Contributed photo — Student Nick Conard works in the farm school’s kale garden.

Organic Farm School excels in new digs

The Organic Farm School survived its first year at its new Maxwelton Valley campus, meeting its financial and program goals, say institution leaders.

Moving to a new location is always concerning, but the success bodes well for the future, said Judy Feldman, executive director of the school.

The school was previously located in Greenbank.

“Whenever you move farms, there are always challenges since you don’t know the microclimate, the soil, things like that,” Feldman said. “That being said, we met our production goals, we did well at the Redmond Farmer’s Market and our CSAs (community supported agriculture) were successful.”

“I don’t think we could’ve predicted such a good first year.”

Students in the class of 2017 will discuss their experiences during their eight months on the island. A community discussion is 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6 at Langley United Methodist Church. Students will talk about their future plans and what they see in the future of food production. They’ll also share their personal experiences getting dirt under their fingernails.

The public is invited to the school’s graduation ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 9 at Bayview Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program begins 7 p.m. Email judy@organicfarmschool.org to RSVP.

When the Organic Farm School moved last summer, there were financial requirements that had to be met, all of which were met, Feldman said. The landowners who lease the land to the school asked the institution to raise $100,000 during the school year to prove its financial stability, which the students and staff accomplished through the farm-to-doorstep CSA program and attendance at the Redmond Farmer’s Market.

The landowners also stipulated that the school build a $50,000 reserve by the end of the year, something the school wasn’t able to do while located at Greenbank Farm.

The school successfully raised the required funds, but Feldman adds it continues to look for donors.

Contributed photo — Student Peyton Cypress harvests radishes from the early spring. Cypress plans to take what he learned at Organic Farm School to the Midwest, where he grew up.

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