Microfarm Sustainable Research and Education

Promoting profitable, sustainable small farming and local food systems for a more secure future.

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19940 SE Webfoot Rd
Dayton, Oregon 97114-8828
(503) 868-7679
 
Office Hours 8 AM - 5 PM
Monday through Friday

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About Us:

Located in Yamhill County, Microfarm Sustainable Research and Education was organized as a 501(c)3 non-profit in 1992 at suggestions from several extension agents who were concerned that certain segments of the farm community were not being reached. Microfarm Research, Inc., as we were known then, was organized to conduct research of a social and scientific nature to aid rural residents living on small acreages to achieve a greater degree of economic independence. This objective is reached by researching and testing various successful enterprises and adapting them to small scale farm operatons. The goal is to reduce dependence on outside income, reducing the need for excessive funds, machinery or education, and not requiring great strength and endurance, makiing rural economic independence available and attractive to women and handicapped persons. The results of this research are disseminated through our website, publications, workshops, and seminars. Our original name of Microfarm Research was changed to avoid concerns that we might be doing animal research and to better stress our interest in sustainability. Our emphasis is not only the sustainability of the environment, but the family, small acreage farming, and the community.

Our Mission:

Our mission is to promote profitable, sustainable small farming and local food systems for a more secure future.

We wish to educate and train farmers and would-be farmers in sustainable and environmental growing methods and skills, which would allow them to make their farms and their families more self-sufficient. Our emphasis is on food farming, whether it be by growing organically or non-organically in the soil or by hydroponics or aquaponics.

Our Vision:

A balanced, rural/urban society where farmers and consumers come together to ensure the profitable production of food and other crops while maintaining ecological balance and ensuring a safe, abundant, healthy food supply for themselves and future generations.

Our Core Values:

  • We believe that rural landowners have the right to make a profit on their land, but they also have the obligation to do so in a sustainable manner that will preserve the land and its food-producing capabilities for the future.
  • We believe that small family farms promote unity in and a better quality of life for the farm family.
  • We believe that small family farms are an integral and important part of a whole community, necessary to support our business and agricultural economies.
  • We believe that small family farms are a necessary link between rural and urban residents, providing food, other necessary commodities, and a wider view of the world.
  • We believe on-farm experiences develop a sense of responsibility in children and teach them to respect themselves, other people, animals, and the environment.

Our Educational Program:

Over the years, our seminars, held in various locations of Oregon and Washington, have drawn participants from six western states. Attendees at theses on or t wo day seminars or small farm conferences were able to choose from up to 16 concurrent topics being taught through the day. In addition to our own staff, we have drawn upon our unofficial collaborations with the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, the Oregon Dept. of Water Resources, Oregon State University, OSU Extension Service, Washington State University Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation offices, various county Soil and Water agencies, agri-business and local growers. Many of these collaborations are on a friend-to-friend basis going back to before Microfarm was formed.

We have twice been contacted by the Risk Management Agency of the USDA who recommended that we apply for funding, including funding for a small farm conference on organics and greenhouse management. In addition, RMA has granted us 5 years of project funding to train agricultural producers in hydroponics as an agricultural alternative.

Microfarm has taught hydroponics at the Evergreen Space Camp in McMinnville and has partnered with RMA outside of our funded projects to make presentations at a RMA Regional Conference in Billings, Montana, the USDA National Conference in San Diego, California, and at RMA Partnership Conferences in Kansas City, Kansas and Atlanta, Georgia. Microfarm also received a donated 10'x20' booth space for 5 years at the Oregon State Fair for educational purposes, and at the 2008 State Fair, Microfarm was the lead presenter in the Sustainable Technology section.

Through the Internet, we have been able to reach out to gardeners, beginning farmers, and students to help them with their project.

Needs to Address

Oregon has lost 4% of its farms and its farm acreage since 2002. That amounts to 1,480 fewer farms and nearly 700,000 acres of agriculture production. 89% of those lost farms were less than 50 acres in size and are the ones most likely to be involved in CSA's and Farmers Markets. Due to our aging current farm population and the obstacles facing younger people interested in agriculture, the number of those producing our nation's food is decreasing. Our interest is in teaching young people how to enter and be successful by working smarter, farming for food and profit, whether in dollars and family security or for health and enjoyment.

Greenhouse and nursery crops are Oregon's #1 agricultural industry, bringing in $989,483,000 in 2007 mainly producing ornamental crops. The slump in the housing market has left many with the desire and need to diversify. Meanwhile, food bank inventories are at record lows. The Oregon Food Bank distributed 1,000,000 boxes of food last year for the first time in its history. What in the 1980's amounted to 230,000 emergency boxes given out in a year has risen to 270,000 boxes per month. 29% of Oregon's children are in households that lack a consistent supply of food with one in five Oregonians on food stamps.

The small size of our current greenhouse prevents us from satisfying the need most requested by our seminar participantsÉhands-on experience to go along with the practical aspects they are learning. Although a number of our participants have gone on to start farm businesses, a greenhouse where they can apply what they have learned would be of huge benefit. This would increase our capacity to reach more people while aiding our community.

Help Us to Help Others:

Microfarm Sustainable is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, organized and recognized by the I.R.S. and the State of Oregon as a public benefit, which makes donations by the public tax deductible.

Our major project at the moment is the construction of two greenhouses to provide hands-on training in year-round food production and the donation of produce to local food banks and shelters. Unfortunately, this project is $25,000 short of being ready as a year-round educational facility.

Like all nonprofits, Microfarm's existance is dependent upon the support it receives from those who share Microfarm's values and vision. We invite you to partner with Microfarm to make our mission succeed in helping others.

  • Since the amounts we charge for our classes do not come close to meeting overall expenses, we welcome any and all monetary donations.
    • Donations can also be made by credit card through PayPal. See the link at the left of this page.
    • Checks should be made out to "Microfarm Sustainable" or "Microfarm Sustainable Research and Education" and mailed to Microfarm Sustainable, 19940 SE Webfoot Road, Dayton, OR 97114-8828.
  • Opportunities do exist for the donation of different items ranging from the sponsoring of snacks during seminars to our current need for a newer vehicle and office/storage trailer. Under current tax laws, items put into service by a nonprofit can be deducted at full value whereas those resold can only be deducted at the sale or auction price.
  • Our need for volunteers will increase as our greenhouse project moves forward.
  • Several intern opportunities will be considered once the greenhouse project is ongoing.

The Greenhouse Project

     

 

green marble line

Some photographs courtesy of Oregon Dept of Agriculture.

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