Mahonia Gardens

    Farm and Ranch Resiliency Award Application

    Our small farm is located on a plot of land that we lease in Sisters. When we first started cultivating, our one acre felt huge. Within a couple of years, however, we had filled the area fence-to-fence, and our ability to grow our business felt capped. We then turned our focus to fine-tuning our techniques, in order to yield as much as possible from our small plot. 

    While our efforts were successful and we did see improved yields and profits, we were still faced with the question of how to achieve an income level that would allow us to save money and eventually retire, not to mention provide a comfortably life for our children. 

    Of course the natural inclination is to scale up, expand the growing area. But at the property where we lease, there is nowhere else to expand. Purchasing land is a seemingly impossible dream for us given our resources, and in many ways our land lease is a nearly perfect arrangement.

    Finally, in 2019, we decided to start building a farm stand. With a farm stand, we could make retail price on more of our produce, open for business every day of the season, provide produce from other local farms, and perhaps eventually save time by not selling at farmers market.

    We spent much of 2019 building the farm stand, which we call “The Stand,” and in May of 2020 we opened.

    The Stand immediately exceeded all expectations. When we first opened, we assumed we would at least still be attending one farmers market. Quickly we realized that we wouldn’t need to do that– Most of our veggies were being sold through the farm stand.

    Additionally, we never expected how much produce and other products we would be able to source from other farms, and the camaraderie that would result. On top of that, our income was no longer limited by the amount of veggies we could grow, because we could make additional (albeit modest) profit, by selling other farms’ products. 

    I like to think that The Stand has not only helped with our own farm resiliency, but also with the resiliency of our local food system by providing a new outlet for other producers to sell. We are now a few weeks into our second season with The Stand, and it’s going great!

    Thank you for your nomination and consideration, and thank you for hearing our story.

    Photo courtesy of Mahonia Gardens

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