Friday, July 31, 2009

Tom Wagner Tomato and Potato Workshops - Europe - 9-10.2009

If you are fortunate enough to reside in Europe or happen to be visiting Europe this fall, you will have the unique opportunity to participate in an amazing workshop presented by Kokopelli Seed Foundation and featuring Mr. Tom Wagner. Tom is one of the most brilliant, articulate, and thought-provoking gentlemen I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. I could write a few paragraphs just about Tom and his work, but let it suffice to say that you DO NOT want to miss attending one of his workshops if at all possible. Here's the word straight from the horse's mouth:

Tomato and Potato workshops 2009

Tom Wagner will be holding a series of unique global workshops starting in Europe during September and October 2009.

The venues for the events will take place in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and England. No ONE workshop held will be identical to another.. By using the internet and couriers all attendees will be not only able to make work and talk about it, but will be able to modify each other’s work electronically but also on physical pieces of potatoes and tomatoes, especially seeds.

This year, the format for the workshops will change to enable the development of ideas over a longer period. To this end, in September and October this year, there will be mostly weekend events in each location comprising lectures/presentations and informal workshops during which projects will be set to be developed over the following days, months, and even years.

The workshops are open to all but there will be very limited numbers in each location. Anyone who is familiar with past workshops will be aware that we usually try to keep the numbers of participants low so we can enter into meaningful dialogues with everyone on an individual basis. If you want to find out more about the workshops we've held before please visit Tom Wagner’s blog site, Tater-Mater.

As these events will be more complicated than the previous ones there will likely
be many questions so I will set up a FAQ page on my website over the coming weeks.

If you are seriously interested in taking part, please email your intention in English, French, German, or Danish, and do try to leave questions that you wish Tom would address.

Some of the topics that will be covered will be:

The history of Tater Mater Seeds

The development of some of Tom’s classic tomatoes such as the Green Zebra, along with dozens of other varieties that are available in the open market.

How Tom is rapidly accumulating a large germplasm of potato clones and TPS (True Potato Seed)

Hands on demonstrations of how to cross tomato and potatoes, many times with actual plants and with video and power point presentations.

Tom will talk about how he has taken just a few varieties of potatoes and tomatoes and created a vast diversity of seeds for the future. By using heritage potatoes and tomatoes, and adding some newer releases to cross with, Tom is working with these to create tomorrow’s heirlooms.

Tom will discuss making F-1 hybrids that anyone can make over and over again. He will talk about making backcrosses and taking each year’s seed increase to the filial level of F-5 on tomatoes which indicates a rather stable line. Tom will illustrate how his potato lines have better berry production which aids hybridization efforts.

Tom will talk about the nutriceuticals of tomatoes and potatoes; the essential nutrients that these crop could contain with a bit of breeding expertise. Enhanced antioxidants, anthocyanins, carotenoids, lycopene, are but a few. Fast cooking times in his new potatoes clones that cook in 5 minutes in boiling water will be featured in his topics.

Through a variety of breeder/grower initiatives beginning with the workshops, there will likely be many cooperatives dealing with plant breeding and variety development starting with seeds of Tater Mater.

These workshops will be part of an effort to keep seeds free and available to the public and not be allowed to be controlled by major seed companies, universities, or governments.

A concerted endeavor will be launched to work with local heritage varieties to incorporate them in variety improvement and to avoid GMO’s at all levels.

Potatoes can be grown from true seed and avoid the virus contamination of tuber trades. TPS is but one way to foster diversity and reach local needs for flavor, storability, yields, disease resistance, all with organic growing methods

The workshops will features many ways to look at seed extraction, seed saving, clonal selection.

Single seed descent and bulk population breeding and variety maintenance will be discussed.

The workshops will try to feature local gardens and local growers. The goal is to find ways for this to help Tom in his work and how he can help local growers in return.

Video and audio recording will likely be part of many of these workshops. Some of those may be shown at succeeding workshops to show the growth of the information exchanges. A few clips of how to cross potatoes and tomatoes may be linked to the Tater Mater blog. Many still photos will be shown of his tomato and potato varieties.

Each of these workshops will invite anyone to submit questions to answer during the workshops and/or later in an interactive format. With sufficient interpreters present, these answers will be delivered in the original language.

Workshop fees will go towards Tom’s travel in Europe and to free up important new seeds to be introduced. As Tom devotes more and more of his time to being a seed ambassador of sorts, these fees will help continue his workshops towards the future.

The goal of Tater Mater Seeds is to get young people involved in plant breeding, therefore, if Tom can be a mentor and teacher for many potential plant breeders, justice is done.

During Tom’s 56 years of breeding plants, he has not only proven that anyone can be a home garden plant breeder but will show many how they, too, can be plant breeders. His unique collection of proprietary seeds of tomato and potatoes will be a great resource for plant breeding groups in each nation.

Tom started out breeding plants on his family farm near Lancaster, Kansas. He kept a family heirloom bean alive and growing each year in his gardens from a few beans his great grandmother brought to the USA in 1888. He kept growing new selections out of his breeding work even while he obtained degrees in Anthropology, Botany, Geography, and Education. His career includes farming, managing garden centers, managing greenhouses, potato buyer, potato and tomato breeder under contract, teaching, seed catalog, and a wide host of other professions. He has offered many of his creations in Farmers’ Markets and has introduced his varieties to other organic growers.

Tom stays busy with his TaterMaterSeeds forum and is a moderator on the for CrossTalk and Potato sub forums.

Tom currently lives in Everett, WA. His plots are all organic and shuns any chemicals applied to the soil.

Tom Wagner
8407 18th Ave. West


Everett, Washington
425 512-0313
Cell 425 894 1123

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Washington State Office of Farmland Preservation Newsletter - 7.2009

The July edition of the Farmland Preservation Newsletter is now posted on the Office of Farmland Preservation web page:

This month’s edition updates the Kittitas exempt well issue and also updates the Clark County urban livestock proposal for livestock owners outside city limits. Also of interest is information on a small producer chicken processor and developments for two counties considering a Right to Farm ordinance.

Another item of interest is a weekly feature titled Washington Agricultural News and Views.
This is a weekly listing of links to news stories from around Washington reflecting agriculture and land use news items. Be sure to view the archives for recent stories that may be of interest to you or your organization.

As always, if you have ideas you would like to see in an upcoming newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best Wishes,

Josh Giuntoli
Office of Farmland Preservation
WA Conservation Commission

Draft Concept Plans for 78th Street Now Online

This just in:

What do you do with 79 acres of property that could honor the county’s rich agricultural past and provide a regional hub for farming, agricultural research, community education, historic interpretation and recreation?

The public is invited to review and provide feedback on three draft 78th Street/WSU property concept plans. Comments will be collected until August 21. The draft concept plans may be viewed and comments submitted online at the County's 78th Street web page.

Beginning August 7 and continuing through August 21, display materials and comment forms will be available in the first floor lobby at the Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver. Information will also be available on the 6th floor of the Public Service Center, General Services/Purchasing, suite 650, until August 21, and at the Clark County Fair from August 7 through August 16.

The three draft concept plans were developed through an extensive public outreach process. Some ideas include establishing a demonstration farm, outdoor classrooms, community gardens, and interpretive walking trail.

Let me just throw my hat in the ring by saying if I had to pick one right now, it would be Plan I. I'm sure that through the County's extensive public outreach process they'll soon address many of the questions I see left unanswered by their very pretty, yet rather vague information displays. Maybe I'll feel differently about it if they do. I'll have more to say about this soon...

Also worth noting, the display materials and public comment forms at the Public Services Building are only accessible during normal business hours. Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm. So much for seeing the information after work or on the weekend. I would think extensive public outreach would allow for more convenient access to the information, no?

4-Seasons 4-H Community Partners Blackberry Roundup - 8.22.2009

Blackberry Roundup
August 22nd, 2009
Saturday, 1-5pm
$5/person, $15/family

Live music, blackberry picking, making jam, sampling and learning how to make blackberry buckle dutch oven style
Location provided for attendees to wash and prepare their berries for freezing
Chairs suggested for viewing the bluegrass band Blue Rain, wading pools for the kids to keep cool in
As always, petting and seeing and holding animals is provided

Hosted by 4-Seasons 4-H Community Partners
Sponsored by Camas Camp -n- Ranch
27312 NE Hathaway Road
Camas WA 98607

Budding Workshop and Annual Picnic with Fruit Tasting - 8.1.2009

August 1st at the HOS Arboretum

9am – Budding Workshop
12:30pm – Annual Potluck Picnic & Fruit Tasting

Budding is the type of grafting done in the summer and is both a simple and highly successful way to multiplying all of your fruit trees. The difference lies in the piece: In summer grafting, you use a single leaf “bud.”

Come learn how to do this from the HOS experts. Our aim is simple: Teach others about the joys and benefits of growing your own fruit and let the results spread throughout our communities.

Budding starts at 9am. We will also demonstrate summer pruning @ 11am
Cost: Rootstocks are $4 for members and $5.00 for nonmembers
Budwood: Provided with the workshop or bring your own moistened fruit tree wood with tip and 2/3 of every leaf removed.

To learn more about this event, download the PDF event flyer and the budding information sheet

Fruit Tasting & Potluck Picnic:
Please plan to join us immediately following the budding workshop for our annual picnic. Bring a cold dish to share and your own table service. If you have any fruit that is ripe or near ripe, bring it to share with others. Our All About Fruit Show gives us a bountiful fall tasting, but many outstanding varieties of plums, berries, and blueberries are only available in the summer season. Large or small quantities are welcome.

Other Upcoming Events
August 29: Hood River Valley Tours

For more information, visit:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

HR 2749 Update!!

This just in from Food Renegade:

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 Author: KristenM

Well folks, it looks like Wendell Berry may get his chance to go to jail. Minutes ago the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives voted yes on HR 2749, the so-called “Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009.” They came just 6 votes shy of passing the bill.

Of course, HR 2749 is not friendly to small farmers. In fact, it will likely put them out of business. The bill has a number of faults, but the most alarming one is that it finally sneaked the NAIS program into a bill, despite the huge groundswell of dissent among our nation’s public.

And I do mean sneaked. The bill was voted on by suspending the rules, limiting discussion to less than an hour, and not allowing any amendments that could have clarified who these new rules should affect. In the course of the last 24 hours, the language of the bill had been changed three times, and most representatives didn’t have the chance to read the latest version before being required to vote.

The only reason this bill is NOT the current law of the land is that it did not win enough of a majority to pass. If it had been voted on under normal rules, with normal debate allowed, it would have easily been the new law of the land.

Why Should You Care About NAIS?

NAIS promises to require every single livestock animal in America to be identified and tagged — no matter the size of the operation. So, you’ve got a few backyard chickens? Some milking goats? A small free-range pig farm? Say hello to expensive tagging & government paperwork.

HR 2749 was sold to us as a means of protecting our food supply, a way to keep us safer. Congressmen felt rushed to pass it into law so that they could say they did something to respond to our never ending sea of food recalls and the radical increase in food borne illnesses. If I thought it would actually improve food safety, that’d be one thing. But the truth is that NAIS is simply a burdensome tracking system for AFTER the food borne illness spreads. NAIS makes sense for large-scale farms moving tens of thousands of heads of cattle, but for a small producer serving a local, limited market, the law makes no sense at all since that kind of direct farm to consumer channel is easily traceable.

To top it all off, large scale farming operations are actually exempted from tagging each individual animal! Instead, they can tag an entire herd with the same ID. This will save them millions of dollars while effectively putting all their smaller competitors out of business.

What Else Is Wrong With HR 2749?

A careful reading of the bill also reveals that HR 2749:

  1. Will create duplicate fees & requirements for certified organic producers.
  2. Will erode wildlife habitats in a misguided attempt to keep produce “clean” — when it is clear from the scientific evidence that it is industrialized animals that spread E.Coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella, not wild animals.
  3. Will greatly increase the costs associated with safely composting manure and using it as a fertilizer for natural and organic crops.
  4. Will interfere with and possibly prohibit small-scale farmers adding value to their products. This includes washing and cutting produce, creating canned jams or jellies, anything really.
  5. Will require a costly electronic filing system that may well put farmers using paper records out of business, including many of our Amish brothers and sisters who can not comply with the electronic filing standards without violating their religious principles.
  6. Will give the federal government the power to ban raw milk sales.

Basically, this bill — as written, without any amendments or clarifications — will ruin small family farm agriculture and eliminate consumer choice. It may be that the only farms able to survive this new legislation are industrialized farms. In the very least, it will consolidate industrial agriculture even further.

What Can YOU Do?

Right now HR 2749 is going back into committee to be modified and re-written in the hopes of bringing it back to the floor for a regular vote tomorrow, Thursday July 30th. Now is the time to call your representative and tell them to vote NO on this bill when it comes up again. If you’ like to find out how your congressperson originally voted — whether to express your support or disappointment — click here.

And, if you’re like me and less than optimistic about our ability to actually have a say in our legislative process, then tell your representative to AT LEAST demand provisions or amendments in the bill that will protect small scale farmers and producers.

Battle Ground Farmers Market Now Open On Fridays!

This just in from the hardest working CSA farmer/farmers' market owner west of the Mississippi, Brenda Miller-Stanton of Rosemattel's CSA Farm & the Battle Ground Farmers' Market.

Beginning this Friday July 31st, the Battle Ground Farmers Market Association (BGFMA) will be opening a second Battle Ground Farmers Market day and location for agriculture/value added/produce/plant vendors from Clark Cowlitz and Skamania Counties. This is an agriculture only market and will run through end of October every Friday. We have secured an awesome location for customers to see the market activities right away. With the sponsorship of the BGFMA, you will be able to offer your farm/value added products directly to the public! Whether you are a berry grower, a small gardener, or a CSA with extra produce, we welcome you as we support your efforts to feed the masses!

Space fee is 25.00 and membership fee is waived for this year if selling only at this location. Location is at the Gardener Center (Battle Ground Cinemas) at 503 and 199th st right before the main intersection to Battle Ground, Washington.

Too hot? We will have a misting system in place to cool you off during this pleasant evening market.

Please call us for details at (360)576-9767.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Food Fascism From the Feds...

HR2749 may reach the floor in Congress for a vote today or tomorrow. It will be very bad for our small farmers, artisan producers, farmers' markets, food co-ops, CSAs, and basically every citizen of our nation if this thing passes. Please contact your US House Representatives and Senators and voice your opposition to HR2749 ASAP!

Artisan Cheese from Pugs Leap Farm May Disappear if Food Safety Bill Passes
by Pascal Destandau of Pugs Leap Farm

Eric Smith and I own and operate a small diversified farm in Sonoma County, at Pugs Leap Farm we milk twenty seven goats by hand and make cheeses we sell at local farmers markets in Sonoma, Marin, Alameda and San Francisco. We have a few chickens and sell the eggs at the markets. In the next few years we hope to take to the markets the fruits and nuts from the orchards we planted. We also grow onions, garlics, chards, salad greens, tomatoes, corn, squash, strawberry and culinary herbs. We intend to add a few beehives next year.

HR2749 (The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009) which is currently making its way rapidly through the House of Representative will put us out of business.

HR2749 calls for:

a yearly registration with the FDA with a $500 fee

full HACCP plan for every type of produce sold or processed, for us that mean one plan for the dairy, one one for cheese making, one for transporting and retailing at the market, one for the fruits and vegetables, and another one for the nuts

FDA approved methods by which crops are raised and harvested. The most likely outcome will be along the lines of the leafy green ordinance, scorched earth and exclusion of any wildlife.

I have twenty two years experience in research and development and in technical operations, at a managerial level, in the pharmaceutical and personal care products industry. I therefore know very well the resources

needed to create and maintain a full HACCP plan. Creating one plan would take me about 100 hours and maintaining it would take 2 hours per day of production. Based on quotes I obtained in 2006 for laboratory testing, I estimate that I would need to budget $15,000/year just for the microbiological testing of the cheeses. The International Dairy Food Association (IDFA) has published some guidelines for HACCP which were used by the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) when it developed a voluntary dairy HACCP program in parallel with the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). To follow those guidelines I will have to start testing every batch of milk for drug residues, I will also have to tests for pesticide residues and mycotoxins. I am still in the process of researching what amount of testing will be needed for compliance and it is still unclear if I will be allowed to do my own testing or if I’ll need to send samples to a certified laboratory. This will be decided when the regulations are written.
Stopping feeding cattle a high grain diet would be much more efficient than an HACCP plan to eliminate E. Coli O157:H7 from our meat supply. The same for silage and Listeria. The practice of feeding antibiotics for faster weight gain has been linked to the presence of antibiotic resistant strains of salmonella in chicken, turkey, beef and pork. Recently MRSA has been found in pork meat.

The enforcement of HACCP plan for all food producers will do nothing to address those problems. Furthermore HACCP plans are very industry friendly and rely on self regulation and self regulation does not work. For example in 2006 from January to June, Cadbury knowingly shipped products tainted with salmonella; Cadbury’s defense is that the levels in the chocolate were too low to cause illness.

On July seven the White House appointed Michael R. Taylor Advisor to FDA Commissioner. The press release mention that it is his third appointment at the FDA and that Taylor will work to:

Assess current food program challenges and opportunities

Identify capacity needs and regulatory priorities

Develop plans for allocating fiscal year 2010 resources

Develop the FDA’s budget request for fiscal year 2011

Plan implementation of new food safety legislation.
The press release failed to mention Mr. Taylor connections with Monsanto.

Mr. Taylor began at the FDA in 1976 as a litigating attorney, he left to join King & Spalding where Monsanto was his personal client regarding food labeling and regulatory issues.. He returned to the FDA as Deputy Commissioner for Policy from 1991 to 1994, overseeing FDA’s policy development and rulemaking, including the implementation of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act and issuance of new seafood safety rules. This was a new position created for him and he instantly became the FDA official with the greatest influence on GM food regulation, overseeing the development of government policy. He was part of the team that issued the very industry-friendly policy on food biotechnology and that approved the use of Monsanto’s genetically engineered growth hormone in dairy cows. He introduced the the concept of substantial equivalence as an appropriate method for determining safety. This is the basis for the lack of safety testing and the non labeling of GMO containing food. The same concept was used to prevent dairy products to be labeled as rBGH free.

Mr. Taylor left the FDA in 1994 for the USDA. In 1996 he went back to King & Spalding and in 1998 he was appointed vice president of Public Policy by Monsanto.

I am very concerned that Mr. Taylor will use his position to issue very tech heavy, industry friendly regulations that will place an unbearable burden on small producers and family farms.
Food safety is compromised by industrial farming practices not by sustainable farming. The cost of cheap food has been food safety. My personal check list for food safety is: no GMO, no trans fat, no high fructose corn syrup, no food colorants, no artificial flavors, no rBGH, no meat, eggs or dairy from CAFO’s. The short version is do not eat anything with a bar code.

Size based regulations are possible. In the new FDA egg safety regulations producers with less than 3,000 laying hen are exempt, producers with more than 3,000 but less than 50,000 have 36 months to comply, producers with more than 50,000 have 12 months to comply.

Another Assault On Local Agriculture In Oregon

Here's another story from the Pacific NW about disruption and dismantling of our food system security and our local agricultural community. Events like this are merely foreshadowing what's coming down the pipe, folks. Despite government food/agriculture policy making being initiated under the pretense of "food safety", this sort of action is nothing more than facism and another link in the chain of food supply dominance by multinational agribusiness concerns. It's doubly concerning to hear about this sort of thing happening in Oregon. I consider Oregon a global forerunner in the areas of sustainable agriculture, pro-fiid system security, and support of local agriculture. In any case, you should really read the article below, written by Anthony and Carol Boutard. The Boutard's are, without a doubt, a couple of the most innovative, intelligent, and thought provoking folks farming in America today. You can find Ayers Creek Farm produce at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market in Portland.

The following is an excerpt. You can read the entire article at Upsetting the Apple Cart.

Farewell to Frikeh

By Anthony Boutard, Ayers Creek Farm

Several years ago, Carol and I started experimenting with integrating various grains into our market farm. Our research led us to an ancient food called "frikeh." Produced by farmers since Biblical times, frikeh is wheat harvested while still green, then burned and threshed. The resulting grain is jade green with a grassy, sweet and smokey flavor. The green wheat is also more nutritious than mature wheat. Over the last five years, we have offered our farmers' market customers frikeh for a short time in early summer. With its smokey quality, frikeh offers a distinct and exciting variation on normal starchy grains. It is especially popular with vegetarians. Frikeh is prepared in Australia and throughout the Middle East, and is occasionally imported to the US. Until we began our experiments, there was no commercial production of frikeh in the US. There is a three day window where the grain, durum wheat, can be burned. It is a rustic process, done out in the field on sheets of corrugated metal. The grain must also be dried outside on screens. For more detail discussion of the grain, go here.

Because of the new and aggressive direction taken by the Oregon Department of Agriculture Food Safety Division, we will not be able to sell frikeh at the Hillsdale Farmers Market this summer. Yes, we can make frikeh again. But here's the problem. It is not factory food. There is no industrial facility to license. So we are prohibited from selling it at the market. Is there a food safety issue with frikeh? Absolutely not. ODA has simply developed a cramped, narrow vision of its regulatory authority. Unfortunately, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the ODA is going to stifle innovations at the farmers' market level...

***Camas Farmer's Market Closed 7.29.2009 Due To Heat***

For the safety of our friends, farmers and volunteers, the Camas Farmer's Market will be closed Wednesday, July 29th. The National Weather Service is forecasting
temperatures into the 100s and recommends that people avoid the sun and stay cool.

Looking forward to next week, August 5th, we our celebrating National Farmer's Market week with our first annual Veggie Derby!! It is okay to play with your food!

* Kids and adults will have a chance to build a derby car out of vegetables during the market
* You can bring a pre-built car from home (must be made from veggies, including wheels)
* Skewers are allowed
* Registration at 3pm
* Judging at 4pm
* Races begin after the judging

Compete in various categories:

* Fastest
* Most Variety of Veggies Used
* Most Creative
* Furthest Traveled

Prizes will be awared. This event is sure to be alot of fun. Come down and join in!

Also on the 5th: Bill Baines, with Edge Master Mobile Sharpening, sharpens not only kitchen knives, but all types of blades. Bring your knives, gardening tools, food processor blades, kitchen shears, and lawn mower blades (remove them from the mower!) to be sharpened onsite at very reasonable prices.

And, last but not least, we are excited to announce the 2nd Annual Farm to Table Gala is going to be on September 26th at Farside Farms - the same fabulous location of last year's Gala. Tickets will be on sale soon at the Camas Farmer's Market Information Booth and on the website. We are looking for volunteers to help us with this fun filled evening. Please email us to become a part of this spectacular evening of farm fresh food, live music, and wonderful community!

Please invite your friends to join the Market's mailing list. E-mails will be sent out by Tuesdays giving you notification of featured local musicians, the chef's connection, kid's activities and a quick run down of the products you will find for each market day.
The Camas Farmer's Market is an all volunteer, non-profit organization. Please help grow your market, to bring fresh local foods to our community, by volunteering. Whether you can spare just an hour or many more we would love to have you join our team. Sign up for our email list

and be sure to check the Market Volunteer box on the registration page.


The Camas Farmer's Market Board

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Monday!

Nothing earth-shattering to report today, but I did want to note a few interesting items from this past weekend.

I saw some absolutely gorgeous squashes prominently displayed for sale at New Seasons in Portland's Concordia neighborhood this past weekend.

Yep. The squash came from none other than Clark County superstar farmer April Jones and her awesome crew at Gus & Co. Sweet!

My family and I were also fortunate to have been on the guest list for a very nice farm dinner and tour at Nelson & Anne Lawrence's place, Storytree Farm, on Sunday. The meal was punctuated by guided walks around the various areas of Storytree Farm which is one of the coolest farms I've ever been to. Nelson and Anne run a CSA through Storytree and their shares sell out quickly every year. One trip to their farm and you'll understand why!
The dinner was a very nice multi-course affair presented by Chef Anna Petruolo and her partner Lisa Gibbons of A Dinner Together private chef and catering service.

That's all for now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Delicious Summertime Meals @ Mint Tea Bistro

If you haven't dined at the delectable Mint Bistro, located on Main St. in the very chic Vancouver Uptown district, then it about time you stopped in and enjoyed some fresh and tasty food. Mint is shifting into high gear with their summer menu and they're offering a variety of dishes that are chock full of locally grown produce and are sure to please your palate. Here's the word from Jenna & Abdul:

Heat Bulletin!! Due to the wonderfully warm, some say hot, weather
we're having, all of our daily prepared soups are chilled. Like our
organic Minty Sweet Pea, the infamous Bob Marley's Creamy Asparagus,
or Hugo's Vanilla Mango, they'll keep you cool and utterly satisfied.

We've also come full swing into the wonders of summer with amazing
Snow Peas, Squash (too many summer varieties to name here),
tri-colored String Beans, Lettuce, Onions, Herbs, and Berries
galore!! The gardens and farms we're receiving our produce from are
all local and organic, being picked in the morning and served
screaming fresh to you at lunch and dinner.

And speaking of dinner, a quick peak at what Chef Ashley is prepping
for this Friday & Saturday's dinner service highlights Squash
Flowers, Coconut poached Wild Alaskan Salmon, a special Millet Cous
Cous, Moroccan Lamb w/ Summer Vegetables, and a Sweet Sticky Rice
with Honeydew Gooseberry Mint Salsa. Artist that Ashley is we often
don't know the full dinner menu until Friday afternoon, but not to
worry, because week after week he hits the mark whether it's the
Vegan, Poultry, Meat or fresh Fish dish.

Mint Tea
2014 Main Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
Tel. 360-699-4991
Business Hours:
Monday - Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The World According to Monsanto or Ever Wondered What Hell Might Be Like?

The folks over at Twilight Earth have are posting the documentary "The World According to Monsanto" in ten parts over at their blog. It's about the scariest dang movie I've ever seen. Deserves to be in the Horror section of the video store. Check it out.

Click For Community Gardens

Here's a chance for you to strengthen our local food system and help an organization that does so much for our community. It'll only take about 5 seconds...and you don't even have to leave your desk. Just follow the link below and click on the "Help Us Win" button for the YWCA Community Garden project. Umpqua Bank will be giving the community project with the most votes $15,000 for their project! That's a lot of manure and carrot seeds! You can vote once every week and there are still about 7 weeks left in this contest.

And here's the official word on the YWCA Community Garden project:

The YWCA Clark County Community Garden will be a place where our community can come together to create a space of peace, tranquility, harvest, and rebirth. Your votes will make it possible for a formerly unused ¼ acre parcel of land to be reinvented into a food-bearing, life-giving green space. Our program participants, employees, and the community will all come together to help plan, prep, plant, cultivate, grow, harvest and enjoy the rewards of our efforts. The garden’s harvest will go to our domestic violence shelter (the only such facility in Clark County), the retirees in the home next door, families in transitional housing, and employees. Those who are faced with the tightest of budgets will learn the value growing, canning, and storing your own food can provide. Because of the diversity of our programs, our garden will encourage teamwork and mentorship between multi-generational and multi-cultural peoples. From the 2.5 year old in our preschool program to the teen in our foster care transition program to the domestic violence survivor to our neighbors and friends, our garden will be a place of serenity, therapy, and reward. Working together, the YWCA will continue to be the catalyst for positive change in our community, fostering the spirit of cooperation, collaboration, and celebration.

Now Click for Community Gardens!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Public Involvement...We Got Bureaucrats To Tell Us What To Do.

Here's a link to the latest 78th Street Project Sounding Board meeting.

I wasn't at the meeting, so I can only give a somewhat informed opinion based on the notes as they are written and my conversation with several folks who were in attendance. So here it goes:

It seems that there is as much disagreement as ever about the development plans for the site. Not surprising. As usual, the folks heading up the project are too interested in pleasing everyone and not staying true to the idea that agriculture should be the main focus of the site. The results of the public opinion exercises from the first public workshop made that very clear.

This news from Mark McCauley is an excellent example of what I've been referring to as the public UN-involvement process:

"Mark McCauley explained the project schedule has been truncated due to County’s budget deficit. He said the County is working to reduce the number of public meetings since there has been an extensive public process and there appears to be some level of support for the direction of the project. Mark said there will be a public comment period instead of an open house to generate feedback on the draft concept plan."

Extensive public process??? One public workshop that was poorly facilitated, collected data was omitted and altered, and the results have apparently done little to influence the project management team's concept plan process. Nice job, Mark. Why not just end this nonsense all together and just build it however you, the BOCC, and the folks at JLA have wanted too all along? Stop trying to make the public feel like they've been involved in the development process on your project and that you're going to actually utilize and comments received during your next "public comment" period to help make any decisions about how you move forward with your theme park. Will you be letting the "public" know about the "public comment" period the same way you let us know about most things? A last minute e-mail, a notice in small print in the local fish wrapper, maybe a sentence or two buried in the Clark County web site somewhere?

Truncated schedule??? So we should rush into this with nothing but the severely flawed public involvement process conducted by McCauley & JLA and a half-baked concept plan that doesn't appear to reflect the values held in highest regard by the public via the County's own opinion collecting process and what sort of results should we expect from that? If we're lacking funds, should we be cautious and take our time to make sure we're moving forward correctly the first time, rather than dumping good money after bad.

Sunrise O'Mahoney is the temp employee that the County has hired to help facilitate activities at the site. She states at the meeting:

***"...that education classes are underway through different organizations." (at 78th Street)"***

***Sunrise recently informed me that she was misquoted in the meeting notes and this is NOT what she said. There are currently NO educational classes underway at the 78th Street facility.This renders the following paragraph mostly unnecessary...except for the general subject of poor communication and a lack of utilizing free and powerful web-based tools to facilitate a more accessible and feature rich avenue of communication via the community and the County.***

How does the public find out about classes at the facility? Are the classes open to the public? If the site is a community focused project, shouldn't there be a publicly accessible web site or something where the community can find out about educational opportunities and events at the site? Facebook and Blogger are some examples of free services and powerful communication tools, so lack of budget can't be an excuse...This is not a criticism of Ms. O'Mahoney's efforts. In my opinion, she's not being given tools to use to help her with her job. It just floors me that in this day and age of free and powerful communication tools via the internet that the County is so out of touch with methods of communication. Again I beg the question, if the County budget is so tapped out, what are we paying a public involvement firm (JLA) for if they aren't utilizing freely available methods of extremely efficient means of communication and dissemination of information to enhance the public involvement process?

I find it interesting that so much emphasis is being put on buildings, a farmer's market (which I still think is beyond ridiculous), and recreational activities. So little to talk about with regards to agriculture. Is it because McCauley, et al. have no clue what to do with the ag component or is it merely the lowest of priorities for them. I'm betting on the latter. I thought agriculture was supposed to be the central component of this project. If they don't know what they're going to do with regards to agriculture on the property, how can they even consider building trails, carriage paths (where the heck were carriages on any of the lists of ideas for what would be done at 78th Street?), parking lots, expanding recreational park land, etc... Putting the cart before the horse if you ask me.

What I'm especially curious about is the "working/living farm" concept. Again, are we building a Sturbridge Village type attraction here or is this going to be some sort of sustainable, intensive agricultural thing where people can see a working example of the potential and possibilities afforded by alternative methods of farming? I guess we'll have to wait and see what the deciders have in mind for us simple folk.

I am all for pushing forward with the Food Bank aspect of the project ASAP. That's gotta happen soon. But again, tying the Food bank into the agricultural component of the site is critical. We've got acres of prime farmland at the doorstep. Why not provide fresh food and nutritional education onsite for the folks who need assistance? I sincerely hope we move in that direction.

That's all for now...what do you think?

Locavore Delivery & Dee Creek Farm Cheese - 7.16.2009

Here's the lowdown on this week's Locavore Delivery Service from Dee Creek Farm. Check out the expanded distribution area for Dee Creek's Cheeses. Now Dee Creek Cheese is easier to get than ever, so no more excuses for not having some in your fridge or on your plate.

Dee Creek Farm Cheeses, from start to finish
Our cheese can also be found at our Thursday deliveries, or:
Wednesday afternoon/eve at the Camas Farmers Market & the Portland Farmers Market
Thursday 3pm-7pm at the Portland Farmers Market
Friday at Wahkiakum's Two Islands Farm Market

Friday, 3pm-7pm at the Woodland Farmers Market

Saturday, 9am-3pm at the Vancouver Farmers Market
Aged Feta, $5.00/container - Creamy and salt, unpasteurized - last of the raw until August! Will have pasteurized.
Plain - block or crumble
Fresh Chevre, $5.00/container - Creamy - great on crepes, bagels, crackers, veggies... pasteurized
Garlic Chive - made with fresh ingredients
Dill Herb - herbs from Garden Delight
Black Pepper
Raspberry & Honey
Original (Plain)
Chelby Cheese, $5-$8 - Mild, pasteurized - regular or smoky
CheVin, $$6-$9 - two semi-hard offerings, unpasteurized and aged 60+ days, soaked in wines made from Rusty Grape Vineyard, a local winery in Battle Ground. Check them out at:
$2.00oz, 6-8oz wedges
Pinot Noir (beautiful mottled purple color)
Orange Muscat

$5/dozen, ($4.50 per dozen for egg CSA'ers)
$2.50/half-dozen (limited)
No pre-orders this week. First come, first served on extras. Our chickens are fed only natural feeds and lots of pasture - you can find lots of info on our poultry-raising on our website. Be sure to recycle egg cartons that you pick up at our deliveries with us!

Fresh Farmers Fare
Organic Cherries, Rainier, $2.50/lb - will have some available at deliveries!
Certified organic, from a farmer in eastern Washington

Organic Garlic, $3.50/lb
Organic Cabbage, $1.25/lb.
Org. Bunching Onions, $2.00/bunch
Org. Collard Greens, $2.00/bunch
Kohlrabi, $1.00/each
Raspberries, $28/half-flat (I believe 6 half-pints)
All of this comes from certified organic NW Organic Farm in Ridgefield!

Pickled Snap Peas, $5/pint - using organic pickles, vinegars and spices, these are crunchy and delicious, and made in DCF's kitchen.

Raw Honey,
Raw honey in glass jars form Honey House Farm in Brush Prairie - super local! Be sure to stock up, as I've only made it over once a month the last few.

Wild & Naturally Preserved Eats, - not confirmed available this wk yet, but taking potential orders -
Mushrooms, Fresh (1/4# bags) -
Maitake $4.00
Shiitake $3.00
Mushrooms, Frozen - Porcini (1/4#), $?
Mushrooms, Dried
Chanterelle, Lobster or Shiitake, $2.00
Maitake or Porcini, $3.00
Matsutake or Morels, $4.00
Pure Mushroom Seasoning Powders, $5.00 - 4.4oz glass jar
Porcini, Chanterelle, Matsutake, Shiitake, or Maitake
Pure Ground Elderberries $10/half-pint jar (ready to use for teas, tinctures, etc)

Dried Herbs, $4/packet
From Garden DElights in Brush Prairie, these herbs were hand prepared from chemical-free herbs. There are several mixes available - Ask if you want to have a look/smell/feel at deliveries!

Canned "Preserves", low sugar
We will have Strawberry, Raspberry, or White Grape jellies for $5 each (from Garden Delights in Brush Prairie). A multi generational farm, this Mom and daughter team work hard on creating healthful, local, and delicious foods. Generally known for their herb packets & natural doggy treats, they are also a produce CSA farm and have value-added products!
Wild Huckleberry Jam, 7oz., $5.00
Wild Huckleberry Syrup, 8oz., $6.00
These two huckleberry delights are wild-gathered by Nature's Choice, and are made with white grape concentrate. Both are almost sugar free!


Remember that in an effort to be more efficient, and less wasteful, we do not write individual receipts, but instead keep a book. If you specifically want a receipt, please let us know when you place your order, if possible.

Anyone and everyone can order from our deliveries, not just "subscribers"! To any newcomers on the e-list, welcome! Also rest assured that all farms contributing to our deliveries all meet several standards: chemical-free, sustainable, natural, family farming... If you have questions about any of them, don't hesitate to ask, or check them out yourself!

To order, click here and specify what you would like.
All checks go to "Dee Creek Farm", or bring cash.
We fill pre-orders first, then it’s first come, first served!
We do mostly pre-orders at deliveries, rather than Farmers Market style.
Please help us in this by pre-ordering what you can!

Summer & Spark
Farm Phone: 360-225-9711
Cell Phone: 360-903-6956 (no service at the Farm)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Chance over at Hrafinstaad Homestead has designed a very handy implement for you folks who are inclined to butcher your own poultry at home. He's come up with a design for an easily constructed killing cone and wants to share the design with you. You can get all of the details by clicking the link below:

Killing Cone or Holding Funnel

And if you're not feeling very handy or you'd like to support Chance's metal working project, you can purchase an official Hrafinstaad killing cone directly for $25 + shipping or local pickup can be arranged. E-mail Chance or Rois to order your killing cone and get busy butchering!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cherry Alert!!

This just in from Summer @ Dee Creek Farm:

Our farmer friend from eastern Washington is bringing more cherries this week at a screaming price. I'm taking orders now, just to give folks a heads up that might want to buy in quantity to preserve. Only taking pre-orders for 10# or more. I'll get extra so there will be smaller qty's to weigh out at deliveries, too, as available. The Rainier's are $2.50/lb - the Bings are $2.25/lb. -- both are certified organic. They were amazing last week, and I'm sure they are still superb in quality!

Contact Summer via e-mail or
Farm Phone: 360-225-9711
Cell Phone: 360-903-6956 (no service at the Farm)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Seed Ambassadors Present - A Guide to Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship & Seed Sovereignty, 3rd Edition

I love the folks at the Seed Ambassadors Project. They're doing some seriously important and amazing work, providing us with tons of free information on seed saving, and presenting us with an outstanding seed catalog of Pacific NW appropriate crops derived via independent plant breeders, seedsmen, and rare/ancient/near-forgotten varieties from international seed banks and passionate home gardeners. Sarah & Andrew, you guys ROCK!

Here's the preamble from the 3rd Edition of the Seed Ambassadors awesome Seed Saving Zine:

If SEED SAVING is collecting seeds for replanting in the future…

Then SEED STEWARDSHIP is the process of saving seeds with the purpose of maintaining or improving that seed’s health and resilience. It also includes the act of saving and selecting a variety over a period of many seasons, with the end goal of passing it on to others in the future.

The ideal of SEED SOVEREIGNTY firmly plants seed saving and seed stewardship in the realm of fundamental human rights. It is the freedom to save seed and determine the foundation on which our food system rests. With the current attacks of industry hitting at the heart of food sovereignty, the simple act of seed saving becomes a major act of resistance and social empowerment.

Sends chills down my spine and makes me want to get out and plant a few rows! Click the link below to view and/or download the full .pdf version of the Seed Saving Zine.

Seed Ambassadors Seed Saving Zine - 3rd Edition

Harvest Days At The Battle Ground Farmer's Market

Clark County's very own Farmerette, Brenda Millar-Stanton of Rosemattel's CSA Farm and the mastermind behind the Battle Ground Farmer's Market, is planning not one, but TWO days of fun filled and delicious activities to celebrate Harvest Days in Battle Ground next weekend. Get on by the Battle Ground Farmer's Market at Battle Ground Village, have some fun, support local farmers, and serve your family some of the freshest food found anywhere on the planet.

Friday, July 17th, 3-7pm

Harvest Days/Friends Library Sale
Market Raffle Begins, Tickets 1.00 Each
Chef Demo 11-2
Market Scavenger Hunt Begins
Entries for Best Decorated Farmers Market Shopping Bag Begins

Saturday, July 18th

Harvest Days/Friends Library Book Sale
Blue Lotus Pottery Demonstrations All Day
Tony Madrigal Memories in Motion Entertains!
Children's art activities
Decorated Market Shopping Bag Contest Ends at 2pm
Face Painting
Scavenger Hunt Ends at 3pm

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Harvest Dinners At Lapellah With Gus & Co.

Looks like Brad Root & Co. (Lapellah) are teaming up with April Jones of Gus & Co. (one of Clark County's finest farmers) for some very special dinners over the next few months. Thanks for the heads up on these diners, Hillary!

Here's the deal from Lapellah:

Harvest Dinners This Summer

We are working with Gus & Co., a local farmer, to plan a series of 3 harvest dinners over the summer.

  • Wednesday, July 22 @ 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 19 @ 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 16 @ 6 p.m.

More details to come so please check back soon. There will be a limited number of reservations available for each dinner and we expect them to book up quickly! We look forward to seeing you soon, Dave and Travis

Link to the Events page @ Lapellah's web site.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Nights @ The Vancouver Farmers' Market

Starting today, the Vancouver Farmers' Market will be open on Friday evenings from 5pm-9pm. WOO-HOO!!

Read more about the market at their web site:

Vancouver Farmers' Market

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gavin Newsom for US Food Czar!

Gavin Newsom is the mayor of San Francisco, CA and is one of a very few elected officials in this country who appears to be in touch with reality. I say Mr. Newsom goes to Washington. We desperately need some one like him whispering in Obama's ear. Check this out:

Newsom's fresh idea: mandates on healthier food
Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, July 9, 2009

He's already banned spending city money to buy bottled water and mandated composting citywide. Now, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is taking on something as basic as water and trash: food.

Newsom on Wednesday issued an executive directive he hopes will dramatically change how San Franciscans eat.

All city departments have six months to conduct an audit of unused land - including empty lots, rooftops, windowsills and median strips - that could be turned into community gardens or farms that could benefit residents, either by working at them or purchasing the fresh produce. Food vendors that contract with the city must offer healthy and sustainable food. All vending machines on city property must also offer healthy options, and farmers' markets must begin accepting food stamps, although some already do.

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

White Hart Forge Presents: A Class in Basic Farm Tool Repair and Manufacture

Imagine what it was like 100 years ago when a tool you needed broke and there was no hardware store nearby…. Not to mention if money was tight....You just couldn’t “Go pick up another one.”

What did you do?

You repaired or built your own tools using the basic skills of blacksmithing.

White Hart Forge is offering a class in these skills and techniques.

This is a class designed to teach the basic concepts of blacksmithing while learning the production, maintenance and repair of simple farm and gardening tools.

Students will learn by doing as this is a hands -on class in the art of blacksmithing.

Tools may include hand trowel, garden hoe, shovel or spade, pitch fork.

We also show you how to maintain tools, sharpen edges, and replace worn or broken handles.

In the process you will also learn how to set up a shop of your own; acquiring tools and equipment as well as steels - new and recycled.

Each class costs $75.00 and covers one tool.

Class size is limited so please call ahead and reserve your spot.
You can reach us at the shop at 503-353-6695, via e-mail or on the web

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Locavore Delivery - 7.09.2009

The last bit of the "June batch" of chickens will be processed on Friday, if all goes well. In which case I'll email folks that are still waiting for theirs to make arrangements - thanks for being patient! Keep in mind that each months batch will actually be the last week of the month.

We have cherries this week! They came directly from a farmer out in eastern Washington - they're big and juicy - I've a dehydrator full so far! ~S


Dee Creek Farm Cheeses, from start to finish
Our cheese can also be found on Wednesday at the Interstate Farmers Market. Wednesday & Thursday at the Portland Farmers Market, and Saturday at the Vancouver Farmers Market - and Nature's Choice is carrying our cheeses now at the Camas Farmers Market on Wednesdays, Greyfield Farm is supplying it through the Two Islands Farm Market in Wahkiakum County on Fridays!
Aged Feta, $5.00/container - Creamy and salt, unpasteurized
Plain - block or crumble
Fresh Chevre, $5.00/container - Creamy - great on crepes, bagels, crackers, veggies... pasteurized
Garlic Chive - made with fresh ingredients
Dill Herb - herbs from Garden Delight
Black Pepper
Blueberry & Honey
Original (Plain)
Chelby Cheese, $5-$8 - Mild, pasteurized - regular or smoky

$5/dozen, ($4.50 per dozen for egg CSA'ers)
$2.50/half-dozen (limited)
No pre-orders this week. First come, first served on extras. Our chickens are fed only natural feeds and lots of pasture - you can find lots of info on our poultry-raising on our website. Be sure to recycle egg cartons that you pick up at our deliveries with us!

Fresh Farmers Fare
Organic Cherries, Rainier, $3.50/lb (minimum 10#'s)
Organic Cherries, Bing, $3.00/lb (minimum 10#'s)
Certified organic, from a farmer in eastern Washington

Romaine Head Lettuce, $3/each
Sugar Snap Peas, $3/pint
Blueberries, $35/flat
Certified organic, from NW Organic Farms in Ridgefield

Pickled Snap Peas, $5/pint - using organic pickles, vinegars and spices, these are crunchy and delicious, and made in DCF's kitchen.

Raw Honey,
Gallon/$32, Quart/$12, Pint/$7
Raw honey in glass jars form Honey House Farm in Brush Prairie - super local! Be sure to stock up, as I've only made it over once a month the last few.

Wild & Naturally Preserved Eats, - not confirmed available this wk yet, but taking potential orders -
Mushrooms, Fresh (1/4# bags) -
Maitake $4.00
Shiitake $3.00
Pure Mushroom Seasoning Powders, $5.00 - 4.4oz glass jar
Porcini, Chanterelle, Matsutake, Shiitake, or Maitake
Pure Ground Elderberries $10/half-pint jar (ready to use for teas, tinctures, etc)

Dried Herbs, $4/packet
From Garden DElights in Brush Prairie, these herbs were hand prepared from chemical-free herbs. There are several mixes available - Ask if you want to have a look/smell/feel at deliveries!

Canned "Preserves", low sugar
We will have Strawberry, Raspberry, or White Grape jellies for $5 each (from Garden Delights in Brush Prairie). A multi generational farm, this Mom and daughter team work hard on creating healthful, local, and delicious foods. Generally known for their herb packets & natural doggy treats, they are also a produce CSA farm and have value-added products!
Wild Huckleberry Jam, 7oz., $5.00
Wild Huckleberry Syrup, 8oz., $6.00
These two huckleberry delights are wild-gathered by Nature's Choice, and are made with white grape concentrate. Both are almost sugar free!


Remember that in an effort to be more efficient, and less wasteful, we do not write individual receipts, but instead keep a book. If you specifically want a receipt, please let us know when you place your order, if possible.

Anyone and everyone can order from our deliveries, not just "subscribers"! To any newcomers on the e-list, welcome! Also rest assured that all farms contributing to our deliveries all meet several standards: chemical-free, sustainable, natural, family farming... If you have questions about any of them, don't hesitate to ask, or check them out yourself!

To order, click here and specify what you would like.
All checks go to "Dee Creek Farm", or bring cash.
We fill pre-orders first, then it’s first come, first served!
We do mostly pre-orders at deliveries, rather than Farmers Market style.
Please help us in this by pre-ordering what you can!

Summer & Spark
Farm Phone: 360-225-9711
Cell Phone: 360-903-6956 (no service at the Farm)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A New Model of Development For Clark County?

The suburban sprawl method of development. Embraced by countless communities across the nation, including our fair community. It doesn't work. It's been proven countless times. It creates homogeneous landscape of franchised businesses, big box stores, and cookie-cutter subdivisions. It paves over countless acres of critical wetlands, priceless farmlands, and much needed green space. In the long-term, it's an economic failure. The tax revenue generated is outpaced by the cost of community services. In the short-term, we the taxpayers are subsidizing a method of development that is doomed to failure and creates a generally unhealthy environment for all living things. And yet we keep on truckin' down that same road that leads us off the edge of the cliff every time...


Developers, realtors, and business industry associations are notoriously large campaign contributors. The windfall of development fee dollars , construction permit fees, and business licensing at the beginning of the development process are great for pet projects and the government balance sheet if you're an elected official holding office at that moment. BUT when the development dollars dry up...well, you know. Look where we are right now. Clark County doesn't have a pot to piss in and the current incarnation of the BOCC has little hope of bestowing any financial incentives on their friends, supporters, and business associates.

So what's a politician to do if he want to make an impression on his constituents and bolster his chances for re-election?

Pay attention to his community, not just a few influential individuals and special interest groups. Get back in touch with who we are and what we value. Look towards the future, think outside the box, and be willing to take chances. Clark County has an amazing agricultural history. WE were a breadbasket of the nation decades before southern California figured out how to steal enough water to plow the desert and investment by American agribusiness in foreign agricultural ventures utilizing wage slavery and American taxpayer dollars to subsidize their operations and pulled the rug out from under us. However, we do have a growing number of smaller farms setting up shop in Clark County again these days. And despite the continuous spewing of politispeak and disinformation by government officials and their cronies, agriculture is alive in Clark County, the folks that are working the soil here are passionate, honest, and dedicated (despite the fact they don't make the wages of home builders and elected officials), and "hobby farms" will play an increasingly important role in food production and food system security in the very near future.

I propose we look forward to future development in our community with an open mind and a pro-agriculture policy attitude. We need to demand development that works towards farmland preservation and the support of local agriculture. There's no reason why farm folks and city folks can't live together side by side and mutually benefit from their proximity. We'll all be glad we made the decision to change our attitude about "urban" development and our children will be thankful for generations to come.

And the really nice thing is, we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Let's follow the path already being blazed by a number of forward thinking individuals around the nation.

Check out this article recently published in the NY Times.

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. — The bewildered Iowan who converted his farm into a ballpark in “Field of Dreams” in 1989 might reverse the move today. From Vermont to central California, developers are creating subdivisions around organic farms to attract buyers. If you plant it, these developers believe, they will buy.

Increasingly, subdivisions, usually master-planned developments at which buyers buy home sites or raw land, have been treating farms as an amenity. “There are currently at least 200 projects that include agriculture as a key community component,” said Ed McMahon, a senior fellow with the Urban Land Institute.

To read the entire article, click on the link below:

Organic Farms As Subdivision Amenities

Monday, July 6, 2009

Well We'll Kill the Old Red Rooster When She Comes...

The good folks at Hrafinstaad Homestead over in Beaverton, OR are putting on a second poultry butchering class for anyone who couldn't get a space at their immensely popular first class. This is a great skill to learn and very valuable information for anyone raising urban poultry. Here's the scoop from Rois at Hrafinstaad:

I also have exciting news, we are teaching a second Chicken Butchering Class on August 1st here at our house. We had lots of people interested in the first one. So many in fact we had to start a wait list. If any of you missed out on the first one I have listed some of the basic information below.

When : Sat August 1st @ 10 AM - until we are done.
Where: Hrafinstaad Homestead in Beaverton Oregon
Cost: $15 per person
**We have a max of 10 people for this class**
What: Learn to cull,pluck and gut your own chickens. ****Bring your own bird.****
Our last class filled up fast be sure to sign up soon.If we continue to have such a great response we will continue to hold more classes in the future.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Olympia Recognizes Our Petition!

Check out the latest edition of the Washington State Office of Farmland Preservation newsletter! We're on page 3.


How To Build A Community

Here's a very cool list that a very interesting and conscientious young man named Steve turned me on to yesterday. I think it's great and I hope you do too.

How To Build A Community

Turn off your TV
Leave your house
Know your neighbors
Look up when you are walking
Greet people
Sit on your stoop
Plant flowers
Use your library
Play together
Buy from local merchants
Share what you have
Help a lost dog
Take children to the park
Garden together
Support neighborhood schools
Fix it even if you didn’t break it
Have pot lucks
Honor elders
Pick up litter
Read stories aloud
Dance in the street
Talk to the mail carrier
Listen to the birds
Put up a swing
Help carry something heavy
Barter for your goods
Start a tradition
Ask a question
Hire young people for odd jobs
Organize a block party
Bake extra and share
Ask for help when you need it
Open your shades
Sing together
Share your skills
Take back the night
Turn up the music
Turn down the music
Listen before you react to anger
Mediate a conflict
Seek to understand
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles
Know that no one is silent though many are not heard. Work to change this.