Jillian Balderson

Assistant Farm Manager
OSU Extension Teaching Farm
Central Point, OREGON

RFC Host Farm: Dancing Bear
RFC CHAPTER: Rogue Valley
Graduated: 2015

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After completing the RFC internship program in 2015, Jillian started working at Green String Farm in Petaluma, CA. She did an internship there, then stayed on to help mentor the incoming interns during the 2016 growing season.

Now Jillian is working as the Assistant Farm Manager at the OSU Extension Teaching Farm in Central Point, OR. Throughout this season she has been helping to cultivate ⅔ of an acre of mixed vegetables and insectary plantings. She farms primarily with adult volunteers, some of whom have gone through OSU’s Growing Agripreneurs program in past seasons. They are also dry farming in one corner and growing some crops for seed contracts. Right now all the food they’re growing is being donated to six different organizations that help youth or families in need. “That’s my favorite aspect, is just seeing all this get donated to people who need it… I love it,” Jillian said with a big smile.

In the future, Jillian hopes to create an integrated food forest, focusing on perennials and medicinal herbs. She also wants to incorporate education into the project, and she especially likes preschool and elementary-aged kids.

Jillian said of her time at Dancing Bear:

“you’re doing different tasks all day throughout the day… Farming is so integrative; you’re not just harvesting crops, you’re also a soil scientist and an entomologist and a mechanic… everything is so varied all the time which I love.” She said, “My year with RFC definitely cultivated that desire in me, I just love to be outside all day long and taking care of things—you’re literally taking care of thousands of beings.”

www.extension.oregonstate.edu/sorec/farms