Natural Harvest Farm
You may contact the Site Liaison, Liz Belz-Templeman for more information.
Natural Harvest Farm was the first property placed under the protection of OSALT. Located in Canby, the farm serves as an incubator for new farmers on a site with mature fruit and nut trees.
Will Newman and his wife, Susan Clark, co-founders of OSALT, share some of their history with the site:
It is 1975. Susan Clark is concluding the forced sale of her small farm in Philomath, Oregon and her Appaloosa horse, Patches, and finishing her Masters degree in Education.
Will Newman II is the Director of CISCO, the Chicano-Indian Study Center of Oregon, near Corvallis.
They meet and find they have much in common. As is sometimes the case, this leads to marriage.
Fast forward to 1988. After a 13 year, continent wide search, Sue and Will purchase an abandoned 20-acre farm near Canby, Oregon. They plan an organic operation, growing vegetables and fruits for local markets. At the suggestion of a friend, they name it Natural Harvest Farm. Because nothing has happened on the farm for the last 3 years except harvesting hay, they are able to qualify for organic certification their first year and start growing fruits and vegetables immediately, living in a trailer while they develop the farm and rebuild the dilapidated farm house.
Out of their 13 year odyssey in finding and buying Natural Harvest, in a civilization that no longer understands the basic link between healthy farms and healthy societies, Sue and Will found Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust (OSALT) in 1996.
By 2000 they are able to pay off the mortgage on the farm and donate it to the Trust, retaining the right to live on the farm for the remainder of their lives.
The year is 2001 and Sue and Will have been more and more in demand as teachers and mentors, and have little time for running the farm themselves. For the last decade they have been working with young growers at Natural Harvest, exposing them to the realities of small-scale agriculture and sustainability, so this next generation of growers can move on to their own farms with the knowledge and experience they need to farm successfully.