Think Out Loud has two segments on farming today. Comment on the blog now about why you think farmland should be protected!!
9:06am – A Bigger Urban Growth Boundary: I think this piece should be renamed “More Sprawl in Washington County.” Paving farmland is obviously bad for farmers & regional food security, but it is also a waste of money. There is only so much funding for infrastructure to go around. Does it really make sense for taxpayers to subsidize roads & sewers in new developments when we have failing infrastructure throughout our communities inside the UGB?
9:20am – Gravel Mine on Grand Island: After searching for farmland for several years, we bought 40 acres on Grand Island. It is some of the best farmland in the vWillamette Valley and like Sauvie Island it has a long history of u-pick and farmstands. It is truly the agricultural gem of Yamhill County. All that will change if Baker Rock has it’s way. Call in or comment in support of Crops not Rocks!!
If you care about great local food, enjoy walking to farmers markets and eating at neighborhood restaurants then please speak up and tell Metro that now is not the time to expand the Urban Growth Boundary! You can go directly to the Metro Opt-In Panel, join the group and they will email you the UGB survey. Or go to 1000 Friends of Oregon for more information and follow the links to see what else you can do to help. Good jobs and great communities already exist inside the current UGB so lets spend our limited infrastructure dollars here rather than paving more farmland!!
The Lake Oswego City Council will discuss the Luscher Farm Master Plan this Tuesday July 12th at 6pm in Council Chambers, 380 A Ave. This is a work session so there will be no public testimony, but a good turnout is still essential to let the councilors know there is widespread support for the farm. The staff report is available here.
The City of Lake Oswego is working on a Master Plan for Luscher Farm, but the current draft plan would build parking lots & two new artificial turf fields on the organic farm. If you want farming to continue at Luscher Farm please let the City know by filling out a quick online comment card before Sunday July 10th. If Luscher Farm is to continue to provide fresh local produce to the community then THE FARM NEEDS TO STAY WHERE IT IS NOW – on great farmland that has been improved by years of organic production. The draft master plan proposes to relocate farming to the east side of the property (#18 on the map), but these fields are steep, wet & ill-suited for year-round organic vegetable farming.
Other issues that have been raised by the community about the Luscher Farm Master Plan include…
- The study that is being used to substantiate current need for additional sports fields is over 10 years old.
- No analysis has been published to evaluatealternative sites in the community for additional sports fields.
- Lack of consideration for potential costs
- No sustainability analysis of the plan using The Natural Step
- Concerns about zoning
- The open space above Hazalia Field that is reserved for a golf driving range (#24 on the map)
What You Can Do…
- Take a moment to complete the online survey before Sunday July 10th!!
- Spread the word!! Forward this email to your friends & neighbors and encourage them to fill out the survey too. Post your concerns to facebook.
- Write a letter to the editor for the Lake Oswego Review or Oregonian.
- Come to the City Council Hearing on July 12th to support the farm.
Luscher Farm is an incredible regional resource so your comments are important even if you don’t live in Lake Oswego.
If you want FARMING to continue at Luscher Farm speak up now – before it’s too late!!
Join us this Sunday, Sept 19th at 1pm for a Bike Tour around Grand Island. You can see our new farm, meet our great neighbors, have a lovely bike ride and even swim in the river if the sun is shining. All the info is here. Hope you can come!
Great article on the front page of the Oregonian today about the proposed gravel quarry on Grand Island and the threat it poses to farmland. We’ve been blessed in the Willamette Valley in general and on Grand Island in particular with world class farmland. As a matter of public policy we’ve got to ask the question – what the best and highest use of that farmland is. Should we mine the gravel for short-term gain or protect this our prime farmland for future generations? If you support the latter, then click here to help us out!
I was invited again this year to be on a panel for the Oregon Sustainability Experience tours. These groups draw folks from all over the world to come for a week and learn about the innovative sustainability programs happening here. After an amazing lunch at Intel – thank you Bon Appetit – we talked about the challenges of balancing development and farmland protection. I was on the panel with David Bragdon-METRO President, Chair Tom Brian- Washington County Board of Commissioners, Bill MacKenzie-Communications Manager at Intel, and Jim Johnson – Land Use and Water Quality Coordinator, Oregon Department of Agriculture. Made for a lively discussion!
Spent the morning at the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference at the convention center where I was on the panel discussing urban agriculture. NY Times food writer Kim Severson was our very thoughtful and engaging moderator and I heard some truely amazing stories from the other panelists about what is happening all over the world, and right here close to home…
Kamal Mouzawak from Lebanon started the first farmers market in Beruit and had truely inspirational stories about how sharing food can bring all kinds of different people together.
Closer to home Ann Forsthoefel, executive director of the Portland Farmers Market talked about the bounty of the market and all the programs they are engaged to help educate market shoppers, support farmers and to help make fresh local food accessible to everyone.
Deborah Kane from Ecotrust talked about the work they are doing with the newly launched FoodHub to connect producers and customers – the match.com of the food world!
I shared a bit about our farm and all the great urban ag projects that are part of the landscape in Portland. I also tried to connect the dots to show how if we all keep working at it, the tremendous excitement that surrounds farmers & food right now could be translated into meaningful policy. Let’s channel all the energy around urban ag in to programs that support Farm to School projects, better land use planning, organic EQUIP, and all the other things that will make our kids healthier, our cities more livable and our farms more successful & sustainable!!