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schoolyard farm

Posted: May 28 2012


Education + urban farming - important stuff. Here's their story:

We are Courtney Leeds and Justin Davidson, and together with the students, parents, teachers and neighbors of the school where our farm is located, we are Schoolyard Farms. We have each spent the last three years learning and growing and apprenticing at varying farms on the west coast and beyond, and are now beginning to make decisions about how to cultivate this land on our own--it's a scary and exciting adventure. This season, we are growing for 12 CSA members (six of which will be donated to families-in-need at the school) and, hopefully, for a farm-stand.

Schoolyard Farms sprung from of a love of putting our hands in the dirt, eating delicious food and getting to know our neighbors on a deeper level. Simultaneously, by doing what we love, we hope to demonstrate--and formally teach--how to cultivate healthy food, and thus healthy community.
We are a non-profit educational farm located on an urban elementary schoolyard in Milwaukie, OR. We chose a non-profit model because we value people and community more than we value the bottom-line, and we believe it is in the public’s interest to know how and from where their food comes. We chose an urban location because we value interdependence and hope that our visibility will create a dialogue amongst our neighbors that challenges and progresses the way we produce and consume food. We also believe that just as ecological systems function best when at their most diverse, so too does the food-system, therefore we need farms in every shape and size, in every corner. We chose a schoolyard because we value education and believe it is the foundation for changing our relationship with food. We choose to farm ecologically because we value the land and believe the best way to sustainably grow food is to nurture the soil.
We want to evolve the school-garden model and start cultivating school-farms that will feed their cafeteria. We envision a day when there are Schoolyard Farms on every campus. There are many hurdles to achieving this goal, yet in the interim we are content finding alternative avenues to provide fresh food to our community. Our current chosen paths are Community Supported Agriculture shares that can be purchased with SNAP; donating CSA shares to families in need; educating children about healthy ecologies and healthy lifestyles through a farm-based summer camp; demonstrating the repurposing of land and alternative agriculture practices in a highly visible setting; offering farm tours and workshops to anyone who asks.

We are very hopeful that, together, we can all build the food-system we dream of.
If you would like to support our little farm and you're in the Portland, OR area we would love to see you at our first fundraiser on June 12th (http://growschoolyardfarms.eventbrite.com/). You can also donate here: http://www.schoolyardfarms.org/