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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The Greenhouse Project:

    During the last five years of presenting hydroponic enterprise training, sponsored by the USDA Risk Management Agency, the main request received by Microfarm has been for hands-on training in a commercial environment. Microfarm has moved closer to fulfilling this need. Most commercial operations as a matter of course do not allow visitors for fear of plant damage and disruption of operations. When operational, Microfarm's greenhouses will act as hands-on labs for those wishing to develop skills in year-round vegetable and fruit greenhouse production. Although these classes will be aimed at those wishing to pursue a career in agriculture, most classes will also benefit the home gardener.

    This Greenhouse Project will allow us to complete and start-up two commercial sized greenhouses to provide hands-on, on-site training in year-round greenhouse production while providing local food banks with fresh fruits and vegetables. These greenhouses will be kept under continuous operation so that participants can engage in planting, plant care, and harvesting of various food crops at any time throughout the year. Classroom time will be scheduled to expand the educational experience. In addition to providing training for farmers and would-be farmers interested in growing food for their families and/or for income, this project will allow us to reach out to home schooling parents and established schools interested in teaching where food comes from and how it is produced. School age students will benefit in making practical applications of mathematics, science, English, and business.

    One greenhouse will be devoted to cool weather crops such as lettuce and herbs and to aquaponics. The second greenhouse will be devoted to warm weather crops such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, citrus, and strawberries. Due to the environmental benefits of hydroponics in water savings, herbicide elimination, pesticide reduction, and fertilizer management, most crops grown in the greenhouse will be in hydroponics. We will conduct seminars on hydroponic growing of popular crops such as lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers, and seminars on developing business plans for hydroponic operations. Several hydroponic systems will be showcased using both standard and organic methods. (See Hydroponics under Farming Info.)

    Those wishing to learn hands-on greenhouse practices will have the opportunity to come in at any time of the year to participate in seeding, transplanting, fertilization, pest control, pruning, and harvesting. Those wishing to develop hands-on experience in Farmer's Marketing will also have that opportunity. As Microfarm is a nonprofit operation, food produced in excess of costs will be donated to local food banks and shelters. In addition to supplementing Microfarm's off-site seminars, this greenhouse will be available for tours and educational training for local schools and home school students and their parents.

    Once in production, the Greenhouse Project will be self-sustaining, with the produce of the project being sold to cover expenses. Once fully operational, these greenhouses should be producing 19,000 pounds of lettuce and 12,500 pounds of tomatoes and peppers annually. Classes and on-the-job training will prepare participants to market produce through farmers markets and to retail establishments, with the excess donated to local food banks and shelters.

    This project will benefit the community as a whole by

  • Strengthening families by showing them how they can work together to produce their own food and income,
  • Enhancing educational opportunities for students to learn practical lessons through hands-on training and putting classroom lessons into practice,
  • Improving Oregon's livability by providing safe, healthy, nutritional food through local food systems,
  • Growing food in hydroponic greenhouses which provides water savings, reduces stream pollution, and protect crops from e-coli and salmonella contamination,
  • Providing economic stimulus to the local economy through purchase of materials needed for construction and continued operation, and
  • Providing fresh nutritious produce to food banks and shelters to help them accomplish their mission.

    If you would like to help in the completion of this project, please see "Help Us to Help Others" under "About Us."

     

green marble line

Some photographs courtesy of Oregon Dept of Agriculture.

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