Seeking Lease, Lease to Own, or Partnership: 10 Acres or Less in the Gorge

Description:

I would like to eventually establish a mushroom, herb, fruit tree, and perennial vegetable farm that includes animals (poultry and possibly sheep and pigs). I am interested in incorporating woodlands into the animal and food systems over time, experimenting and record-keeping my experiences in agroforestry as I go, in hopes to support the research and development of this field. Medicinal and culinary mushrooms are my primary sales interest. Additionally, I would one day like to develop my value-added products like tea blends, tinctures, ferments, and crafts. I am currently studying herbalism (mostly in the garden!) and working on a certification that I hope to fold into my work as a farmer. Lastly, I am a dirt-minded designer who really enjoys the behind-the-scenes work of creating beautiful, accessible, and enjoyable spaces. I envision a farm ultimately having experiential and educational components with minimal campsite/retreat-style offerings and workshops on topics like mycology, ecopsychology and fermentation. I would love to steward a place where campers and community members can more deeply experience the farm and surrounding nature. In addition to my land-based experience, I have experience with hosting campers through the HipCamp website and am interested in continuing this work, as the space allows (and possibly in the short-term too). I would need housing on-site or nearby. I am open (and depending on the learning opportunities, possibly preferential) to shared land, but not interested in shared housing.

Who I am and What I'm looking for:

I am a farmer and nature lover in my 30’s. I grew up in towns outside of the Catskills of New York and the Appalachians of Pennsylvania and now bring my roots with me to the Gorge. I have been here for over a year and have found that the PNW country soil is well-suited to these roots of mine. Back in Pittsburgh, PA, I worked on two different small-scale diversified organic produce farms for three years. For six seasons during and after, I helped with farmers' markets for one of the farms I had been growing produce on. After that time of farming (and selling) for other people, I came to recognize my interest in working for myself and my knack for business. At that time, I was renting in the city and was not yet ready to own property, so I began my backyard farmette for personal consumption and preservation while apprenticing with a permaculture landscaper. I soon thereafter began my work in ecological landscaping both independently and along with a collective of other women landscapers for five years. Before traversing the paths of farming and landscaping, I had graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in Interdisciplinary Arts and Psychology. More and more, I am pleased to find that the subjects of art, music, and the mind are quite at home in the potato patch with the red-winged blackbird or the mason jar of "interdisciplinary" garden contents. Currently, I am stewarding a small historical farm with a Heritage Tree Grove of apples and pears, as well as a newer fruit tree orchard. I spend most of my time learning about fruit trees, redesigning a healing garden, hosting campers, and taking care of the goats, sheep, turkeys and chickens. I am also currently working in residential gardening in the Willamette Valley and Portland. I deeply enjoy stewarding land, growing food and medicine, foraging for mushrooms, caring for animals, designing outdoor living spaces, record keeping, working for my community, working hard, and working thoughtfully. I am eager to discover a piece of land to build a relationship with and bring my energy, gifts and commitment to over time.

Farming Experience:

Who Cooks For You Farm (New Bethlehem, PA) was my first introduction to farming, in 2014. At that time, I worked on a crew of six planting, harvesting, processing, packing, and selling produce. My first year on the farm, I co-managed the greenhouse. My second year on the farm, I specialized in order packing, ensuring that the crew recorded daily harvest weights and quantities, and fulfilled, packed, and labeled restaurant and farmers’ market requests. Although most of my time was spent with my hands in the soil, I would sometimes travel to Pittsburgh with the farm owner to assist with farmer's markets. After moving back to the city in 2016, I began regularly working a weekly market for Who Cooks For You Farm and continued to do so until I left Pittsburgh in 2020. Also in 2016, I assisted a farmer on a part-time basis with her first year in production on BeWilder Farm (Natrona Heights, PA). My main responsibilites were bed preparation, planting, weed and pest management, harvesting, and washing and packing for the next day's market - both independently and leading small crews of CSA work-trade folks. Ontop of these experiences, I have been growing my own produce on a quarter acre at home since 2017. Currently, I help steward a Historical Farm in the Willamette Valley and am learning more about regenerative agriculture and animal systems.

Crops preferred to work with:

Vegetables
Berries
Poultry
Sheep
Tree fruit
Grain
Nursery

Short term plans for the land / farm business:

Short-term goals are both educational/design and business oriented. Educational/Design goals include: Learning (both short-term and ongoing) about the local ecosystem of the land I intend to steward, soil building, outdoor cultivation of mushrooms, fruit trees, berries, livestock, agroforestry, and silvopasture. Designing a regenerative/permaculture plan. Business goals include: Depending on the land and situation, I would like to begin a CSA and/or sales to restaurants of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and/or mushrooms, as well as value-added products as soon as I am able. Another option is to develop a native plant nursery to support my part-time residential gardening business while I build a full-time farm business. The potential nursery could extend to support the long-term goal of growing perennials and pollinators for the farm.

Housing needs:

No