PORTLAND, Ore. – Nov. 7, 2019 – A Cordova, Alaska, fish collective and a Puget Sound pastured pork producer are among the 14 farmers, fishers, ranchers, and food producers just named as new participants in the Ag of the Middle Accelerator. A two-year hands-on business and capacity-building program, the Accelerator is designed for small- and medium-sized food producers from Alaska to California seeking to grow their businesses while maintaining and expanding practices that support healthy land, water, and local communities.
The Ag of the Middle Accelerator is a program of Ecotrust, which works at the intersection of equity, economy, and the environment, in communities from California to Alaska. The Accelerator is unique among training programs because it brings together food producers from farming, ranching, and coastal communities and because it focuses on growing the social, economic, and environmental benefits of participants’ operations.
“With this new cohort, we will have worked with nearly 50 businesses through this program,” said Maia Hardy, Ecotrust’s Ag of the Middle Manager. “The Accelerator is reaching a critical mass—both as a model for building a regenerative food system and as a network for producers who are putting the health of the soil, water, animals, and local communities first.”
The new class of participants will complete the two-year program with plans for how to structure their business, land, and other assets appropriately to limit liability; tools and network connections to put the right mechanisms in place to secure appropriate credit; and a customized strategy to develop or enhance their key value propositions and reach target markets.
New this year, in partnership with the #noregrets initiative, the Accelerator will feature an intensive training on soil health, which on both land and sea represent critical opportunities to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
“It’s one of the most valuable educational experiences I’ve ever had,” said Cate Havstad, co-owner of Casad Family Farms and current Accelerator participant. “I feel like I’m getting an MBA in Ag Business and being given mentors whose missions are to rebuild our regional food systems.”
The new cohort of producers join an existing community of 34 Accelerator graduates and participants. Poised to make an impact, with operations that include Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) marketing models and burgeoning regenerative practices, the members of the new cohort are:
Alluvial Farms – Named after the soil type in which they steward, Alluvial Farms produces high-quality pastured pork for Puget Sound communities. Ecological stewardship and growing resilient food sheds is at the root of Alluvial’s production.
Bright Ide Acres – Located in Orting, Wash., Bright Ide Acres is a diverse livestock operation rotationally grazing chickens, turkeys, pigs, and lamb. Bright Ide Acres sells ethically raised meat direct to consumer and to Puget Sound-area chefs.
Cali Bison LLC – Cali Bison is a bison and hay operation located in Alturas, Calif. Stewarding 850 acres, husband-and-wife team Alan and Karen Douglass are dedicated to producing bison in a regenerative, restorative way.
Chelsea Rose Seafood – Chelsea Rose sells fresh, 100% line caught, local sustainable seafood directly from their Historic Fishing Vessel H/F/V Chelsea Rose at Newport, Ore.’s Port Dock 3 & The Barge at Port Dock 7.
Copper Valley Fish Collective – Copper Valley Fish Collective is a small business based in Cordova, Alaska. Gillnet fishing at the mouth of the Copper River, boats with 1-2 crew pick fish out of the net by hand and sell direct to consumers through a Community Supported Fishery. Copper Valley Fish Collective works with three different vessels to provide high-quality salmon to their consumers.
Deck Family Farm – Deck Family Farm is a 320-acre organic farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They raise cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, and turkeys on pastures rich in grass, herbs, and clover, providing a natural habitat that mimics where these animals' wild ancestors lived.
Fairweather Fish Co – Fairweather Fish Co is a small-scale, husband-and-wife-owned business. Individually caught by hook and line, each fish is landed and immediately processed and frozen out at sea. Fairweather Fish Co catches King and Coho Salmon, Lingcod, Rockfish, and Spot Prawns. By utilizing the flash freezer on their boat, they can ensure fresh and quality seafood to their customers.
Moomaw Family Farm – Located in Clackamas County, Ore., Moomaw Family Farm sells chicken, pork, beef, and rabbit via a 360-person meat CSA program. Moomaw believes that healthy soil is the foundation for a productive farm, a diverse ecosystem, and a stable climate.
Persephone Farm – Persephone Farm is situated in Oregon's Willamette Valley where the foothills begin to rise into the Cascade Mountains. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth since 1985 and certified Salmon-Safe, they grow over 40 vegetable crops for farmers markets, restaurants, and wholesale. The farm also hosts up to 250 laying hens. They strive to produce the highest quality, most flavorful foods, based on the belief that healthy soil creates healthy plants which sustain healthy people.
Quackenbush Farm – Stewarding 20 acres in Eagle Creek, Ore., Quackenbush Farm specializes in growing heirloom vegetables and raising lamb. As farmers and landowners, they believe it is their moral obligation to not only grow healthy food without harming the land, but also to restore it and improve its ecological function.
Rainshadow Organics – Rainshadow Organics is located 15 miles northeast of Sisters, Ore., where they have farmed for over 25 years. They have a full-diet farm with dozens of varieties of certified organic vegetables, herbs, berries, flowers, and grains on 80 acres. This includes whole wheat berries and fresh, stone-ground flour. They also offer pasture-raised, non-GMO-fed pork, chicken, eggs, turkeys, and beef.
Stangel Bison Ranch – Stangel Bison Ranch is a family-owned and -operated ranch located in beautiful Enterprise, Ore. With their bison 100% grass-fed, they work hard at providing the best possible for their animals, family, and customers.
Totum Farm – Located in Blodgett, Ore., Totum Farm believes in raising animals with integrity—that animals should be raised on pasture or in the forest (if you're a pig!), where they are free to express themselves to the fullest and live their best lives rooting, pecking, and soaking up sunshine. These first generation farmers are selling their turkey, pork, and chicken to consumers and restaurants in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Whitestone Mountain Orchard – Located in Tonasket, Wash., Whitestone Mountain Orchard is dedicated to regenerative agriculture practices and producing organic fruit that is superior in taste, freshness, and nutrition.
The new Accelerator participants embark on their two-year business and capacity-building program with an in-person convening mid-November in Portland, Ore.