The mission of this farm is to pursue the care of the earth, which to us means the care of earth, the care of our fellow human beings, the care of our community, the care of our family, and the care of ourselves. At Care of the Earth Community Farm, we seek to cherish and renew the earth by adhering to and going beyond national organic standards (we are certified organic by Oregon Tilth Organic Certifiers); to provide an alternative for our family that allows us to center our lives at the farm; and to provide fresh, healthy, seasonal, nutritious vegetables to members of our community, a relationship with the people and place that grow those vegetables, and access to both the practical and spiritual underpinnings of our farm. We also hope to teach others who have a sincere and active interest in learning about our farm.
Our Sustaining Members Program Supports Our Mission and Our Seed Saving Efforts
Sustaining Members support the larger and longer-term vision of our farm: creating a local, sustainable food system in which the community has access to healthy, nutritious food that is grown and raised in the Tennessee Valley in a responsible manner that assures the protection of our area’s farmlands, waterways, pollinators, butterflies and songbirds, and the preservation of our area’s vast wealth of heirloom and heritage seed diversity for future generations. In order for this to be possible, we have to have rugged seeds adapted to our climate, our pest pressure, and our disease pressure. Sustaining Members commitment to our farm allows us to dedicate part of our time to grow out small seed plots of endangered and disappearing vegetable varieties, to trial heirlooms that are not commercially available to determine their potential on our farm and for other farmers in the area, to save seed of heirloom and open-pollinated vegetables with the hopes of making them locally-adapted, to connect and build relationships with other people involved in this movement locally so that it does actually become a movement, and to help to educate others who are just learning about these issues.
There are literally thousands of endangered vegetable varieties around the world. The FAO (The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN) estimates that we have lost 75% of the agricultural varieties that were available in 1900. Most are endangered because of the continuing expansion of the industrial agriculture system and global food systems, as families worldwide become producers of food for a global system as opposed to producers of regionally-appropriate food for their family and their region. Others are endangered because of climate change and environmental destruction, war, and population change (internal migration and emigration). It is important to save these endangered seeds in their own right, as they are often intricately tied to the culture of a community or a region and particularly adapted to that region’s climate or changing climate. However, they are also important as a treasure of genetic material that could be used for future plant breeding: for creating open-pollinated, open-sourced, locally-adapted seeds.
Want to support our work? Become a Sustaining Member or Adopt-A-Seed!