SolarCulture (a PineGate Renewables project), is an initiative developed to enhance environmental stewardship, promote sustainable agriculture, and collaborate with the community to support research with a goal of encouraging smarter solar through science. They have just recently opened a solar apiary in Jackson County, Oregon. The project is two pronged, it aims to tackle both our fossil fuel dependance as well as our rapidly declining numbers of bees.
After examining the site’s seed mix, vegetation management plan, and early growth of native flowers and grasses, John Jacob of Old Sol Apiaries determined the site would offer safe refuge for his 48 hives of honey bees.
“In 2016/17, Oregon beekeepers reported losing nearly one-third of all honey bee colonies statewide,” said Jacob. “The pollinator-friendly solar sites Pine Gate Renewables is developing can play an important role in helping address the population crisis among our managed and native pollinators.”
Data from the UK shows that pollinator-friendly solar arrays result in increased abundance of bees and other insects, which can provide important pollination and pest management services to crops. “Examining the Potential for Agricultural Benefits from Pollinator Habitat at Solar Facilities in the United States,” a recent peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Science & Technology, identified more than 16,000 acres of pollinator dependent crops in proximity of 204 megawatts of solar arrays throughout Oregon.
Praised by several of the nation’s most prominent entomologists, including MacArthur “Genius” award recipient Dr. Marla Spivak and Presidential Medal of Science recipient Dr. May Berenbaum, pollinator-friendly solar arrays are different than traditional arrays. Pollinator friendly solar sites use low-growing meadows of native flowers and grasses to enrich top soils, capture storm water, and benefit pollinators. All SolarCulture sites meet the specific criteria established by entomologists to qualify as pollinator-friendly.
MYCOLOGOS is the world’s first online and in-person mycology school and demonstration mushroom farm, based in Portland, Oregon. They are currently raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign (ending December 20) where you can save up to 80% off online courses in mycology. The founder of mycologos, Peter McCoy will be teaching a Greenhorns mycology workshop in our new headquarters in Maine next Summer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest in this July 2018 class.
Click HERE to check out the kickstarter, there is only 6 days left to donate!
Rogue Farm Corps helps teach the next generation of farmers via hands-on immersive training on sustainable farms in Oregon. Live and learn side-by-side with a mentor farmer. Take part in classes, farm tours, and discussion circles. Learn more and apply today for the 2018 season: http://roguefarmcorps.org”
Applications for the 2018 season are now open. They offer programmes for both beginners and advanced apprentices. Click HERE to find out more and to apply.
This year’s show contains…Réka Bucsi,’s latest animation, Love, featuring red panthers, black horses, and a giant water guy (and has been nabbing masses of awards all around the world)…BlackCanaries, Jesse Kreitzer’s stunning, beautifully-shot 1907 period piece about an Iowa mining family’s continuous descent for coal…Jan van IJken’s The Art of Flying, artistically documenting one of the most spectacular sights on Earth involving starlings in Holland…and Ogasawara, Georgian director, Tato Kotetishvili’s whimsical tale of a Dukhabor wedding on the Armerian border… Check out the full program at https://ruralroutefilms.com/tour/!
Katy Giomboini shares her seasoned observations on the internship program offered by the Rogue Farm Corps in Oregon. Whether you are interested in farming for the first time or you are looking to hone skills that you’ve gained from past apprenticeships, the organization offers two training programs suited to fit your educational needs. They are accepting applications for this year on a rolling basis
View from the Sidelines: Cultivating the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers By: Katy Giomboini, RFC Chapter Coordinator
As I look to the start of the 2017 growing season and review farm internship applications, I can feel my excitement building. I imagine it’s a similar feeling that farmers get at the start of the season. Excited for what the year will bring, trying out new techniques, doing a little bit better than last year. Another season, another group of enthusiastic individuals looking to see if farming is a career path for them. Their backgrounds are as diverse as the tomato section of a seed catalog. Some are fresh out of high school, others looking to change careers. Some have zero farming experience and others have degrees in agriculture. There are big plans on how they are going to run a farm/restaurant/retreat center and others simply looking to get their hands dirty. For most, this season is going to bring a lot of surprises, a lot of reality checks, a lot of stories, and for a few, it will lay the foundation for their farming career.
I am about to start my fourth season as a chapter coordinator with the Rogue Farm Corps, a beginning farmer training program in Oregon, and each year I am inspired by the folks that choose to uproot themselves to live and work on a farm for a growing season. Farming is not easy. As any of the interns will tell you, the first month they’re on farm, they are tired, like bed-time-at-8:00pm tired. Many experiences don’t require the strength and agility to squat, bend, and pull day in and day out. But as the months go by, they get stronger. One of my favorite image is of an intern, probably 5’2”, who at the start of the program could barely carry a 50 pound bag of poultry feed, but by the end she was easily carrying two 50lb bags as she zoomed around doing chores. What once seemed hard becomes routine. (more…)
Do you dream of being a farmer? Or maybe you’re looking to build your farming skills and take the next step? Enter Rogue Farm Corps! This Oregon-based program provides hands-on internships and apprenticeships for both would-be farmers and experienced farmers alike.
FarmsNext is an entry-level internship for those with little to no experience, while FarmsNOW is an apprenticeship for those who have completed an internship or have at least two years of farming experience. Both programs are live/work situations and pair budding farmers with a network of trusted farms throughout the state of Oregon. You can be immersed in veggie production, animal husbandry, dairy, and more!
Rogue Farm Corps is now accepting applications for the upcoming growing season, so click on HERE for more details and information!
Fields for Food
a workshop on leasing farmland Tuesday March 17, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
St. Bede’s Episcopal Church
1609 Elm St.
Forest Grove, OR
To RSVP, call: 503-992-0078 ext. 302
Free with snacks provided!
Nellie McAdams, Director of Farm Preservation Program at Rogue Farm Corps. Nellie will explain how to find farmers and craft a lease. http://www.roguefarmcorps.org/
Greg Malinowski, farmer at Malinowski Farms and Washington County Commissioner. Greg will share his experience in leasing portions of his land to farmers for over 20 years. http://www.friendsoffamilyfarmers.org/
After months of negotiations, OFFC and the Center for Food Safety have reached a proposed settlement with the two GE alfalfa growers that had sued to overturn Jackson County’s ban on genetically engineered crops. The settlement still needs to be approved by the County and federal court, but we expect it will be.
Under the settlement, the Jackson County ban passed by voters will stand and the federal court’s opinion upholding the measure will not be appealed! This will leave the will of Jackson County voters in place and protect family farmers growing traditional crops from contamination by genetically engineered crops. (more…)
Oregon-based young farmer and photographer Nolan Caldish takes beautiful photographs, often pertaining to agricultural subjects. Several of the projects up on his website, both independent and commissioned feature vegetables, fruits, and land use issues. The three images above come the from “A Land Built By Gravity,” which explores America with stark realism, the intersection of the land and its people. Give it a peek!
Rogue Farm Corps is now accepting applications for the 2016 season.
FarmsNext is a full season entry-level residential internship program that combines hands-on training and skills-based education in sustainable agriculture. As a student intern, you will live and work full-time on a host farm, receiving up to 1,500 hours of on-farm training and learning in-depth skills from your mentor. Your residential farm training experience is combined with farm tours, classes, and discussion circles throughout the region, as well as opportunities for independent study. Student interns are exposed to a vast array of knowledge and expertise by engaging in the daily life of vibrant, agricultural communities.
The FarmsNOW apprenticeship program is for those with some farm experience who are seeking mastery in the art and business of sustainable agriculture. Hands-on training, classes, seminars, and guidance on farm business development will help you gain the skills to plan, design, and run integrated farming systems on your own. This full-immersion program is designed those who have completed the FarmsNext internship program, or have two years of on-farm experience. You will live and work full-time on a host farm, receive up to two seasons of on-farm training, and learn in-depth skills from their mentor farmer.