The CSA Season is About to Begin! Here are Some Recipe Ideas for Your Early Season Boxes

The CSA Season is About to Begin! Here are Some Recipe Ideas for Your Early Season Boxes

An example of a late spring share.

An example of a late spring share.

We couldn’t be more excited to kick off our 2017 CSA in just under a week. Despite the slower start to our farm season in the Portland area due to a long, cold, and very wet winter, our crops are looking great in the field and are almost ready to be harvested for our first round of CSA boxes. We’re still taking new members for our CSA! If you’d like to sign up, just fill out our registration form here!

During our first month of CSA shares, we expect shares to include: peas, spinach, head lettuce, kale, chard, radishes, hakurei turnips, garlic scapes, salad mix, mustard greens, kohlrabi, parsley, and cilantro.

Later in the summer, we look forward to: basil, tomatoes, eggplant, hot peppers, sweet peppers, onions, summer squash, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, beets, and more!

Our members will receive weekly emails updating them with what exactly will be in their boxes.

Here’s a few recipe recommendations to think about trying in the coming weeks:
Garlic Scape Pesto
Ingredients

  • 1 pound garlic scapes, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • Directions

    • Blend the garlic scapes, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper together in a food processor until smooth.

    Spring Radish Salad
    Ingredients

    • 1 bunch of red radishes, about 1 1/2 cups finely chopped (choose a variety that suits your taste)
    • 1/2 bunch of parsley, about 1/2 cup finely chopped
    • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 pinch of pepper
    • 2 pinches of salt
    • Directions

      • Wash the radishes and remove the stems and any long roots. Finely cube the radishes into tiny pieces.
      • Wash the parsley and gently shake it or pat it dry. Finely mince the parsley.
      • Place the cubed radishes and minced parsley in a small salad bowl.
      • Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss gently.
      • Add the olive oil and toss again.
      • Taste the salad and make adjustments to your liking. (I sometimes add a little bit more lemon juice and salt).

Join Our Team! We’re Seeking A Summer Camp Educator

Join Our Team! We’re Seeking A Summer Camp Educator

About the Position:
The Summer Camp Educator reports to Schoolyard Farms’ Education Director Brooke Hieserich. As Camp Educator, you will collaborate with all staff and interns to set-up, clean-up, lead and evaluate daily onsite activities engaging campers in exploring the farm, participating in farm tasks, preparing healthy snacks, farm arts and crafts, scientific inquiry, and active play. Prepare for a rewarding summer of hard work and an in-depth understanding of our our mission-driven summer camp program from registration to Friday afternoon’s celebration.

This is a part-time, seasonal position with flexible hours based at our Candy Lane Elementary School Farm in Milwaukie, OR. You must be available for a 4 hour shift/day between 8:30am-6pm, Monday-Friday, from July 10-September 1, 2017. The exact time of the shift will be determined during the interview process based on your schedule. You also must be available for a paid one-day training the week of June 26th, and a paid one-day intern and volunteer training the week of July 5th.

Who You Are:
You love working outdoors and instilling curiosity, wonder and play in children through outdoor education. You are passionate about Schoolyard Farms’ mission and are eager to teach children the benefits of connecting to the outdoors and healthy living. You are an experienced camper or camp counselor who feels comfortable taking the initiative and leading a group of campers on your own. You are a great team builder who can inspire your crew to deliver excellent service while you effectively delegate tasks. You are known for being punctual and professional in your manner.

About Schoolyard Farms:
Since 2012, Schoolyard Farms (SYF) has worked tirelessly toward its mission to build healthy communities by teaching kids how to grow nutritious food that goes from their schoolyard to their plate. In this time, SYF has worked in partnership with two Title I schools in the Milwaukie-area to build and manage working farms on their schoolyards. SYF empowers students through weekly lessons in food-production, nutrition, science and more, and increases their access to fresh produce through monthly tastings of fruits and vegetables. SYF engages the broader community through a farm-based summer camp, a field trip program that brings neighboring schools to their school farms, and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that makes the school-grown produce available to community members throughout the Portland-metro area. In 2016, SYF: taught 1,178 students where their food comes from, how to grow it and cook it; put 1.5 acres of school land into fruit and vegetable production; harvested over 6,000 pounds of produce from their school farms; sampled Oregon-grown fruits and vegetables to 700 students at three schools each month; hosted 15 field trips with neighboring schools, making the school farms accessible to 450 more students per year; provided summer camp to over 60 youth; and had 109 volunteers donate 1,595 hours to help build a healthier community.

Responsibilities

  • Provide for the safety and care for the unique needs of campers outdoors
  • Lead interns in bringing camp curriculum to life for high-energy groups of 1st-6rd grade campers including activity planning, prep, leadership, clean-up, and evaluation
  • Enthusiastically role model healthy eating, active living, appropriate attire and appropriate use of technology
  • Enforce Schoolyard Farms’ Food Safety, Farm Safety, 1st Aid, and Emergency Protocol
  • Commit to consistent attendance, timeliness, and finding own transportation to and from site. You will collaborate with staff to plan and track their hours
  • Promote a safe, inclusive, diverse and fun learning community at Schoolyard Farms

Qualifications:

  • Must pass a criminal background check
  • Current Red Cross Adult and Pediatric First Aid+ CPR certification
  • Current Foodhandlers’ Card
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Experience in farm and garden-based education
  • Experience in summer camp: as a camper, counselor, staff and/or leader
  • Experience leading children and youth in outdoor education programs
  • Experience farming and gardening in the Pacific Northwest
  • Enthusiasm to take initiative and learn new things
  • Enthusiasm to observe, improvise, give and receive feedback, and grow!

Compensation:
The Summer Camp Educator is a part-time, seasonal position that is compensated at a rate of $13/hour.

How to apply:
Submit a cover letter and resume to Brooke Hieserich at brooke@schoolyardfarms.org by June 9, 2017. All applicants must be available for a training the week of June 26 and intern training on July 5, 6 or 7. Applicants invited to interview will be asked to submit a proposed work schedule during the interview. Thank you for your interest in working with us!

People of color, people with disabilities, veterans and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Schoolyard Farms is committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities. Schoolyard Farms is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in its employment decisions. Schoolyard Farms provides reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees as required by law. Applicants with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation at any point in the employment process.

A Letter from our Executive Director: Stepping Aside this Fall

A Letter from our Executive Director: Stepping Aside this Fall

Our ED, Courtney Leeds, on the Candy Lane Farm. Photo by Meaghin Kennedy.

Our ED, Courtney Leeds, on the Candy Lane Farm. Photo by Meaghin Kennedy.

After five of the most fulfilling years of my life, I’ve decided to move on from my role as Executive Director of Schoolyard Farms this fall.

This transition comes at a good time. Schoolyard Farms has spent the last five years building its capacity, refining its programs and rooting itself in the community. Now we are ready to dive deeper into our existing partnerships and expand our programs, helping even more kids live healthy, productive lives.

We’ve accomplished a lot in five years
Five years ago, Justin Davidson and I had some big ideas about how we could improve school food, increase kids’ health and strengthen the local food system. With a lot of ambition and heart, and little to no resources, we started Schoolyard Farms.

That first year, we brought one class out to the Candy Lane school farm. We had eight CSA members, mostly family and friends, and no staff. In 2016, we taught 1,178 students where their food comes from, how to grow it and cook it; broke ground on our second school farm at New Urban High School; harvested over 6,000 pounds of produce for 50 CSA members; sampled Oregon-grown fruits and vegetables to 700 students at three schools each month; hosted 15 field trips with neighboring schools, making the school farms accessible to 450 more students per year; provided summer camp to over 60 youth; and had 109 volunteers donate 1,595 hours to help build a healthier community. 1 in 4 of the students we worked with went from liking vegetables “a little” to “a lot”.

We plan to accomplish more in the next five years, and beyond
I will continue to serve as the Executive Director until a replacement is in place in the fall of this year. We will begin searching for a successor now and accept applications until the right candidate is found. We are broadcasting our search far and wide and are committed to finding a leader from a diverse finalist pool. Preference will be given to candidates rooted in the Pacific Northwest with demonstrated ability to lead and grow a small organization.

I plan on staying onboard through the transition and then in a part-time or volunteer capacity beyond that. Also in the fall, I’ll begin pursuing my Masters in Public Health at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health in order to advance Schoolyard Farms’ good work through program design and evaluation. I’m excited about the next phase of leadership at Schoolyard Farms.

You’ll find more information about the Executive Director position and how to apply here.

Thank you for all you do each day to contribute to a more flourishing and healthy environment for our kids. It has been my distinct honor to have worked alongside you in this collective effort, and I look forward to more of the same throughout this transition.

All the best,
Courtney

Join Our Team! We’re Seeking Our Next Executive Director

Join Our Team! We’re Seeking Our Next Executive Director

About the Position:
Schoolyard Farms seeks an exceptionally motivated and experienced nonprofit professional to lead, strategically guide and build on our existing programs in the Portland-metro area. With previous experience working with and fundraising for underserved communities, and managing a small organization, this individual will be able to bring a diverse skill set and viewpoint to the discussion table around social and racial justice. Reporting to our Board of Directors and working closely with the Program Manager, the Executive Director will lead, develop and implement fundraising strategies to grow Schoolyard Farms’ base of donors with a primary focus on raising funds from individuals, foundations and corporations that have a local or regional approach to their philanthropy. Overseeing the staff, and supported by the SYF Board, the Executive Director is the organization’s chief spokesperson and external relationship-builder, and is responsible for coordinating and directing daily operations.

This is a part- to full-time position, depending on your level of experience, based in our Portland, Oregon office. Our ideal start date for this position is August 14th, 2017. Special events may sometimes require weekend or evening work.

Who You Are:
You are passionate about Schoolyard Farms’ mission and are eager to convince both stakeholders and prospective supporters of the urgency and impact of our work. You are an established front-line fundraiser. You are an outstanding and adaptive communicator. You are a great team builder who can inspire your growing staff to deliver excellent service while you effectively delegate tasks that will improve operations. You are skilled at researching and identifying funder priorities and reflecting those interests in your conversations with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. You demonstrate expertise in development strategies and techniques, including cold prospecting, cultivation, closing gifts, and delivering exceptional stewardship. You possess strong organizational skills, an exceptional attention to detail, and are comfortable juggling multiple projects, tight deadlines and a rapid pace of work in a growing organization. You bring a customer service orientation to funders and your colleagues, anticipating and responding promptly to their requests and needs. You are highly independent and can work remotely from your team. You are motivated by the idea of helping people invest in our children, and leveraging Schoolyard Farms as their investment vehicle. You have a commitment to diversity and inclusion with a desire to work for health equity and social and racial justice. You preferably have experience connecting philanthropists to underserved communities, and bring a significant level of maturity and sensitivity to discussing the needs of underserved communities with funders.

About Schoolyard Farms:
Since 2012, Schoolyard Farms (SYF) has worked tirelessly toward its mission to build healthy communities by teaching kids how to grow nutritious food that goes from their schoolyard to their plate. In this time, SYF has worked in partnership with two Title I schools in the Milwaukie-area to build and manage working farms on their schoolyards. SYF empowers students through weekly lessons in food-production, nutrition, science and more, and increases their access to fresh produce through monthly tastings of fruits and vegetables. SYF engages the broader community through a farm-based summer camp, a field trip program that brings neighboring schools to their school farms, and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that makes the school-grown produce available to community members throughout the Portland-metro area. In 2016, SYF: taught 1,178 students where their food comes from, how to grow it and cook it; put 1.5 acres of school land into fruit and vegetable production; harvested over 6,000 pounds of produce from their school farms; sampled Oregon-grown fruits and vegetables to 700 students at three schools each month; hosted 15 field trips with neighboring schools, making the school farms accessible to 450 more students per year; provided summer camp to over 60 youth; and had 109 volunteers donate 1,595 hours to help build a healthier community.

Responsibilities
Furthering Strategic Agenda Through Leadership and Vision:

  • Grow the organization by leading SYF development efforts
  • Achieve ambitious fundraising goals by growing and stewarding a portfolio of donors and grant funders utilizing a moves management approach
  • Partner closely with our current funders and local partners to build a diverse pipeline of donors consisting of individuals and institutions
  • Organize site visits, cultivation events, and donor engagement opportunities that foster not just philanthropic investment, but programmatic partnership with donors
  • Create communication and media opportunities in the Portland-metro area
  • Provide senior-level leadership as you grow Schoolyard Farms. Partner closely with the Board of Directors and Program Manager to build a top-notch direct service program that aligns with Board policy and staff resources in fulfillment of SYF’s mission

Ensure operational excellence:

  • Cultivate an organizational culture characterized by a commitment to quality, service, outcomes, and our core values of teamwork and respect
  • Provide clear direction, leadership and motivation to the operating/program team
  • Ensure effective administrative management of SYF, including managing finances, office space, and signing all notes and agreements entered into on behalf of the organization

Qualifications:

  • At least five years professional experience in a non-profit leadership capacity
  • Proven record of soliciting and closing gifts from major donors, foundations and corporations
  • Sensitivity and diplomacy in working with and fundraising alongside local nonprofit partners
  • Thorough understanding of development philosophies, concepts and techniques, including prospect research, cultivation, solicitation, negotiation and closing gifts
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion with a desire to work toward health equity and social and racial justice
  • Knowledge of or interest in food systems, national service, education and related issues
  • Strength in multi-tasking, goal-setting, prioritization and project management
  • Clear communication skills to enable collaboration with local and remote staff
  • Ability to work independently, setting your own schedule and creating and executing engagement opportunities
  • Must excel in a deadline-driven, high-accountability role and be self-motivated to succeed
  • Familiar with a current CRM software e.g. Salesforce or Raiser’s Edge
  • College degree, or equivalent work experience
  • Knowledge of Oregon’s philanthropic community preferred

Compensation and Benefits:
Schoolyard Farms pays salaries that are competitive with nonprofits of our budget size and geographic location, and offers generous vacation time.

How to apply:
Applications will be accepted until our ideal candidate is identified. To be considered, submit your résumé, cover letter and salary requirements to hello@schoolyardfarms.org

People of color, people with disabilities, veterans and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Schoolyard Farms is committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities. Schoolyard Farms is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in its employment decisions. Schoolyard Farms provides reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees as required by law. Applicants with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation at any point in the employment process.

Summer (camp!) Reading: A List of Greatest Hits

Summer (camp!) Reading: A List of Greatest Hits
How to read along with campers at Schoolyard Farms

Campers make terrariums after afternoon story time.

Campers make terrariums after afternoon story time.

Greetings Schoolyard Farms friends and families: what are you reading this summer? As we count down the last days of the school year together, it’s so fun to look forward to summer reading, those books we stuff into a beach bag, road trip kit or backpack that accompany us on vacations, picnics, and adventures around town, alike.

Stories and storytelling have an important role at summer camp, too. Each morning, camp staff set up Camp Headquarters, or “HQ,” for our camp community. And you’ll find prominently displayed on our easel bookshelf “library” under the shade of the canopy a few special selections: stories picked out for the day that connect to the theme of our farm activities, or are just nice to have around for a “campfire” moment, or both. As we are celebrating our 5th year of summer camp this year, we’d like to share with you a few of our recommended reads that have become like trusted friends to our camp programming. Follow along with us this summer as we explore our Greatest Hits of children’s literature celebrating plants and plant parts, the seasons, farm life, ecological stewardship, and outdoor play.

1. Seeds. A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston

We love everything by Dianna Hutts Aston! Along with A Seed is Sleepy, check out A Butterfly is Patient, A Nest is Noisy, etc for their beautiful and accurate illustrations. While some campers prefer to sit quietly to listen or volunteer to turn the pages, others enjoy silently acting out the stories we read. I have been treated to many an interpretive dance performance of A Seed is Sleepy on the farm. See what your family makes of the largest and smallest seeds on the planet, or the epic way seeds are adapted for travel!

2. Roots. Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens

No library of children’s literature would be complete without a Trickster story. In “Tops and Bottoms,” Hare tricks Bear into going into business, and lazy Bear learns the difference between the stems and leaves we eat (the “tops”) and the roots we eat (the “bottoms”) the hard way. Don’t try to pull a fast one on our campers: these farmers can’t be fooled.

3. Stems and Leaves. A Leaf Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas

A leaf is a leaf–
A bit of a tree.
But just try to guess
What else it can be!

The rhyming pairs or couplets that explore the many facets and uses of leaves in A Leaf Can Be are a pleasure to read out loud. Campers giggle at “air cleaner/ earth greener” and, in no time, are making up their own language, poetry, and creative uses for leaves, themselves.

4. Flowers. Miss Rumphius by Barbary Cooney and The Boy Who Lost His Bumble by Trudi Esberger.

Meet Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady/guerrilla gardener/ecological steward who believes “you must do something to make the world a more beautiful place.” Miss Rumphius is a must-read and must-have for summer camp, and Cooney’s Roxaboxen has a special place in our wild, earth-caring, place-making hearts as well. Along with the flower theme, pollinators must get their due: The Boy Who Lost His Bumble is the tale of of a boy who loves his garden, and misses the bees he used to observe and delight in there. Don’t you hope he gets his bumble back? I hope you read this title with a kid, and find out.

5. Fruits. A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds by Jean Richards.

What makes a fruit a fruit? And where do seeds come from, anyway? This book helps young farmers grasp the botanical concepts behind plants and plant parts, and serves as a great lead-in to planting seeds or harvesting fruits to investigate what’s found inside. What a wonder to participate in the completion of a plant’s life cycle! Could your family save seeds this year to plant in your garden, once again?

6. So. Much. More….

Finally, this list is not complete without mention of A Curious Garden by Peter Brown or ANYTHING by Byrd Baylor. What farm and garden-based tales do you recommend we build into our camp library at Schoolyard Farms? Visit the Story Corner during our Free Family Fun Day on the Farm + Plant Sale June 3, 2017 11am-2pm to talk farm camp, kids’ books, and perhaps do a little literary interpretive dance with our growing community. Register a growing reader for Summer Camp 2017 today!

Assessing Your Soil For the Growing Season

Assessing Your Soil For the Growing Season

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The growing season is upon us. Preparing your garden beds every spring is crucial for growing great vegetables all season long. This includes building up soils with amendments and compost, and preparing a loose, aerated seed bed.

Our soil is depleted every year as vegetables and weeds leach out nutrients. Professional growers keep this in mind every season as they re-assess their crop rotations–we try not to plant heavy feeding crops twice in the same place in our fields. Instead, we do our best to alternate between heavy feeders, light feeders, and legumes, which give nitrogen back to the soil. We take into consideration the needs of our crop plan for the upcoming season and amend our soils accordingly (for instance, we might add more fertilizer before planting broccoli than we would for kale). Steve Solomon, author of Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades and founder of the Territorial Seed Company, breaks vegetable needs down in the following categories:

Low-demand vegetables:
arugula, beans, beets, carrots, chicory, collard greens, endive, escarole, fava beans, herbs (most kinds), kale, parsnip, peas, Swiss chard

Medium-demand vegetables:
artichoke, basil, cilantro, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, lettuce, okra, peppers (small-fruited), potatoes, pumpkin, radish, rutabaga, scallions, squash, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini

High-demand vegetables:
asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe/honeydew, cauliflower, celery/celeriac, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, peppers (large-fruited), spinach, turnips

Winter weather can be tough on soils as well. With heavy rain and snow all winter and early spring, soils can erode and lose valuable nutrient content. Cover cropping can assist in preventing this to an extent, but the best course of action is always to add at least an inch of compost to the garden bed each spring.

If you’re concerned about the nutrient content of your soil, it is always a great idea to have your soil tested at the start of every growing season. Soil tests can tell you what nutrients your soil is lacking as well as the pH of your soil. The numbers on an organic fertilizer label refer to the concentration (percent) of three major nutrients in the material: nitrogen (or N), phosphate (or P), and potassium (K). For example, bone meal has an N-P-K of 6-12-0, meaning it contains 6% nitrogen, 12% phosphate, and 0% potassium. At Schoolyard Farms, we amend our soil with compost, feather meal 13-0-0 (high in nitrogen), and limestone (neutralizes the pH and adds calcium) every season. Other organic fertilizers we recommend are blood meal, kelp meal, and bone meal.

When incorporating amendments to the soil, it is important to mix them in with a rototiller, hoe, or a shovel, then rake it smooth. Through this process of mixing your garden bed, you will also provide it with much needed aeration and loosen your soil for healthy root growth. One last gardening tip: by preparing your garden bed a couple weeks before planting, you can allow weed seeds time to germinate before you put your first crops in. This technique of eliminating weeds before they threaten your garden is called stale seed bedding.

How to Pick the Best Summer Camp for Your Family

How to Pick the Best Summer Camp for Your Family

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Attention Schoolyard Farms friends and families: what are you doing this summer? With spring break swiftly approaching and summer vacation just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for fun with a summer camp plan! Here are five tips from Schoolyard Farms to help your family find a fitting summer camp program you’ll want to grow up with and go back to year after year.

1. Location, location, location!
We’ve learned from our camp families to investigate the location of different summer camp programs around town, and find those that are easily accessible to you. Schoolyard Farms’ Summer Camp is located at our one-acre farm right at Candy Lane Elementary School in Jennings Lodge–near Gladstone, Oak Grove, and Milwaukie neighborhoods. We are easily reached by car and bus, and have even had campers (with parent permission) arrive by bike or on foot! Drop off and pick-up times matter during our busy summer schedules, and many of our families choose to go with our After-Care option and swing by camp to pick the kids up after work.

2. Consider camp costs
We know childcare costs quickly add up, and summer camp can be expensive. At Schoolyard Farms, we offer a variety of discounts and promotions to help our program fit into your budget. Look for our sibling discount, a discount for returning for multiple sessions, and a rainbow of coupon codes linked to email blasts, our facebook page, and our outreach and tabling events around town! This year, we are offering partial scholarships to those campers who apply, and you can also donate to our scholarship fund during registration.

3. Weighing in on camp size and scale
Each session, a new set of schoolyard farmers come together to explore our one-acre production farm site from the rhizosphere to the (rainwater catchment) roof. We’ve heard from our campers and camp families that our small size and scale set us apart: campers sign up with siblings and friends, reunite with old friends, and make new, lasting friendships at Schoolyard Farms because our program is built around a hands-on, small group model with a small staff to student ratio of 1:10. While we are always looking to grow our programming, we are committed to keeping this aspect of our camp experience special. How does a camp’s size and scale serve you?

4. Specifying Camper Needs
At Schoolyard Farms, we get the coolest campers. We’re sure of it! Our summer camp attracts all kinds of kids: kids who need outdoor play, kids who need to touch and taste and smell and see, kids who need to dig in the dirt and even kids who need to do camp dishes (it’s amazing: you’ll see!) In picking out a summer camp, reflect on what best serves your campers’ needs and what programming is available to accommodate them: are they more comfortable signing up with a friend? (Check!) Are they suited to small-group learning with other campers their own age? (Check!) Do they enjoy active play as well as calmer, hands-on crafts–outdoors all day? (Check, check, check!)

5. Celebrating Camper Interests
Last but not least, your campers’ interests will ultimately help your family find the best fit for you. Summer camp falls during that special time of year when kids can explore their interests, hone new skills, reconnect with nature and try new things in a fun and safe context. The options in the Greater Portland Area for summer camps are vast indeed. Is your camper interested in experiencing the flavors and textures of farm-fresh food? Would they like to try their hand at planting seeds, sketching in their farm journals, or counting the honey bees that visit a raised bed or row of flowers? How would they enjoy playing games like Snake in the Grass, Lemonade, or Eagle Eye? How would they enjoy meeting a local chef, beekeeper, or succulent enthusiast? You and your family can come by our Family Fun Day on the Farm on June 3rd, from 11am-2pm to see how Schoolyard Farms might strike your campers’ fancy.

Good luck out there! We look forward to seeing you on the Farm this summer. Register for Summer Camp at Schoolyard Farms today!

Direct Markets Mean Stronger Food Systems

Direct Markets Mean Stronger Food Systems

Buying your food direct from the producer is hugely beneficial to your local food system! “Direct markets” describe the exchange of food from producers directly to the end consumers. This means doing your grocery shopping primarily at farmer’s market, farm stands, or joining a farm share program instead of buying from big-box grocery stores.

Building Sustainable Communities
When we emphasize the importance of direct markets in our community, we help to create “local pathways” in which community members work directly to build a stronger food system. Local pathways mean significantly smaller carbon footprints for consumers, in that food is being transported from within the community rather than from producers located in other towns, states, and countries. Direct markets help to create independence within communities as they become more self-sustaining, keeping the exchange of food for money localized. By supporting our small farms and businesses, our local economies will flourish.

Helps Generate More Farmers
By buying direct, consumers help farmers receive fair pay for their vegetables instead of wholesale prices and, in doing so, help farming become a viable and more desirable career path. The more profitable our local farms become, the more our local farm businesses can grow. With higher profit margins, farms are more likely to not only stay afloat, but to thrive. This means an increase in job opportunities as well as higher wages for current farm workers.

Fresher, Healthier Food
Did you know that the food you buy at the grocery store may have been sitting on the shelf for days (sometimes many days)? Your lettuce may have been harvested a week ago, or your eggs laid 10 days earlier. This means a very short fridge life once you take it home. One of the main benefits of buying your food at the farmer’s market or joining a CSA is that you know your food is as fresh as possible. When you open your share box or buy from a farm stand, you can be certain that your radishes were harvested that morning or that your summer squash was cut no more than a day prior. Produce begins to lose nutrients as soon as it is harvested. University of California studies show that vegetables can lose 15 to 55 percent of vitamin C, for instance, within a week. This means the fresher your food is, the healthier it is for you.

Remember, supporting the production of local, organic foods is easy–we just need to vote with our dollar by buying direct! And one really easy to buy direct is to become a CSA member of Schoolyard Farms. You can learn more about it and sign up here.

Join Our Team as a Farm Field-hand!

Join Our Team as a Farm Field-hand!

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Schoolyard Farms (SYF) is seeking a part-time, seasonal Farm Field-hand for the 2017 growing season. The Field-hand will participate in all aspects of managing a small-scale production farm. Schoolyard Farms grows over 40 different annual and perennial fruits and vegetables. The produce is grown for an 85-member CSA, Head Start, local grocers and the school cafeteria. Our ideal candidate has a background in farming, and a passion for outdoor education. This position is hands-on, and can be physically rigorous. The field hand will work primarily with the farm manager, and is an integral part to the Schoolyard Farms community, working alongside garden educators, summer camp participants, students, and volunteers. We’re willing to train the right person.

Farm Field-hand Responsibilities:

  • Field work: Schoolyard Farms does most of their farming by hand. This includes seeding, planting, weeding, harvesting, bed preparations, watering, trellising, washing and packing produce
  • Small machine maintenance and operation, including weed whackers, mowers and tillers
  • Wash/pack on harvest days (Tuesdays & Wednesdays)
  • General farm maintenance: tool and equipment care
  • Produce sales and customer interaction
  • Working with youth (primarily students from New Urban High School) and mentoring summer interns from New Urban High School’s job training program

Qualifications:

  • Must pass a criminal background check
  • Demonstrated experience with some farming and gardening
  • Physical fitness and ability to lift 50 lbs.
  • Positive, can-do attitude
  • Self-motivated: farm work requires physical and mental endurance, and farm days are spent outside in any weather
  • Flexible: Farm work is dynamic, field hand must be able to shift gears quickly and efficiently
  • Collaborative: field hand must be comfortable working as a team

Preferred Qualifications:

  • At least one year farming experience
  • Experience working with children elementary to high school age
  • Owns a reliable vehicle for transportation

Position Details:

  • This is a part-time, seasonal position from April – October 2017, with an average of 20 hours of work per week
  • You will be scheduled to work Tuesday thru Friday from 8:30-1:30 pm, two days a week will be spent at the Candy Lane Farm and two days will be at the New Urban Farm. Schedule negotiable for the right candidate
  • Some schedule flexibility required for special events with advance notice
  • Hourly rate: $11

How to Apply:
Please submit a resume and cover letter answering the following questions: (1) Why do you want to work at Schoolyard Farms? (2) What prior experience do you have with farming and/or gardening? (3) What experience do you have with physical work? (4) What three attributes would co-workers, family and friends all agree that you possess? to Schoolyard Farms’ Farm Manager, Annika La Fave, at annika@schoolyardfarms.org by 5:00pm on Friday, March 10, 2017.

We regret that due to the high volume of applicants only those selected for interviews will be contacted.

Schoolyard Farms provides equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, affectional orientation or gender identity, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sex, or age.

About Schoolyard Farms:
Schoolyard Farms (SYF) is a nonprofit that creates healthier communities by teaching about and growing food on underused schoolyards. Since it was founded in 2012, we have reach thousands of kids each year through our various programs, increasing the likelihood that they’ll grow up to be healthy adults. We have a total of 1.5 acres in production at 2 schools, where 1,100 kids received hands-on garden lessons. We’ve grown 6,000 pounds of produce harvested for the community each year. Our two farm sites are at Candy Lane Elementary, our one-acre pilot farm where we host our summer camp, and at New Urban High School, our half-acre farm where we host our youth job-training program. We harvest produce from the farms for our 85 member CSA, restaurants and our partner schools. Both farms are located in Milwaukie, OR–a quick drive from downtown Portland.

Five Ways Kids Benefit from Farm Summer Camp

Five Ways Kids Benefit from Farm Summer Camp

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At Schoolyard Farms, summer is go-time! By the time your kids pack up their last day of school this June, our greenhouse, raised beds and fields will be packed full of seeds, starts, and first fruits to share. The lengthening, warming days of Spring lead to the busy harvest mornings and timeless afternoons of Summer–and life on the Farm feels right when we have our campers in on all the fun.

Let’s look forward to another season of growth together! Here are 5 ways kids benefit from summer camp, from our “farmily” to yours.

1. Summer Camp connects kids to nature. A 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation national survey found that children and teens clock an average of seven hours (and thirty-eight minutes) of screen time each day. In the bracing air and bright sunlight campers at Schoolyard Farms spend six hours a day engaged in farm ecology exploration and outdoor play. Research on the benefits of nature connection is clear: including kids in farm practices like walking the fields, testing the soil, planting seeds and pulling weeds exposes the mind, body, and spirit to balance, grounding and growth.

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2. Summer camp inspires kid creativity. Farming, gardening, cooking, and crafting in connection with nature brings out your child’s imagination in a hands-on way. At Schoolyard Farms, we provide campers with the raw materials to create: blank pages transform into camper-made nature journals, carrots harvested in the field transform into our famous carrot-citrus-cinnamon salad. We begin each morning with a story, and conclude each afternoon with reflection on the adventures we make of each day.

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3. Summer camp celebrates kids in community. Schoolyard Farms connects campers headed into 1st-6th grades this Fall with a diverse group of Middle School Intern Educators, High School Intern Educators, Adult Volunteer Educators, and even local Chefs enthusiastic to share their training, backgrounds, interests, and talents with kids in a dynamic, community-based way. All participants grow leadership skills when we put kids first, and the Farm provides lots of inspiration for the community to share in Wonder, together. We’ve witnessed lasting friendships made and renewed the Farm, and we encourage new friends and old to reunite in Headquarters (or “HQ”) this summer!

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4. Summer camp promotes healthy eating and active lifestyles. Did you know kids who participate in growing, preparing, and sharing healthy food are more willing eat it? At Schoolyard Farms, campers trace fruits and veggies in their fresh farm snacks from field to plate, learning to identify plant parts, expand their palate, and role model healthy eating choices for healthier communities along the way. We promote healthy movement and activity habits at camp by taking time to stretch, and making time to play energetic “everybody wins” summer camp games like “Eagle Eye,” “Snake in the Grass,” and “Lemonade” each day.

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5. Summer camp builds confidence, and kids take new skills home. A you ready to sign up for camp yet? Moms, Dads, Aunties, Uncles, and Grandparents alike often remark that they want to send themselves to camp at Schoolyard Farms! At our end-of-week celebrations they have also mentioned the sense of self and sense of place they’ve seen their kids take home from camp, as well as healthy food cravings, a newfound respect/fascination for bees, curiosity around cooking and gardening at home, a new set of (non-screen) games and crafts to teach their friends, and a capacity for wonder and inquiry that leads to amazing conversation. At Schoolyard Farms, we believe kids are capable and natural scientists, artists, philosophers and poets–and the work they produce is awesome. The next best thing to going to camp is sending a young person you love, and, very much like we get to do on the farm, to enjoy the satisfaction of cultivating their growth.

We look forward to seeing you on the Farm this summer. Learn more about Summer Camp at Schoolyard Farms and register here!