Headwaters Farm

Headwaters Farm hosts an incubator that helps springboard farming businesses by leasing farmland, tools, and other agricultural resources to beginning farmers for up to five years. Each farmer gets a plot within Headwaters’ 60 acres to grow for their business and receive trainings that help them improve their farming and business practices. “Two thirds of Oregon’s farmland is expected to change hands in the next 20 years. Our goal is not to make money; our goal is to make farmers,” says Program Manager Rowan Steele.

Along with assuring an ample supply of farmers in the region, Headwaters devotes 15 of its acres to pollinator habitats as well as soil and water improvement on Johnson Creek.

IMG_0909.JPG

Crops

Stem cut flowers, mixed vegetables, medicinal and culinary herbs, mushrooms, berries

Farmers Markets/Retailers

Farmers markets, restaurants, CSA programs (community supported agriculture), and other direct channels

Location

Gresham, Oregon

Established in

2012

Owned by

East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District

WHAT ARE THEY DOING FOR BEES?

Headwaters Farm purposes unused space to open up land for habitat that pollinators love, including native plants like pearly everlasting, goldenrod, Oregon grape, and aster. “Sometimes, I’ll show up and there’s one bee for every flower,” says Rowan.

They create pollinator habitats with cardboard, tarps, and solar-based soil heating that clears the way for pollinator-friendly plants. “It’s better for forage and habitat when you leave things a little rough,” Rowan adds. And it shows: bees are all over, lazing in the clovers, nesting in the ground, and drinking up nectar.

“This is the best of Western Oregon agriculture because it’s the patchwork: you have native landscape, margins, you have lots of different flowering crops that have different bloom times, you have patches of bare soil...lots and lots of little spaces for insect critters to eke out a living here.” - Rowan Steele

“This is the best of Western Oregon agriculture because it’s the patchwork: you have native landscape, margins, you have lots of different flowering crops that have different bloom times, you have patches of bare soil...lots and lots of little spaces for insect critters to eke out a living here.” - Rowan Steele

Additionally, through practicing IPM (integrated pest management), they avoid harming bees with pesticide. Their IPM workshops for incubator participants allows them to pass on these bee-friendly farming techniques to the next generation of Oregon farmers.

“Oregon farmland is perfect for bumblebees. They absolutely thrive in these environments.” - Rowan Steele

“Oregon farmland is perfect for bumblebees. They absolutely thrive in these environments.” - Rowan Steele

meet the farmers

Run by the East Multnomah Soil and Water District, Headwaters hosts 15 independent small farms that grow everything from vegetables and cut flowers to medicinal herbs. These farmers come with farming experience and a business plan that leverages Headwaters’ support to get their farming business up and running. Graduates from the program have already gone on to start successful fully-fledged farming businesses around Oregon, and more success stories are just around the corner.

Run by the East Multnomah Soil and Water District, Headwaters hosts 15 independent small farms that grow everything from vegetables and cut flowers to medicinal herbs.

Run by the East Multnomah Soil and Water District, Headwaters hosts 15 independent small farms that grow everything from vegetables and cut flowers to medicinal herbs.