Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to the Garden

September is blessing us Portlanders with some lovely weather and we at the RSFP are finally getting back to the farm after a long summer. All kinds of kale, tomatoes, radishes, beets, and baby carrots have been harvested over the past couple weeks and enjoyed by students and Reed community members in the dining hall...

Here are some photos from this past Saturday, our first full work party of the semester!

Radishes ready to be picked

A lone eggplant appreciates the dappled sunlight

Ripening tomatoes

Kale aplenty

Check out the crowd!

Hard at work...

Another fun day at the farm, sure to be repeated this weekend. Come down and help us out this Saturday!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring for Break


Sunday was a great day at the farm. We secured four more raised beds and covered them to expedite the growing process. We planted raspberries, more radishes, and a whole bunch of microgreens for our future salad mixes. We also planted some rosemary and thyme. A friendly neighbor has offered to give us some of her old Strawberries and some ornamentals. Thanks to all who came out to help and all who have shown support. It was rainy back and forth, but we had a great time playing musical layers with our clothes and chasing geese. Below are pictures from the day:
Can you see our little raspberry canes? I just learned that I've been spelling raspberry wrong for my entire life. Did you you know that there was a 'p' in there?

Little Rosemaries and Thymes along the border of the test plot. The smell so nice!

We stuck around late after warm soup, bread and chocolate for lunch!

Like a family. With more covered beds...

Axcelle, Sam and Homestead

Baby Radishes. Hello baby radishes :)


Come visit us someday soon. This week we'll be finishing soil amendment and covering our raised beds and planting in all of them. Get ready for a harvest in 2-3 weeks. YES! Come visit us sometime soon.
Love, The Farm <3

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Farm and Your Spring (Break for some of us!)

Want to come out to the farm in the next week? Here is a schedule of events so that you can get involved. Please check back regularly for updates. Yay!




Come on out for a sign-making party. Please bring any food that you have to share and come to enjoy good company and make pretty signs!

Love, The Farm :)

The Reed Farm!
Reed Sustainable Food Project
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd
Portland, OR 97202
267 738 7396

Entrepreneurial Leadership Development

Hey Hey,

So we are applying for an Oregon Campus Compact Learn and Serve Grant and we see this as a good opportunity to share some of our educational plans in more detail. This portion of the project would likely take on the name Reed Sustainable Food Collaborative. Please Check out the Educational Initiatives statement below:

Community Needs:
The Reed Sustainable Food Collaborative (RSFC) Educational Initiative seeks to fulfill the needs of the Greater Portland Community for increased community food security, youth entrepreneurial training, and Green Collar Job opportunities for low-income youth through the management of a sustainable urban agriculture business. Given the conditions of the current economic crisis, it is more necessary than ever that our inner-city youth develop the entrepreneurial skills necessary for creative innovation and economic self-sufficiency in a time of scarcity. These are skills that we all possess, but rarely learn how to access. It is also more necessary than ever that our urban youth have access to nutritious and natural food and that they occupy an integral position in their local food value chains.

By combining educational initiatives in sustainable urban agriculture and sustainable economic activity in the form of entrepreneurship, the RSFC seeks to nurture the latent leadership skills that all youth possess, but that few feel an adequate sense of agency to fully exercise. The opportunity for youth to grow food from seed, and the opportunity for youth to grow businesses from nothing but a small investment are perhaps the greatest two opportunities to cultivate a sense of agency in our urban youth.

Project Proposal:
The RSFC educational program would have three integrated functions:
1. Educational Day Programs
2. Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship Program
3. Production Farm Program

1. Educational Day Programs (entrepreneurship and financial stability)
The Educational Day Programs would consist of small 2-3 hour-long school trips that would be focused on a variety of skills such as gardening, composting, cooking, preserving, nutrition and food policy, with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and creative approaches to financial stability. These programs would involve guided activities, and guided work time on the farm. The target group would be youth aged 6-16. During the school year these programs would be weekend and after-school programs. Programs would utilize the skills of RSFC Educational Program staff, and other members of the community would be able to participate through SEEDS work-study and volunteer programs. Youth would be sought out through local schools, afterschool programs, and local youth-oriented non-profits.

2. Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship Program (comprehensive business, management and leadership)
The Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship program would seek 15-20 gifted high school students aged 16-18 who exhibit notable leadership capabilities but might not otherwise have employment during the school year or summer, and who might not have opportunities to explore their leadership capabilities. Programs would run for three-month intervals: March-May, June-August, and September-November. During the school year, work would be on a smaller scale and occur after school and on weekends. Adapting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model to the urban environment, entrepreneurial apprentices would each be responsible for a small CSA plot in a customer’s backyard. This ‘CSA In Your Backyard’ model would allow CSA members to purchase a custom vegetable share to be planted and managed directly in their backyard by an entrepreneurial apprentice. Each entrepreneurial apprentice would be responsible for: planning and planting the garden; harvesting a weekly share of vegetables and leaving it at the member’s home; submitting budgets for any expenses incurred through the initial planting and construction stages; providing invoices to CSA members, tracking inventories, and tracking surplus harvests to be sold through the channels of the central RSFC production farm (surplus harvests would be paid back to CSA members on a per pound basis). Entrepreneurial Apprentices (#1 above) would also be encouraged to consider community involvement as an integral part of their business by encouraging CSA members to participate in the ‘plant a row’ campaign of the Oregon Food Bank. Apprentices would then dedicate a portion of their backyard CSA plot to weekly soup kitchen donation, traveling to donate the vegetables themselves.

With the use of Reed College Facilities, RSFC staff would provide extensive training to Entrepreneurial Apprentices in business management skills including the use of Microsoft Excel for financial purposes, Microsoft Office and Quickbooks. Training would also include a focus on client communication and public speaking, long-term business planning, and creative group leadership. The Reed Farm would serve as an educational site for the development of agricultural skills. All Entrepreneurial Apprentices would divide their time between their individual backyard CSA plots and the main production farm—emphasizing the integrated purposes of individual entrepreneurship and cooperative entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial Apprentices would be guided in all capacities necessary for running their own small business, and diligently supported throughout the process by RSFC staff.

Apprentices would be paid a weekly salary. Taking a cooperative-competition approach to entrepreneurial development from the microfinance model introduced by Muhammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank , Apprentices would be encouraged to use each other for support and as learning resources with a structure of communal incentive and responsibility: With a total of 15-20, Apprentices would be assigned to groups of five and given bonuses each month based on an evenly divided numerical assessment of the group’s aggregate profit generated (mainly from surplus), customer satisfaction, financial diligence and innovation. At the end of each 3-month session the entire group of Apprentices would receive evenly divided bonuses based on the aggregate assessment of the above factors. This sort of cooperative incentive model for competition would encourage collaboration and creative innovation while also emphasizing the importance of an entrepreneur’s responsibility to themselves and their community.

3. Production Farm Program
With the Production Farm Program the Reed Production Farm would be run by RSFC staff and Entrepreneurial Apprentices. The majority of farm output would go directly to the on-campus buyer with a pre-established farm account: Bon Appetit Management Company. Staff and Apprentices would work together to suit Bon Appetit’s needs on a dynamic basis. Additional output would go to a weekly Farmer’s Market stand at the PSU Farmer’s Market where a rotating group of apprentices would be supervised by a staff member in selling farm products and informing members of the community about the activities of the RSFC.

Because the RSFC is a business on it’s own, the project would remain relatively self-sufficient after the initial costs of developing and implementing the program through it’s early stages. The RSFC campus organization would provide continuous member input and volunteer opportunities. The Reed alumni community would serve as a valuable resource for curriculum development and business advisement. Reed’s community outreach organization, SEEDS, would provide oversight and volunteer management and matching. And the on-campus theme house Homestead House would serve as an onsite annex to the farm community, inhabited by instrumental members of the RSFC staff. All of these elements would ensure the longevity of the program during and after the peak of grant funding.

RSFC Community Education Priorities
The RSFC seeks to combine community involvement with socially responsible entrepreneurship, community food security education, and youth leadership development. By deploying Entrepreneurial Apprentices into the Portland community to run their own small urban agriculture businesses, we are reminding them and their clients of the importance of small local businesses and supporting local economies. We are also integrating this emphasis with an emphasis on the importance of community food security, environmental responsibility and urban food systems. The connection between small-scale sustainable urban agriculture and small-scale sustainable entrepreneurship is extremely powerful—the essentials of human physical survival paired with the essentials of human economic survival.

The RSFC also seeks to create Green Collar jobs where the human spirit of entrepreneurship is nurtured alongside the human spirit or community responsibility and cooperation through creative leadership. Even if the RSFC Entrepreneurial Apprentices do not all go on to run their own businesses, they will be better equipped to manage their financial, educational, and community responsibilities to others and themselves. Our intention is to foster in Portland’s youth a sense of agency that will allow them not only to lead their generation, but to share the knowledge that each of us is already capable of leadership.

To conclude, this project links the two Learn and Serve America priorities: campus-community connections and student leadership development. Our apprenticeship programs are specifically designed to foster and enhance leadership skills for participating students. In addition, RSFC Educational Programs would be a great asset to the Reed College campus community and the greater Portland community, and serve to bring the two closer together in an attempt to model creative solutions to the challenges of our 21st century economy, environment and urban landscapes. This program can serve as a replicable model for campuses and youth in the community throughout the state of Oregon and even the nation.

Thanks for taking the time to read about our mission. If you want to get involved, support us, or find out more about what's going on please contact Sam Biddle:

Thanks for your support and interest!

Love, The Farm :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Take a look!

Some pictures for a little perspective on change at the farm. We know spring is here because our adorable little seedlings are popping up to say hello. Stop in and say hey to them too!

Hello Seedlings!

Sam inspecting the soil.

Our baby lettuces...

Kaileigh prunes a prolific Kiwi vine

What the farm looked like mid-December

We moved a lot of dirt on a lot of different days. Now we're really strong.

Sheet mulching in November! The early days...

All grown up!

Watch the Reed Farm Grow!


Welcome to the Reed Farm Blog: part of the Reed Sustainable Food Project. Here you can watch the farm grow and find out how to get involved.

A little background on the farm:

The Reed Farm was started as part of the Reed Sustainable Food Project. It was a joint effort of Sir Benjamin Hartman and Samuel LF Biddle, pioneers, homesteaders and Quaker school graduates and companions (well they actually didn't really know each other yet, but it worked out pretty great). Sam and Ben both had separate dreams of student grown food finding its way into campus soil (in the spirit of the Old Reed Community Gardens) until they were united at the fabled student activities fair of September 2008. On this great occasion, the two gentle farmers found a common vision in student run production and education farm. Behind the wise and watchful eyes of the Doyle Owl the idea took flight with great support from the Student Senate, Bon Appetit dining services, and the College Administration ( especially from the Physical Plant, Student Activities, Residence Life and SEEDS offices! Special thanks to Towny, Serilda, Kristin and Fawn).

What followed was the acquistion of a small sweet quarter(ish) acre of land next to the school's farm house neighboring the beautiful canyon. In November 2008 the Reed Sustainable Food Project broke ground for the first time on a beautiful autumn Saturday. It was apparent that the farm had made many friends in it's infancy when over 25 volunteers showed up to help double dig and sheet mulch the entire plot with loving care. Soon the farm would fashion beautiful raised beds out of old hardwood flooring from a Hawthorne street renovation, fill them with dirt and prepare them for covered planting during the early months of the spring growing season.

During this period of transition the Reed Sustainable Food Project was generously supported through student body funding and the graceful allocation of funds from the student senate. The Farm was also very lucky to meet such great support from Bon Appetit Management Company GM Debby Harris and Executive Chef Mark Harris. They even offered to buy anything that we had to sell! What more could a farm ask for?

In early March 2009 the first seeds were planted for the new season. They are currently toddling in our fertile soil and at the hands of our gentle farmers preparing for a projected first harvest in early April. Come by and take a look at our baby seedlings! Volunteers have been working hard to beautify the space and prepare for the fickle early season Portland weather. But farmers can be sure that it's easier to grow vegetables in a Portland March than it would be on the East Coast. Thanks for that Pacific Ocean!

In the works are a number of grants (USDA and Oregon Campus Compact) to develop agricultural and entrepreneurial training programs for Portland's youth to practice running small businesses through a CSA and CSA in your backyard model. Reed College's office of Residence Life has also been supportive in creating a theme dorm on campus at the Farm House that will now be known as Homestead House. Homestead House will serve as an annex to the farm and residents will be intimately involved with the daily responsibilities of running a homestead style farm. The Farm hopes to find its way into your heart and bring you together with your friends over some good food, sun, sweat and dirt.

Come on out to our Saturday Work Parties or contact us about other ways that you can help. We could use a lot of help, so any skills that you have to share are more than welcome. We have fun doing whatever we're doing and we laugh a lot. Please come on out and keep checking back here for updates on the freshest news from the farm!

To join our mailing list send an email to with the subject: 'iwannahelp'. Thanks for your interest!

All of our Vegetable Love to You!

The Farm