LANGLOIS — For the past decade the women at Valley Flora Farm have been harnessing horses to get the farming done, but are now ready to harness the sun itself to support climate-friendly farming.
And they could use the public's support.
According to Zoë Bradbury of Valley Flora, the agriculture and the food system contribute up to one third of all human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions.
From left: Cleo, Betsy Harrison, Abby Bradbury, Pippin, Zoë Bradbury and baby Uma.
"Which means two things," Bradbury said. "One, food production is a huge problem when it comes to climate change, and two, as farmers, this is an important moment to do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint."
Valley Flora aims to do something about its impact by working with Sol Coast Consulting and Design to put a 12 kW array of solar panels on the roof of their barn this year to power the farm's infrastructure, including a walk-in cooler, irrigation pump, climate-controlled storage rooms and propagation greenhouse.
"We've dreamed of solar power at Valley Flora since we built our packing barn 10 years ago," Bradbury said. "We have spent the past year trying to raise the funds for the project and are within striking distance of our $47,000 goal (thanks to grants and individual donations). We are currently in a popular vote race against 100-plus other farms around the country to win the final grant funds for our project through a program called Cultivating Change."
The goal is to wean the farm from the grid and shift to 100 percent homemade, renewable energy.
"Generating our own solar power on the southern Oregon coast will help reduce the farm's carbon footprint, mitigate climate change, and make the farm more resilient in the face of power outages and natural disasters," Bradbury said.
Cultivating Change awards grants to the top five highest vote-getters on its website. Valley Flora Farm is asking the public to help them receive a grant by voting online daily for their project.
"We are running at about 13th place right now and the voting ends Jan. 31," Bradbury said.
To vote, type “Valley Flora” into the search bar at: https://cultivatingchange.org/vote-2019/
"We’d like to be leaders in clean, green-energy-powered farming right here on our beloved southern Oregon coast," Bradbury said.
About Valley Flora farm
Betsy Harrison, Abby Bradbury and Zoë Bradbury make up the Valley Flora trio. As a mother-and-two-daughter team, they cultivate over 100 different crops on their family farm along Floras Creek, with the additional help of a year-round employee, a seasonal delivery driver, farmstand cashiers, and part time summer harvest help.
Harrison moved to Floras Creek in the early 1970s, where both Abby and Zoë were born and raised. After college, Abby returned to the farm and started up a salad greens business in 1997, known as Abby's Greens. She developed a loyal following of chefs, retail stores and other local salad devotees. Ten years later, after working for various organic farms and non-profits, Zoë and her two draft horses came home to Floras Creek to expand the farm. In 2008, Valley Flora was born, a three-way farming collective. Together, the "Florettes" feed over 100 Harvest Basket members through their community supported agriculture program, and help keep the pantry stocked at dozens of local restaurants, retail stores, and foodbanks.
For more information, visit www.valleyflorafarm.com/