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A list of permaculture farms in the PNW  RSS feed

 
Tom OHern
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Location: Seattle, WA
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It hit me today that I have not been doing all I can to support local permaculture farms. I still buy far too much of my food from the supermarket and I'd like to change that. I had always intended to spend some weekends during the spring and summers seasons to go around and visit farms and find ones I really want to do business with, but another year has gone by and I haven't done this. But I figure this would be a great topic to crowd-source, since I suspect there are others around here that have already done some of this investigative work.

What are some farms in the Pacific Northwest that you have visited and think are worth supporting? If you have any info on how they run their farm, whether it be no-till, bio-dynamic, veganic, that would all be great to know. Are they a Restoration Ag style farm? Do they use Keyline Design? What else are they doing on their farm that makes them special? Let us know the farms you support and why we should support them too!
 
John Saltveit
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Karen Tillou and partner have a good one in Oregon City, OR. Of course up your way Bullock Bros. is quite famous. Paul did a podcast on a guy near Bellingham called Brian Kerkvliet I believe. Biodynamic.
John S
PDX OR
 
Virginia Ratliff
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I am also struggling with not being able to find local sources...but, I am 30 miles north of Atlanta, GA! I have yet to meet a single person who even knows the names such as sepp holzer, geoff lawton or Mr. Wheaton! Much less practices anything even close to permaculture! I have recently started trying to post more here, hoping that will help! I did find one lady, a year or so ago now, who for a fee would come give me a design plan...well, until I understand a little more about water management/harvesting...that is not a practical outlay of cash. My ultimate goal is to be able to take an actual hands on PDC course and then find design help. That may or may be an actual workable plan but it is the best one I have so far! It would be so nice to find another body that when you say things such as...anything with the word "enriched" in the ingredients list means...it was killed first, by whatever factory means they use and then other dead things were added to mimic live things...in other words instead of nutrition you are consuming processed chemicals...the normal response, "Don't tell me that...want a doughnut?" Well, I have done enough experimenting on myself to know nutrition and whole foods and clean water are the biggest parts of our foundation to good health! I have been struggling for about a year now to find "whole foods" and the people who eat them! I just recently met a lady whose husband is in stage four cancer...now, they are going for the Gerson method of healing. He's already done the chemo/radiation, etc. I even have installed two hugelkultur beds in my front yard...just off the easement...they have attracted neighborhood attention but so far no one has "recognized" them. Anyway, I will continue looking for like minded souls...they are far and few usually for worthwhile endeavors anyway! And, I must admit I get pretty overwhelmed with the amount of info out here and sometimes it is hard to not get lost in that forest! I would love to support local permaculture!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Great idea!

Bullock Brothers Permaculture Homestead - Orcas Island, WA - as John S. mentioned, very worth the drive and the challenging ferry availability (ferries on weekends get FULL - you have to get in the queue several time slots ahead) for their plant sales and tours or workshops. Over 20 years of established permaculture food forest systems, off-grid living, chinampas, and more.

Inspiration Farm - Bellingham, WA - yes, this is Brian Kerkvliet's place as John S. pointed out, and IMHO, it is quite inspiring, too. Biodynamic and permaculture systems. They have a market stand right at the entrance to their farm and often have produce, especially awesome garlic, for sale.

Next, I'm going to list some farms I've enjoyed supporting and why, even though I moved to Montana a year and a half ago, and even though most of these are not quite permaculture by some definitions. I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds more of examples like these that are not quite permaculture (yet?).

Full disclosure: I provide accounting services for some of these farms (who shall remain nameless).

The Root Connection - Woodinville, WA - now the oldest CSA (community supported agriculture - where customers/members pay for a "share" of the season's harvest and pick up or receive produce usually on a weekly basis) in the nation, started in the '80's. While they might not be quite veganic, they are definitely organic (though perhaps not certified) and stopped using horse manure that had antibiotic residue years ago. I think they have a CSA drop site in Seattle.

Jubilee Biodynamic Farm - Carnation, WA - besides being a biodynamic CSA, they have added in animal systems to further close their nutrient cycle loops. They had planted a perennial/permaculture food forest at the river's edge that unfortunately was destroyed by flooding. Lots of support at this place for other farmers, for repairing the mismanaged river watershed, and organic/sustainable methods. I'm not sure if they have a Seattle drop site.

Local Roots Farm - Duvall, WA - organic (but not certified) CSA, honor market stand in Duvall, plus sells to restaurants and at the Queen Anne and Broadway Farmers Markets. Awesome family run farm that uses plenty of human labor over machine labor and some of the most beautiful produce around.

First Light Farm - Carnation, WA - organic (but not certified) you-pick and farm stand in Carnation, with "mini-farm" and educational opportunities and an incredibly picturesque location in the Snoqualmie valley.

Oxbow Farm and Education Center - Carnation, WA - another high-quality organic (not permaculture) farm, but with CSA drops in multiple locations and usually designed in a way to foster community building interactions at the drop site. Also sells at multiple farmers markets and provides food to many restaurants that feature local and organic food.

Cascadia Edible Landscapes - Seattle, WA - this is the first CSPS, community supported plant starts, or plant start CSA farm I've ever heard of! Awesome idea for more urban areas. Their edible landscaping services focus on perennial, sustainable systems. They also have off-shoots involving eat your yard community activism, food justice, and education, to name a few.

Dog Mountain Farm - Carnation, WA - this is one of the first CSAs in the broader Seattle area (that I'd heard about any way) that is offering "whole diet CSA" options. They also have some very diverse farm income models including farm dinners, farm stays, education, in addition to the variety of CSA offerings.

21 Acres - Woodinville, WA - now growing much of the produce it sells, locally renown for its platinum LEED center with the first officially permitted composting toilets in King County (if I recall correctly). Organic, though not certified, some permaculture systems, apiary, market includes other value added high-end items that meet stringent standards, including only coming from a 300-mile radius, plus loads of educational programs with a lovely teaching kitchen and facilities.

The interesting thing is that you don't always find your most local farms at the local farmers markets. The CSA model, or selling directly to restaurants, works far better for many of them.
 
John Saltveit
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Trying to look up "CSA" in a search engine should probably work. Organic farm or sustainable farm should be good too. If you're in Portland, or most any city, you can go to the farmer's markets, and there will be some organic farms selling their wares.
John S
PDX OR
 
Tom OHern
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Thank you Jocelyn for that list! I will check some of those out!

John, Both Karen Tillou's and the Bullock Bros run nurseries, not farms. My hope is to find places I can buy food from, not food plants.

My problem with CSAs is that many of them get their food from multiple farms (or even traditional produce suppliers) and it is hard to research which ones are good and which ones are not so good. Many of the organic farms around me freely use "organic" pesticides and fungicides, which is a big no no on my list. I can, and have, used search engines to find local farms that advertise themselves as organic or sustainable, but most are only as organic as the law requires them to be to maintain their certification. I am looking for farms that are "beyond organic" and I have not found any that advertise them selves that way which is why I wanted to reach out the the community and ask if anyone knew of hidden gems out there...
 
John Saltveit
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Tom,
Karen Tillou's place does sell food. I have bought food from them. You can buy food from them at the People's Market at 20th near Clinton.
John S
PDX OR
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Tom OHern wrote:Thank you Jocelyn for that list! I will check some of those out!

You're welcome!

Tom OHern wrote:My problem with CSAs is that many of them get their food from multiple farms (or even traditional produce suppliers) and it is hard to research which ones are good and which ones are not so good.

I am fairly certain that none of these farms obtains produce from traditional produce suppliers. Oxbow and Dog Mountain partner with other local, organic-style farms and businesses to add mushrooms, baked goods, and things like that to their CSA offerings, though their websites list who and where these add-on's come from. 21 Acres has worked to source from small local farms (who meet their better than organic standards) and even be a food hub so that larger customers can get enough of lettuce, for example, if more than just one little farm provides lettuce to the hub/21 Acres.

Tom OHern wrote:Many of the organic farms around me freely use "organic" pesticides and fungicides, which is a big no no on my list.

Apart from how particular I know Root Connection is about their fertilizer, I must admit I have not specifically inquired about "organic" pesticide and fungicide use at the farms on this list. My impression from knowing these folks, working with them, and visiting their farms, is that they truly aspire to be as non-toxic as possible. I'm sorry I don't know more about that very respectable concern. At least I do know they grow their own produce!
 
Tom OHern
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Location: Seattle, WA
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John Saltveit wrote:Tom,
Karen Tillou's place does sell food. I have bought food from them. You can buy food from them at the People's Market at 20th near Clinton.
John S
PDX OR


Does she have a website or some other listing of what she sells? The only thing I can find on her is www.homeorchardsociety.org which only seems to offer nursury products. Seeing as I am in Seattle, I probably won't be buying from them, but if there are others in the Portland area, it would be nice to give them some way to get in contact with her. The first few pages of google results are not turning anything up.
 
John Saltveit
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Home ORchard Society, of which I am a long-standing member, is a group that shares ideas about growing fruit. It's sort of like a smaller, localized, more narrow version of permies.

Here is their website:
www.homeorchardsociety.org


John S
PDX OR
 
Julia Winter
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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I would love to know of a good quality CSA we can join in Portland, OR. This past year we went with the CSA of a family who sends their kids to the same school as ours, but they were struggling and have thrown in the towel on their CSA experiment. We had a really wonderful CSA in Wisconsin (Vermont Valley) that had 4 events every year on the farm: pea picking, corn boil, pumpkin pick and pesto fest. That was so wonderful, a chance for community and to see the farm in action. There was usually a potluck meal involved.
 
John Saltveit
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Here's what I found. I think you're on the East side, right, Julia? We are on the west side and we have bought stuff from Mark Ludeman in Beaverton. I know of one from Clatskanie that delivers to Hillsboro, but I think probably Gresham/Boring/ Happy valley would probably work better for you:
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/480957

I agree with the OP that barely organic isn't good enough for me. I like to visit the farm and try to get a sense of what they're about.
John S
PDX OR
 
Livia Blaszak
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Location: North Plains, OR
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For CSA farms in Portland area, here is a link to Portland Area CSA Coalition's website:

http://www.portlandcsa.org/

And for any area, and for anything related to food, here is a link to Local Harvest website:

http://www.localharvest.org/
 
Tom OHern
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Thanks Livia, Do you know if any of those CSA are specifically doing permaculture? My problem is not finding farms or CSA's, but finding out out which ones are "beyond organic". I am hoping for people who have actually visited farms or contacted them to see which ones are more than just conventional organic farms. But thanks for the link.
 
Nicole Alderman
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If you're looking for meat and eggs, Sky Valley Family Farm in Startup, WA is awesome. They pasture their ducks and chicken and pigs Salatin style, and the eggs are delicious with dark orange yokes. We haven't eaten any of their meat or chicken eggs, only their duck eggs, but my husband visited their farm and was very impressed. The eggs are organic, pastured and sold at farmers markets and small stores all around the Sound, and are now at various PCC markets. Here's their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sky-Valley-Family-Farm/208504032636980?sk=timeline&ref=page_internal

I also agree that Local Harvest is a wonderful resource!
 
Livia Blaszak
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Location: North Plains, OR
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Tom, sorry to have "hijacked" your thread, my post was mainly for those who wanted to find good CSA's in Portland area.

Personally, I don't know if any of the CSA's down here are adhering to permaculture principles or not, and how strict they may be.

One example of farm using biodynamic and holistic principles is Winter Green Farm down in Noti, OR.
 
Hans Quistorff
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I will list my place Qberry Farm.  It is far out from Purdy highway 16 to highway 302 then out the Key Peninsula highway.
I sell produce through the Fres Food Revolution which is an internet ordering co-op.   From the Facebook link above you can arrange a farm visit to see my operation and bick berries to preserve.
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