodness

So I'm "telecommuting" yesterday and while doing some "work related" web browsing I come across something wonderful. It's a web site, it's a blog, and it's a vlog (video log) that is set up like a television, only with a great deal of media-rich content and the subject matter is almost entirely related to farmers and farmers markets. I wish I could explain it better, but you'd have to see it to truly understand....ok, enough rambling. Here's what the folks at Growing Goodness have to say about themselves:

Growing Goodness™ is a community-based broadband TV network for viewers with extremely passionate interests—beyond what cable television can provide.

Our mission is to create more public awareness and active interest in our local farmers markets.

• Explore the U.S. farmers market world
• Generate farmers market awareness and active interest
• Increase understanding of community affairs and events
• Foster lifelong skills for good living
• Spotlight excellence in goodness

So there you have it. Farm TV, on demand, 24/7, no ads, no cable bills, no additive or preservatives. Does it get any better than that?

I only had time to watch one "program" between work related interruptions, but basically the "show" was about a cooperative of farmers in Athens, GA (Athens Locally Grown) who have taken the Farmers Market/CSA concepts into the 21st century. Via the internet, they have deployed a simple, yet ingenious system that helps the farmers to reach a large number or citizens in their community conveniently and to work smarter, not harder.

Check it out for yourselves.

Growing Goodness -
Athens Locally Grown -

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So you want to be a farmer...

Well, here's your chance to live it first hand to see if you've got the moxie. Rick & Lora Lea Misterly of Quillisascut Cheese in Rice, WA will be offering their annual, multi-day 'Introduction to Farming' class on August 8-12, 2007. Get more info and sign up here:

And for those of you wanting a more gastronomically focused farm adventure, she also offers a series of "Farm Culinary" classes over several weekends in August & September. Get more info and sign up here"

Finally, for you folks who fancy yourselves to be Food Enthusiasts with a penchant for sustainable, sensible dining and cooking, you can attend Rick & Lora Lea's weekend retreat, Developing Food Culture and a Sense of Place.

Quillisascut Farm has received numerous accolades for their educational programs from attendees, professionals, and the media. The farm was also recognized as a Farm Aid Featured Farm.

Notes From the Margin: Living as if Everything Mattered - 02.22.07

Notes From the Margin: Living as if Everything Mattered
Hunters’ Greens... Farm Newsletter, February 22, 2007


At the very moment that local farmers are banding together to promote sustainable agricultural development in Clark County, the Board of County Commissioners stands poised to define us out of existence.

A proposal is currently before the commissioners that will raise the bar for what qualifies as agricultural land so high, that virtually any parcel in the county could be removed from protection under the comprehensive growth management act.

We at Hunters’ Greens... urge you to write your Commissioners immediately to voiceyour opposition to this proposal. Instead, we believe that the Board should place a five year moratorium on redefining agricultural lands and embark on an aggessive program to protect agricultural lands and promote sustainable agricultural development, using non-regulatory incentive based tools.

The proposal before the board is based on the study:


In brief, the study concludes that “commercial agriculture” is dead in Clark County, and offers a laundry list of criteria by which the Board can exclude much of the land zoned agriculture as “not commercially viable.”

We have a number of problems with this study. The study by its own admission is unable to account for a rapidly growing sector of small sustainable farms marketing their products directly to the public. And yet an internet search at “http//”, using the site’s “farm finder” identifies 110 such farms in Clark County.

Second, the study treats agricultural land use as just another industrial factor ofproduction, to be compared “apples for apples” with asphault plants or tract homes, rather than considering “the environmental resource functions...(and) inherent economic, social,and cultural values of natural resource lands and critical areas..” that the Comprehensive Growth Management Act urges governments to consider when zoning agricultural lands.

At best the Board is being misguided by a flawed study, at worst they are yielding to the development pressures the Growth Management Act was written to resist. We live in a time when the reasons for encouraging local agricultural production are mounting: rising fuel costs, the failure of mega farms to protect the public health, and a growing consumer demand for locally and sustainably produced wholesome foods. Is this the time to gut the county’s agricultural zoning law?

Some may ask, “But what about the large commercial farms that are no longer viable and want to exit the agricultural industry and sell their land? Are we not punishing them?” Well it just so happens that many counties in the state are already finding ways to address this issue. State, federal and private monies are available to purchase conservation easements and development rights from farmers in exchange for permanantly committing their land to agricultural use. Farmers can liquidate the development value of their land,set it aside for retirement, and continue farming until they are ready without fear of financial pressures to leave the industry. The land then becomes available at a price at which young farmers can affordably enter the industry. The old farmer wins, the young farmer wins, and the public interest wins.
Furthermore, if the Board is truly committed to sustainable economic development, they will recognize the gold mine that the county’s class I, II and III soils represents. Why be the bedroom for the GreaterPortland Area when we could be the bread basket and the salad bowl? With the kinds of investments in farmers markets, small scale processing facilities and technical and educational support that other counties in the state are making,the new local sustainable Clark County agriculture could reap untold benefits.

Thanks for listening,

Jim and Diane Hunter,
huntersgreens (at)


Tell them not to redefine agricultural lands in the Comprehensive Growth Plan. Tell them to support sustainable agricultural economic development.

Supporting Local Agriculture & Notes From the Margin - 3.07.07, An update on the Clark County Farm Crisis

The following is a reposting of a little introductory rant from yours truly and the infamous 'Notes From the Margin' windmill tilting issue...

Are you tired of seeing the prices rising higher in the grocery store as corporations struggle to keep their profit margins high enough to pacify shareholders and freely dole out obscenely enormous bonuses and severance packages for their top-level executives? Are you going to continue to allow your friends and family to be subjected to food prices that are being hugely influenced by the price of petroleum? Can we truly afford to continue relying on the importation of food from far away states and other nations who have no interest in the health and welfare of our community? I think the answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO.

The future of agriculture is not in bigger farms, genetically modified plants and animals, or year round availability of tomatoes and strawberries. The security and health of our food supply depends on the resurgence of the small farm and an increase in local agricultural production. We are so fortunate to be blessed with amazingly fertile soil, abundant water, and a multitude of hardworking, ingenious folks who are bringing new ideas and attitudes to the concept of small farming. We need to exploit our agricultural potential, rather than bury it under acres and acres to concrete and pavement.

So now you're thinking, "What do you expect me to do about it?". No problem. We have some great things you can do right now to make big changes with minimum effort on your part.
Purchase a subscription to a Community Supported Agriculture effort. We have several right here in Clark County and now is a great time to sign up for months of fresh, healthy, locally grown produce grown for you by folk who care deeply about farming, the community, and your family.

Support the efforts of the Vancouver Food Co-op. These folks are working tirelessly to bring good, clean, socially responsible shopping to our fair city. Find out more at

Shop at local farmers markets whenever possible. When you're there, take the time to get to know the folks working the stands and growing your food. With your support, our local farmers can continue growing food for our community. Also, the demand for more locally grown food will influence others to start farming and will send a strong message to our community leaders that we are concerned about food security and support the concept of local agriculture.

You can also let your neighborhood grocery store that you'd prefer if they would carry locally produced products.

Finally, let our county commissioners know, that while development might be of a certain benefit to our community with regards to tax revenue, preserving our farm lands is PRICELESS. Once you pave over fertile farm land, even if it is not currently under cultivation, it is gone forever. And once we no longer have the option of utilizing our agricultural resources we lose any hope of establishing greater control over the security and safety of our food supply. Let's follow the example of our neighbors across the river and put an emphasis on more efficient use of the space we've already developed. We have plenty of room within our current growth boundary to add thousands of citizens to our community in the coming years. We do not need to sacrifice our agricultural heritage and our highly productive soil for the sake of unchecked, unnecessary suburban sprawl.

Now, without further adieu, here's the latest from Hunters Greens...

Dear Once and Future CSA-ers and Fellow Tilters of Windmills,

The firestorm of social and political activity has kept us from communicating with you over the last week or two. The CSA Forum was agrand success, adding three members immediately, plus a dozen more contacts that may one day bear fruit.

Our roster of committed CSA members stands somewhere between twenty and twenty-five, so there is still plenty of room for those still making uptheir mind. There is also room for those of you who think this endeavor is something your friends, neighbors and colleagues might enjoy. So keep passing that word of mouth. It is our bread and butter.

On the farm front, the seeds are ordered, the fruit trees are almost all pruned and the horse manure is steaming away, killing off pathogens underplastic tarp umbrellas. This week we will begin seeding in earnest, probably onions and cabbage family plants first. Jim is busy trying to figure out a good coggle for heating up a space to germinate tomatoes.We're debating between a propane or wood stove as a heat source, each having it's own practical and environmental plusses and minuses.

A big thank you to all who have made their commitment to the new season.We will go forward committing ourselves to a season that demonstrates that we can all do well by doing good.
On the County Commissioners/ Land Use front, Jim has met with Commissioner Steve Stuart, and had a good conversation. Stuart has asked Jim to submit alternative criteria for defining ag land. A number of you have written that you are contacting your commissioners, and Glenn Grossman of Slow Food Southwest Washington has spread the word far andwide.
This all started with a heartfelt impulse, its beginning to look like a campaign that needs a strategy. If you have thoughts, ideas, warnings,concerns, please share your thoughts with us. It's time for Jim and Diane to start putting our nose to the production wheel, so we may need to do some baton passing. As yet, no word as to when these issues willcome before a public hearing.


The following was published in the Battle Ground Reflector on March 6, it represents our current, more refined perspective on the agricultural land use situation in Clark County. It acknowledges that the Commissioners do in fact face a dilemma, and we need to act now to give them better options. We have been informed that e-mails directly to the Commissioners mail boxes will get their more immediate attention, try these:

Dear Editor,

If a county’s best soils were zoned for agriculture and no one came to farm them, should it chop the parcels up and build townhouses? Unless folks who care about locally grown food come up with a solution, the Clark County Board of Commissioners is about to throw up their hands andsay “Why not?” regarding 1300 to 1900 acres next to the current urban growth boundary.
But there are solutions. Here’s the situation. “Old time farm family” has 160 acres zoned for 20 acre agriculture parcels, and Ma and Pa want to retire. In the red hot residential housing market, that land represents eight $100,000 home lots. Three young farmers are looking for 40-60 acres each, to farm using cutting edge sustainable agricultural practices. Farmers A and B want to raise livestock on rotational pasture, A for dairy and B for eggs, poultry and lamb. Farmer C grows vegetables for a community supported agriculture program.
In order to fairly compensate Ma and Pa, each farmer will have to pay for two or three home sites just to farm them. But if county government could tap into local, state, federal and private land conservation funds, it could compensate Ma and Pa for their “development rights,” and the young farmers can pay the farm land value. Everyone wins, including the county, which retains the economic, cultural and environmental values that farm land provides, as well as maintaining a strong, productive tax base.

But if we opt for such solutions as conservation easements, development right exchanges or clustering development, we have to do it before we rezone, or the number of home sites and costs of preservation go through the roof. Once we preserve the land, we need to develop a sustainable local food system infrastructure, including farmers markets and small processing facilities; and retain and target our extension and research services toward sustainability.
Is it too late? For some it is. Farmer A sold his herd, Farmer B moved to Skamokawa, but Farmer C is still looking to join the list of 110 farms in the county marketing to local consumers. A list our extension agents have compiled in their “farm finder”at Contact your commissioners. Tell them to hold off on the 1300-1900 acres and to define agricultural lands such that we can grow our list of sustainable farms into a bread basket and salad bowl for Greater Vancouver-Portland, rather than just a bedroom.

Jim Hunter
Hunters’ Greens Farm
11116 N.E. 156th St.
Brush Prairie, WA 98606


I'm just like millions of other folks who have moments of inspiration, have something I think is important enough to tell the world, have the far-fetched notion that people might actually sift through the sea of digital detritus that is largely composed of an infinite number of abandoned or nearly-abandoned blogs to find some meaning or value in this one...but I'm just ignorant enough to go ahead and drop my stone in the soup regardless of the fact that the soup will likely taste no different whatsoever despite my contribution.

Why am I doing this? Isn't working 50 hours/week, finding time to spend with my 7 month old daughter, and just dealing with the day-to-day frustrations of life on earth enough?

I mean, one would suppose I would simply be satisfied with the progress being made towards preserving and supporting local agriculture and artisan food production across the river in Oregon. The citizens of the greater Portland Metroplex are blessed with over a dozen farmers markets. There is a farmers market open every day of the week during the growing season of April-October. The Hillsdale farmers market is even open year round. There are several dozen CSA programs serving the area. The number of restaurants sourcing more and more of their ingredients locally is growing every week. They have an amazing resource in the Ecotrust Food & Farm program. The Portland, OR chapter of the Chefs' Collaborative is one of the most dynamic in the country. Slow Food Portland is one of the largest conviviums in the country and their events are on par with the celebrity lecture series hosted by first class universities. Talented chefs from across the globe are migrating to Portland to take advantage of the bountiful local harvest and the opportunities being offered by an exponentially growing number of creative and wonderful dining establishments. Artisan bakeries, artisan pizza, local charcuterie, several wonderful, thriving cheesemongers, urban farms, edible landscaping companies, dozens of "natural" markets, ...Hell, there's even a couple of wonderfully talented ladies who have started a successful business called Preserve. They offer a series of serious, hands-on classes to folks interested in resuscitating the disappearing art of canning and preserving. I could easily keep going with examples of phenomenal support for local agriculture, artisan food production, and the myriad of ways one can readily appreciate Oregon's field and farm cornucopia.

All of this is just across the river from where I live. And although our neighbors to the south are literally a few miles away, and yet they are a universe apart from Clark County with regards to the general concepts of realizing the importance of and finding value in local agriculture. The latest "land use" policy draft issued by our county commissioners would have us believe that although agriculture as a concept is important there is no future in local agriculture, there is no importance in preserving local agriculture, and that they have no real plan to do anything to preserve or protect our farmland...although they have very detailed plans on how to utilize every square inch of land they can zone for development. I don't get it. It keeps me up at night. It makes me do this. At least I'm not alone. There is a small group of local farmers being rallied by a local CSA farming couple, Jim & Diane Hunter of Hunters Greens CSA. Jim & Diane have some very interesting and thought-provoking ideas about things like land use policies and local agriculture and life in general. I'll be "republishing" their 'Notes From the Margin' newsletters here as often as they send them to me. In fact, my next post will be a reprint of the infamous issue that will be recognized for having started the forthcoming Great Clark County Farm Revolution.

So why should you care? Why do I care?

I guess maybe you shouldn't. Especially if you live in a place like Portland, OR or Berkeley, CA, or Seattle, WA or Vancouver, British Columbia. Places that "get it". Places where the small farmer is a respected and valuable member of the community. Places where local government and the citizens of the community work to not only preserve local agriculture, but actually improve and expand local farming efforts. Places where the land occupied by community gardens can be measured in acres. Places where the number of school gardens is increasing every year.

But maybe you are like so many Americans, like me, who live in areas that were once centers of agricultural production, blessed with the appropriate climate for growing a dizzying diversity of crops and livestock, and possessing an incredibly productive soil structure. Now we watch or ignore as the small farms and fertile but fallow pastures are paved over to make room for whatever things are "more important" than our priceless farmland, the future of our national food security, and the health of our communities and our families...maybe you should care too.