Sunday, January 26, 2014

it takes a village...

Starting a farm, like starting many a business, can be kind of an overwhelming task. In addition to all the ordinary business considerations (banking, bookkeeping, marketing, licensing) you also have to procure land, seeds, tools, and equipment. Lots and lots of equipment.

Jake and part of our pile of drip tape at beautiful Luscher Farm
At Headwaters, water efficiency is encouraged by offering free water to farmers who use drip irrigation (instead of overhead sprinkler heads). Free water sounds great, right? Turns out free water isn't free, because if you're starting out, you probably need to buy the irrigation infrastructure. When I priced out the headers, connectors, and drip tape needed to water my little 2/3 acre plot, it totalled almost $700!

That's where the community aspect of farming comes in. I'm lucky enough to work for a farmer who's been running a vegetable CSA in Portland almost since the dawn of CSAs in Portland. (Laura Masterson's 47th Avenue Farm is now primarily located in Lake Oswego, at Luscher Farm, where these photos were taken.) At the end of last season, we sorted our drip tape into stuff that was worth saving, and stuff that had too many holes to reuse efficiently. Most of the tattered lines will be taken to an agricultural plastic recycling facility, but Laura was kind enough to let me take whatever I needed to get my own farm watered.

So today, one in a series of absurdly warm and sunny January days, my husband Jake and I gathered up the drip tape we needed and stuffed it into the back of our aging but intrepid pickup, Jane. It took us about an hour and a half to roll up and stow enough drip tape to carry me through my first season of farming.

Thanks to a generous farmer and a willing husband, I'm one step closer to getting off (or should I say into) the ground!
Drip tape is expensive!

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