What is the Urban Farm Collective?
The UFC is a not-for-profit project of Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust. It is much like a community garden, but instead of having your own garden bed, you join together with your neighbors to grow food together in shared neighborhood gardens. We find it much more fun and rewarding to garden with other people; lasting friendships have formed and flourish. Our mission is to bring neighbors together to transform vacant lots into neighborhood food gardens for the purposes of community building, education and improving food security.
How do I become a member?
Simple. Participate! We have no membership fees and there is no minimum time requirement for membership. Our goal is to remove ourselves from the market economy entirely. We are organized and operated entirely by volunteer efforts, from developing high-tech barter systems to pulling weeds. Everyone gives from their own strengths and abilities — and all volunteer hours are created equal. You earn one barter buck for every hour that you contribute to the collective. Folks who contribute a few hours a week typically earn enough barter income to provide fresh, local produce to their households for the entire growing season.
When and where is the barter market?
The barter market is held every Monday, from 6pm-7pm, from June 1st-Oct 31st. The market is held at the St. Andrews church on NE 9th and Alberta, in the parking lot behind the church.
What do you do with all the food left-over fruits and vegetables at the end of the barter market?
We donate our un-exchanged food to the St. Andrews food pantry and other organizations working to prevent hunger and make a positive impact on hunger prevention and food security.
Is the produce organic?
Our standards of sustainability are such that no activity in any UFC garden may prevent that garden from being certified organic in the following season. In addition, we are attempting, through seed saving, composting and cover cropping to have a closed loop system of garden management. The less we have to depend on outside inputs, the more successful we consider ourselves to be.
Where are the gardens?
The UFC has 14 gardens in NE Portland. We are also helping some folks in SE and St. Johns to build collectives of their own. If you are interested in helping develop these neighborhoods, let us know! The critical mass is just around the corner. Both SE and St. Johns have one garden each. Check out our map!
How do I turn my land into a collective garden?
There are a few simple steps to turn your land into a collective garden:
- We require land to be at least 1,500 square feet or larger with 7 hours of sun exposure per day and access to a water source.
- The soil must text clean for lead contamination.
- Land sharer must sign our Land Share Agreement which is in place to protect the land sharer, insure standards of sustainability and provide access to the land for working members.
- UFC recruits a garden manager for the site.
- UFC adds the property to its liability insurance.
- UFC applies for a property tax exemption for the portion of the lot that is taken up by the garden.
- UFC adds the land to its website, promotes community participation and pays for the transformation of the lot.
I don’t know much about gardening. Is that okay?
Of course. We consider ourselves garden educators and are happy to have you. Apply for a garden apprenticeship and receive one-on-one instruction from an experienced, knowledgeable, UFC garden manager throughout the entire growing season.
I am an experienced gardener. How can I help?
We are actively seeking garden managers that are passionate about localizing the food supply and confident in their ability to pass along what they know about dirt and plants to the next generation of gardeners. Download a GM.Application and return it to the email@example.com today!
Can I bring my kids?
Absolutely. We believe that gardening is an excellent family activity. For younger children it provides a great environment for learning about the earth and making healthy food choices. It’s also great for teaching older kids about the environmental, social and economic impacts of the food system. To get your kids involved in our youth programming, contact Erin!