Rogue Farm Corps relies on a network of farmers and educators across the state of Oregon to create an immersive learning environment for our interns and apprentices. The main component of our curricula is training alongside a host farmer day in, day out. To augment the learning that happens on each student's host farm, we branch out into the region's agricultural community to tour farms, as well as learn concepts and methods from practitioners across vast areas of expertise. Here is a sampling of some of RFC's educational partners in the four chapter regions.
Central Oregon is a bustling hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Right near the Cascade Lakes highway, Smith Rock State Park, the Deschutes River, several prominent volcanoes, it’s easy for the visitor to find anything to do ranging from world class rock climbing, paddle boarding, skiing, mountain biking, kayaking, the list goes on!
Not to mention the enthusiasm for good craft beer and delicious food to go with it. There are more breweries per capita in Bend than anywhere in the country! The food movement has steadily been gaining traction for years, and the region now boasts 3 farmers markets in Bend, and one for each of the several surrounding towns. The restaurants crave locally grown food to satisfy the increasing demand from customers, and are eager to support local farmers. Several organizations, including Locavore and the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance strive to support the local food system in many different ways and are worth checking out. Central Oregon is prolific in diverse farming operations and has a strong lean towards meat production operations. Due to the short and unpredictable growing season, farmers will often state that if you learn to grow food in Central Oregon, then you can do it anywhere.
The spring and fall, while often cold at night with occasional snows, are quite warm during the day. The dry climate allows for extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the year, with extremely hot temperatures in July and August. But don’t be fooled- it HAS snowed in July! Bring your jacket.
Central Oregon Teaching Farms
The Portland Metro area is home to about 1.8 million people, almost half of Oregon’s population. It spans three counties and is located at the mighty confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. The Willamette Valley is known for its deep, fertile soils caused by the Ice Age Missoula floods which deposited many layers of sediment in the valley while helping to carve the nearby Columbia River Gorge. There are countless opportunities for outdoor recreation nearby including Mt Hood National Forest, Mt St Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, coastal beaches and forests, and the agricultural & wildlife refuges of Sauvie Island. Portland is known for its commitment to sustainability, its dynamic food culture, and its support for local agriculture. There are around 50 farmers markets in the Metro area and a thriving CSA. Beyond the larger cities in the area (Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham) a multitude of smaller towns anchor the surrounding agricultural landscapes providing vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat, eggs, dairy, and nursery crops.
Portland metro TEACHING FARMS
The Rogue Valley is a region of southwestern Oregon along the Rogue River and its tributaries. Home to the cities of Medford, Ashland and Grants Pass, the valley forms the cultural and economic heart of Southern Oregon. Whether you’re after world-class theater, mountain biking, river rafting or wine tasting, the Rogue Valley has it all.
Nestled between the Coast Range, the Cascades and the Siskiyou Mountains, the Rogue Valley is relatively dry when compared to Portland and Eugene. The summers are hot and arid, with temperatures often in the 90s during the day, and dropping into the 50s at night. The mild winters and sunny climate allow for a lengthy growing season, and the region is famous for its tree fruits, vineyards and herbs.
The local food movement in the Rogue Valley started as a homesteader’s economy, and has since grown to be a major player in the region. Between the 3 cities there are 5 farmers markets, and many of the surrounding small towns have their own. Countless farms surround and serve the area providing mostly vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat, eggs, dairy, and nursery crops. Many local restaurants, schools and businesses also pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients. There is a lively Farm-to-School program and an active Food Systems Network that both work to push local foods to the forefront.
Most of the host farms in the Rogue Valley Chapter are growing on a scale of 1-5 acres, primarily vegetables and seed crops with some tree fruits and meat production. Many sell through farmers markets, wholesale accounts, and the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative. Some farms are remote – an hour outside of Ashland and 15 minutes from the nearest small town – but the neighborhood culture is strong and the people are generally friendly and open. Everybody has their favorite swimming hole, so pack a good sun hat and your swimsuit!
Rogue Valley TEACHING FARMS
The South Willamette Valley is a vital agricultural region known for berries, vineyards, grasses and grains, and year-round vegetable production. Bound by the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Coast Range to the west. Valley residents and visitors have access to the beaches and rocky cliffs of the Oregon Coast, the towering Douglas firs and clear rivers of the Willamette National Forest, as well as the high country of the Three Sisters Wilderness.
The region is comprised of the metro area of Eugene/Springfield that has its own distinct cultural flavor with a thriving art and music scene and smaller, rural communities including Veneta--home of the Oregon Country Fair, Leaburg and Walterville--on the beautiful McKenzie River and the communities of Cottage Grove and Creswell. Throughout this abundant valley you will find world class rivers, trails, food, and craft beer.