FoFF Year in Review
2020 has been a difficult year for all and a bittersweet year for many of Oregon’s farmers. The pandemic closed many sales outlets, from restaurants to schools and business campuses, but it also sparked a keen interest in local food for many new customers looking to boost the resilience of the region. Widespread demonstrations about racial injustice in this country shined light on issues that have been kept in the shadows for too long. Although these are not new developments, there is more conversation in the agricultural community than ever before and when you know better, you can do better. Wildfire ravaged many parts of the state, consuming homes and farms throughout Oregon, and communities came together to rebuild. Through all this, Friends of Family Farmers stayed nimble and pivoted our programming to where it matters most.
Join Our Team
We have some exciting news - Friends of Family Farmers is hiring an Oregon Pasture Network Program Assistant from the Southern Oregon area. FoFF seeks a motivated and independent half-time organizer (20 hrs/wk) to join our team. This position involves supporting and promoting pasture-based producers throughout Oregon, with particular attention to underrepresented voices. This person will work alongside and complement the Oregon Pasture Network (OPN) Program Manager. We all work from home, so the ideal candidate must be organized, driven, and able to create a reliable work space.
* Friends of Family Farmers is an equal opportunity employer *
* We encourage people of diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply *
In Honor of Jeff Falen
by Shari Sirkin, Executive Director
It is with deep sadness that I share the news that a giant among Oregon small farmers has passed. From the name Persephone Farm (Greek Goddess of the Seasons) to the shunning of plastic mulch; from the electric tractor powered by on-farm solar panels, to the extensive use of cover cropping - everything about Persephone Farm reflected Jeff’s commitment to caring for the land. Moreover, Jeff freely shared his joys and challenges to support and inspire fellow and beginning farmers. He truly walked his talk.
I called Jeff this past summer, feeling that he would be one of the best people to ask about specific practices small farmers could do to mitigate the effects of climate change. After we discussed all the myriad efforts on his farm, he ultimately said the most effective thing farmers could do was to simply build up their Soil Organic Matter.
Jeff was an extraordinarily humble, gentle and kind person, and I believe he was a significant influence on far more farmers than he could have imagined. I know I speak for many ecological farmers in the Pacific Northwest when I say he’ll be missed immensely.
Our condolences to Jeff’s equally passionate farm and life partner Elanor O'Brien, who has listed the farm on FoFF's Oregon Farm Link.
Stockwatering Petition Update
Oregon’s water shouldn’t be up for grabs. Yet, an exemption loophole in Oregon law has allowed mega-dairies in Eastern Oregon to use water from an endangered aquifer that has otherwise been off limits to new wells since 1976. On December 1st the Stand Up To Factory Farms Coalition submitted additional comments in support of their original petition to the Oregon Water Resources Commission to limit the amount of water mega-dairies can use in two critical groundwater areas under an exemption from permit requirements for “stockwatering.”
Oregon State Meat Inspection Program
Calling all meat producers, suppliers, processors, and marketers! Your input is needed to help shape Oregon’s State Meat Inspection Program.
FoFF has long sought to improve access to meat processing, and local meat availability in Oregon. COVID-19 put a spotlight on weaknesses within industrialized meat production, which contributed to further strains on meat processing bottlenecks in our state. As a result, the legislature passed HB 4206, a state meat inspection program, during the first Special Session this summer.
Exciting News for Oregon Seeds!
Organic Seed Alliance and Friends of Family Farmers are thrilled to announce the launch of the new Pacific Northwest (PNW) Seed Integrity Project. The new project is based in the Pacific Northwest, which is the world’s fifth best seed growing region, and could become a leader in climate-adaptive vegetable seed production. The aim is to develop meaningful policies that protect organic and conventional non-GE seed growers from the threat of genetically engineered (GE) crops from British Columbia to Oregon. Project collaborators will create a seed integrity policy platform with a focus on local and state initiatives. The platform will be informed by current advocacy efforts in the region including seed producer surveys, a listening session (see below) and a new coalition of seed activists.
Part of the PNW Seed Integrity Project will include a Listening Session on GMO contamination on January 19, 2021 from noon to 1:30pm, which is part of a series of three seed webinars. Please save the date!
For seed producers, Organic Seed Alliance will be hosting a Listening Session on Excluded Methods in Organic Production on December 16, 2020 from noon to 1:30. Learn more or register here.
Willamette Week's Give!Guide
Thank you so, so much to everyone who has donated thus far! We are almost half way to our goal of $15,000, with only a few weeks to go.
With your support we will continue to:
- Work hard to keep farmers connected and resilient during pandemics, natural disasters, and more
- Expand our technical assistance through Oregon Farm Link
- Double down on our efforts to end factory farming in our state
- Provide more ways to connect eaters and farmers in our new normal
We need your help so that we can continue to advocate for the priorities of small and mid-sized, ecologically and socially responsible family farmers, and the eaters who support them. Access to food grown sustainably and with care - for the Earth and for animals - should be a right, not a luxury.
Give $10 or more and you'll receive $4,000+ worth of free and discounted products from your favorite Portland brands. Every donor will get full access to hundreds of local coupons in the Chinook Book app, and a few exclusive freebies!
As an EXTRA incentive, FoFF has gift baskets for three donors at the $100 and above level. Baskets include $50 gift certificates to ¿Por Qué No? Taqueria, Coastal, Linnton Feed and Seed, Dove Vivi Pizza, plus two bottles of Hot Winter Hot Sauce, a Friends of Family Farmers hat, and two pint glasses.
Portland Fill Your Pantry Week
We are right in the middle of our Portland Fill Your Pantry Week and it is going strong. Portland has showed up this year to support our local farmers and ranchers! You have one more opportunity to stock up on Sunday, December 13th from 10am - 2pm at the Montavilla Farmers Market.
We want to give a HUGE shout out to Slow Food Portland who jumped in this year ready and willing to do anything to help make these events successful. We appreciate their dedication, hard work, and commitment to our small and mid-sized socially and ecologically-based farmers.
Be sure to keep supporting these year round winter farmers markets - Hollywood, Hillsdale, Lloyd, and Montavilla. Follow them on social media or check out their websites for locations and winter schedules. Let's keep the momentum going!
Looking for a Volunteer Coordinator
We are looking for a detail-oriented Volunteer Coordinator to join our team. This volunteer (unpaid) position will be responsible for our small but growing support crew of volunteers and volunteer opportunities.
A successful FoFF Volunteer Coordinator should be passionate about volunteer work and share the values of our organization, while ensuring the comfort and success of our volunteers in their efforts. The time required is approximately 1-3 hrs/week, and will vary widely depending on projects and activities FoFF is working on.
Friends of Family Farmers
PO Box 396
Corbett, Oregon 97019