farming

Pexels/Pixabay

Camas Davis was a magazine editor with a desire to simplify her life. 

So she left New York for a job in her native Oregon, only to watch her dreams come apart in short order. 

So what next?  That's the story she tells in her memoir Killing It: An Education, about taking up with a family of French pig farmers and butchers, learning a whole new trade and outlook on life. 

Life, death, and dinner have not been the same since. 

davispigeon0/Pixabay

When even Eugene hits a daytime high of 100°F, it's just plain hot out there.  It's possible you have to work out there when it's hot. 

By the accounting of several activist groups, millions of American workers lack protections from heat stress. 

Those organizations, including Public Citizen, are petitioning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require some protections to be provided by employers. 

João Felipe C.S./Public Domain

The supermarket age is all about food traveling great distances to reach us.  So the chance of getting to know the people who grow your food is limited. 

Unless you buy local food... which is encouraged by many people these days.  The Rogue Valley Farm Tour enhances the eat-local experience by taking people out to meet the farmers. 

Ashland Food Co-op and Medford Food Co-op are partners on the tour. 

Mary Anne Andrei

Running a farm is like running a factory, except you're not quite sure how much you'll produce until the season is over. 

That's just one of many challenges in agriculture, and there are many more, especially for smaller family farmers.  Agri-giant businesses have economies of scale that the small farms lack. 

But plenty of people are still dedicated to growing crops and a livelihood with them, just on a smaller scale. 

Ted Genoways follows a farm family in Nebraska in his took This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm

Anne Dirkse, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35952122

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  But when it falls... two area fruit cideries host community pressing events where anyone can donate their fallen or unwanted fruit.

In Ashland, Apple Outlaw and the Ashland Co-Op have partnered to host several collection weekends. Apple Outlaw gathers the fruit, presses and ferments it at their orchard in the Applegate Valley.

In Eugene, people can donate their fruit to the Wildcraft Cider Works press house during any business hours between July and November.

They then release four annual ciders in the Community Cider Series, the proceeds of which go to local community groups focused on land conservation, stewardship and food education. 

kcmckell/Live Aloha

It's getting late in the Oregon legislature.  A budget is due when the fiscal year begins July 1st, and there's not enough money to pay for all existing programs.

So agencies large and small are still unsure about what their funding will be.  Large as in: all the school districts in the state. 

Small as in: the Farm to School program, which teaches kids about where food comes from AND provides local food to their cafeterias. 

One version of the budget would cut funding entirely, another would cut funding in half. 

"The Last Crop" Explores Farm Succession

Oct 27, 2016
thelastcropfilm.com

A century ago, about 30% of the U.S. population lived on farms.  It should not surprise you to learn that the percentage is lower now: TWO. 

But while farm population is low, interest is increasing, as people care more about their food and where it comes from. 

The documentary film "The Last Crop" details the difficulties of handing farms off to new generations, a frequent obstacle to vibrant family farms. 

Farmer Jeff Main in California is profiled in the film; Chuck Schultz is the filmmaker. 

"Gaining Ground" In The Farming Business

Oct 21, 2016
João Felipe C.S./Public Domain

Working a farm is a very different business from 100 years ago. 

Farms are bigger and numbers of farmers smaller, due in large part to mechanization.  And in this age of local food and farm-to-fork events, more people seem to be paying attention to what happens on farms. 

The documentary film "Gaining Ground" explores some recent trends, with a focus on farming in inner-city California and rural Oregon.  The film visits Ashland on Tuesday (October 25). 

The Challenges Of Farming In Oregon

Oct 21, 2016
Corey Coyle/Wikimedia

A recent report from Oregon State University outlines some of the issues facing farming and farmers in Oregon. 

For one thing, many aging farmers are retiring.  And land costs are stopping some would-be farmers from getting into the business. 

Rogue Farm Corps is already at work on these and similar issues; in fact, the Corps co-wrote the report with OSU. 

Learning To Be Stewards Of The Land

Aug 1, 2016
Saffron Blaze/Wikimedia

It's not just city people who dream of buying a chunk of land in the country and living closer to nature.  But especially for the ex-urban dwellers, the questions start with: how?

The days when most of the American population lived on farms is long past.  Which is why the Extension Service at Oregon State University offers a Land Steward Program, to teach new and aspiring country dwellers to take better care of their property--and ultimately, themselves. 

The program trains landowners over 11 weeks in subjects like wildfire risk reduction and stream ecology. 

Farming Without The Water

Jul 4, 2016
Victor M. Vicente Selvas/Wikimedia

Irrigation is not a new idea, but farmers in our region once got through the growing season without it. 

Dryland farming, it's called; and it requires careful choices in crops and careful conservation of water. 

Dryland farming is still practiced at the Hanley Farm of the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  It involves a LOT of mulch. 

Hanley Farm Agricultural Manager Rion Glynn visits with details of the work... and the results.  
 

How To Polish Up Your Land Stewardship

Apr 7, 2016
Pauline Bartolone/CPR

It's not just our loud music that escapes over the fence into our neighbor's yard. 

All of our pieces of land, big and small, are interconnected.  And many of us can stand a refresher course in good land stewardship.  What do you know, Oregon State University's Extension Service provides such a course. 

It's called Living On Your Land, or LOYL, and it will be offered in Grants Pass April 16th. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR

The Rogue Valley boasts a thriving community of small family farms, many of them organic. But most of the food grown here is shipped out of the area.  If you want to buy this bounty locally, farmers markets and food co-ops have pretty much been your only option.

Now, farmers are getting together to put Rogue Valley grown produce where most people buy their food: the local supermarket.