Thursday, February 11, 2010

New farmer in town!

Hello! I just wanted to introduce myself as a new member of the The Very Small Farm-farm team. For those of you who don't already know me, my name is Kji, pronounced Kai.
This is my eighth year of farming in my homeland of the Pacific Northwest.
I started my agricultural career as an apprentice at Whistling Duck Farm, a beautiful ten acre farm on the banks of a tributary to the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. At the end of my first season I was hooked on farming, but ready to head back North. After a brief stint volunteering in a school garden on the bluffs of the Columbia River, I took on a winter apprenticeship at Sauvie Island Organics. One season blended fluidly into the next, and I spent the following two years working alongside Josh, as well as other great farmers at SIO.

After gleaning an abundance of knowledge in small-scale organic vegetable production under the leadership of amazing growers I was ready to take on a project of my own. In 2006 I became the Educational Garden and Greenworks Coordinator as an AmeriCorps member for the Northwest Service Academy--Mt. Adams Center in Trout Lake, WA. This was a great opportunity to apply all of the growing knowledge I had obtained, without the financial pressure of running a for-profit agricultural business. Plus, I had an opportunity to develop curriculum and teach organic gardening principles to a wide range of age groups. At this point my confidence was bubbling and I was ready to get back to a larger scale, small-scale farm scene.

This was when I caught wind that a farm manager position was opening up at a farm on Orcas Island, in the San Juan archipelago. So I packed my bags and headed North. For the past three years I have been managing Morning Star Farm, a 2.5 acre diversified vegetable, herb, berry and flower operation. We sold our produce at the Eastsound Farmers Market, through a CSA program and to almost a dozen dedicated chefs. After a good taste of "Island Life" and a solid stint in a managerial role, I decided it was time to spread my wings and migrate back south to my hometown of Portland, OR. I am excited to be back in this great town. There is so much happening in the realm of urban agriculture and I am trying to get my hand into a bit of it all.
Besides having this great opportunity to work with Josh at The Very Small Farm, I will also be doing some edible landscaping, helping out the folks at Garden Fever, volunteering as a Tree Care Team Leader for the Portland Fruit Tree Project and initiating a Matching Program, called Fresh Exchange for the Buckman Portland Farmers Market. If you are interested in getting anymore information on any of these projects, don't hesitate to contact me. Until then, I hope you stay up to date on the happenings of The Very Small Farm. I look forward to growing for you this season.

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