Community Supported


Yesterday Jenaya and Alysha were interviewed and followed around the garden for the local news: I will link to this at the end of this post. But why did I start there and then make you wait? In a bit that didn’t make the news Jenaya was asked about the CSA and she basically knows what it is (duh she helps put together some pretty beautiful boxes every Friday!) but she didn’t know what CSA stands for and upon reflection it occurred to me that this deserved a bit of incite.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is not simply a box of farm produce received weekly (or monthly or what have you), paid for in advance.  A corner of the USDA’s website introduces the concept like this,

“Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or “share-holders” of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.”

CSA is not the value of a box (be it huge and beautiful like ours were last week, or aphid infested like a box of ours that had valid complaints earlier this season).  CSA is a different economic model than the one in the dominant food system.  CSA has a history that is rich and hard to pin down the roots of but has gained steam basically in my own lifetime (since the 1980s).  When members purchase shares they are investing in the farm and sharing in the benefits and risks associated with it.  When crops are attacked by say, flea beetles or aphids, members may see damaged crops or none at all; when farmers are attacked by viruses or life in general, members may not get their boxes; likewise when harvests are plentiful boxes may be filled with much more than current market value of individual items.  CSA is a subtle challenge to the dominant economic system, which is misaligned with nature.

What is different or similar about our CSA and others?  One huge difference is that our farmers’ livelihoods do not depend on farm revenue.  On the other hand, while in the future we hope to have a full-time salaried employee whose livelihood would not depend on farm revenue but would be more tied to it, our own farmers are investing time and hugely underpaid/volunteer labor because we take the community part pretty seriously.  Another difference is that our farm is part of a 501 C3 non-profit and can accept tax-deductible donations (Down to Earth and Lane Forest Products have recently donated much needed supplies).  Our main difference, of course, is that we are attached to a school and youth programs and have been a smaller or bigger part of that throughout the years.  But again that does seem community oriented?  This is witnessed in the news of our future: The Outdoor High School at Northwest Youth Corps is becoming Twin Rivers Charter School.

We all learn something new every day.

Farm Update August 12, 2016

farm diversity section

It seems to have been a long time since this page has had any action.  Rest assured our garden still exists and with the hard work of this summers Americorps members, including two young women from NWYC’s Out Door High School, things are starting to pop.

We are busy filling CSA and NWYC Youth Crew orders, as well as exploring new partnerships.  Last week we had a farm stand at the Whiteaker Community Market,

Whiteaker Standwhich we highly recommend you go check out, though unfortunately due to the size of our staff we may be at infrequently.

squash in kiva



Early this week we sold 20# of mixed summer squash and 12 lovely heads of frisee to The Kiva we arelooking forward to continuing  work with them.



beetle death


We are also busy fighting flea beetles, with the help of some predatory nematodes, diverse planting and trap cropping, oyster shells, and some sticky yellow paper.  Thanks to Alva and her farming tip, as well as Jaime over at Down to Earth (and Renee and Angel who supplied us with a great deal of much needed starts to help fill up some space).


There is much more to say and perhaps I will soon but for now I invite you to come out and see the farm for yourself.  We all learn something new every day.  Or at least check the facebook page which I post pictures to a little more frequently

Peace and carrots,


Hello folks!

Welcome to the 2015 Laurel Valley Educational Farm CSA!  Are you excited?  We sure are, and so grateful you are joining us.  The farm is in full swing, and you can expect Kale, Fava Beans, Radishes, Turnips, Onions, Salad, and a few more surprises for the first week.

To get things started off right, we are inviting you all to a meet and greet on Tuesday, June 2nd, at 4:30.  Come pick up your share and socialize with your farm crew, Northwest Youth Corps, and fellow CSA members.  Feel free to bring a beverage or snack if you desire. If you know anyone who would like to join the CSA, or volunteer or intern in the garden over the summer please bring them along or contact us at

In other news, I’d like to introduce Natalie Stameroff- She’ll be taking over for me this season.

Hello Everyone!

I am really excited to be growing for you this season. I have been farming, gardening, and orcharding for more than four seasons and I am ready to head up this beautiful piece of land. I grew up in central California, studied Agriculture, Food, and Social Justice at U.C. Santa Cruz and moved to Eugene in 2012 for a gardening positon. I feel blessed to be in the Willamette Valley again this growing season.


You may pick up your weekly share any time between 3:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m on either Tuesday or Fridays, depending on which day you indicated for pick up on your registration form.

FULL AND HALF SHARE MEMBERS: Your CSA subscription starts on Tuesday, June 2rd and continues throughout the season on a weekly schedule. Your last pickup date will be in the first week of October


EXTENDED SHARE MEMBERS:  your last pick up date will be Nov. 6th


Farm Pickup


Our address is 2621 Augusta St.  We are part of Northwest Youth Corps’ campus, located behind Hendricks Park in the Laurel Valley.

The farm is to the north of the parking lot. Walk through the blue gate near the building (It has a sign that says Everyone is Welcome!). You can expect to find Natalie or Isabel at the farm before 4:30 or 5.

Our CSA pickup will be housed in the Blue House- the packing shed next to the herb garden in the center of the blacktop. Your share will be under the awning in a box labeled with your name.


Your produce will be sorted into a large box with your name.  It will be individually washed, bagged and/or bundled as appropriate.  We will be striving to use minimal packaging resources. You may take the whole box home, but we ask that you return it.  You can also bring reusable cloth bags or other suitable grocery bags to carry your produce home in.

We will also have a free box.  If you receive produce that you do not think you will use, please take it out and leave it in the exchange box: If you would like more of a particular item: feel free to take it from the exchange box.

If you will not be able to pick up your share please let me know at and we will save it for you.



I will send out a weekly letter that gives you updates on the farm, volunteer opportunities, lists of expected crops for the next week, some recipes to try out, and any group wide communications.

We greatly appreciate your feedback, so please don’t wait until the end of the season to tell us how it’s going.  We grow for you!

Have a great Summer!


Hello Folks, Merry spring!

Are you still looking for a CSA? Well now is the time to join the Laurel Valley Educational Farm CSA!  We are looking forward to a great year and hope you’ll enjoy the bounty with us.

This year the CSA will run from June 1st – Oct. 2nd (18 weeks total), with an extended season option that will continue until Nov. 6th( 23 weeks total). 

Full Share: 350$      Half Share: 210 dollars.

Extended option- June 1-Nov. 6th (additional 5 weeks)-440$

The Laurel Valley Educational Farm is a Non-profit educational farm that serves at-risk youth and is within the city limits- making it the most local CSA around.  This CSA helps us to cover our operating costs, and is also one of the most affordable ones in the area.

This year, we’ll be doing a weekly pickup at the farm in the Glenwood neighborhood.  If there is a demand, we may also open up a pick up spot in west Eugene.

In order to pay and join please take a moment to fill out and read our terms and registration, and mail with check to  Northwest Youth Corps  at 2621 Augusta St, Eugene, OR.  Please write CSA in the memo.  You can also pay in person with cash or card.

If you have any questions or would like to negotiate a payment plan, please talk to me as soon as possible.


Remember folks, we have limited space and would like to fill it sooner rather than later, so act as soon as possible!  Registration for the CSA will close in May.




Hello Folks!  It may be February, but spring is in the air, and here at the Laurel valley educational farm, we are now accepting CSA members for the upcoming season.  We’ve begun the work of sprouting, planting, prepping the field in preparation for the 2015 season- and have been very much enjoying (and slightly worrying about) our early spring.   We are looking forward to a great year and hope you’ll enjoy the bounty with us.

This year the CSA will run from June 1st – Oct. 2nd (18 weeks total), with an extended season option that will continue until Nov. 6th( 23 weeks total). 

Full Share: 350$      Half Share: 200 dollars.

Extended option- June 1-Nov. 6th (additional 5 weeks)-440$


In other news, our first work party of the year will be on February 28th, and we’d love to see you folks there.  We’ll be redoing signage around the farm, doing some spring cleaning and preparing the fields to till.  (We may also be giving away free broccoli and kohlrabi starts to volunteers…)

Can’t make it?  Help us out by spreading the word about us and our mission. Talk to friends and family, wrangle them into joining the CSA or volunteering.    And stay updated!  We’ll be having plant sales, and more volunteer parties as the season progresses.

Buen provecho,


Get Your CSA ON!

Hello Folks!

I’m excited to announce that dates have been set for this year’s LVEF CSA!!

June 1-Oct.2nd – 18 weeks- 350 $

Extended option- June 1-Nov. 6th (additional 5 weeks)-440 $

CSA’s are a great way to support local food, agriculture and economies, and are a very convenient and easy way to meet your produce needs.

And guess what else! By participating in the LVEF CSA, you would also be supporting Northwest Youth Corps, underserved Youth, and the career of a certain Americorps member.

To top it off, our prices are a steal.  Shares average out to less than 20 dollars a week-for a week’s worth of vegetables.

If interested contact me at

A New Frontier

Hello Folks!

The CSA may be over for the year, but LVEF is not done!  We are now selling produce to New Frontier on 8th and Van Buren.  This week’s order: Kale, Chard, Pumpkins, Spaghetti Squash, Sage and Borage flowers.

Check them out- they are a great little local grocery with good practices and a rich history (the oldest store in town)- and are conveniently open until midnight.

Buen Provecho



Greetings from your new garden coordinator

Hello, Eugene!

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Isabel Francis-Bongue, and I am the new Garden Coordinator for the 2014-2015 school year.

Before coming to Laurel Valley Educational Farm, I worked with Northwest youth corps as a conservation crew member and as an Outdoor Oregon leader.

I hail mostly from Ohio, although I have also lived in California and in Spain.  I studied at Ohio University (OU not UO) and grew up on a small organic vegetable farm. I have an extensive practical background working with various organic/ sustainable farms. I am a cook, a conservationist, artist, forager and farmer and human.

These last two months have been exciting and overwhelming, as we’ve been bringing in fall harvests, starting school and putting the garden to bed for winter while simultaneously learning the ropes of the new job.

Our frost has been unusually late so the garden is still bountiful, but at last as cool weather comes, things have begun to slow down. And I am excited to get to know this place and the lovely people that make it tick.

Buen Provecho


Fall Is In the Air (Week XIV)

Yesterday I felt the earth turn. Dark, rain-heavy clouds rolled through the valley, and as the wind came through the trees, apples and pears dropped and burst onto sidewalks. I noticed the branches on the maples and cottonwoods were starting to tip from verdant emerald to buttery gold. Fall is coming. We are in full-on preservation mode this month as our Outdoor High School students start school this week. If you are a food preserver and would like extra Thai basil, sweet basil, chard, kale, tomatoes or spaghetti squash please email me ( your desired quantity and I will place it in your box. IMG_1735

  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatillos
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Summer Squash
  • Peppers
  • Sage Bouquet
  • Red Grapes

Backlogged with eggplant and tomatoes? Make classic Caponata, a thick Sicilian stew that can be canned or frozen for winter. Cook down tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash, and peppers with basil, capers, garlic and red grapes until soft but not completely broken down. Serve on crunchy French bread.

Celery is often overlooked for its versatility. Sautéed celery becomes a mild and sweet aromatic like onions or leeks. Make a celery and spaghetti squash gratin, with thin tomato slices on top. Throw celery leaves into soup stock with chicken or pork bones, carrots, onion, sage and garlic. If you prefer it fresh, shred celery for a flavorful salad with apple, grapes, blue cheese and toasted hazelnuts. Serve over a bed of lentils for a hearty vegetarian lunch.

At only 40 calories per cooked cup, Spaghetti squash is packed with fiber, potassium, and vitamins A & C. Halve and steam in the microwave for an even faster dinner side dish. For a low-carb feast, replace the rice or beans in Mexican dishes with spaghetti squash. Add the cooked flesh to chili, stir-fries, and casseroles to bulk up their overall veggie content. The seeds can also be toasted just like pumpkin seeds for a savory and heart-healthy snack (8-10 min at 300 F).

spag squash

Spaghetti Squash Latkes

The key to crispy latkes is squeezing as much water out of the cooked vegetables as possible.

  •  2 cups spaghetti squash strands from a cooked spaghetti squash
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh herbs (sage, basil, rosemary, oregano)
  • 1-2 Tbs. ghee, olive or coconut oil

Place the spaghetti squash strands in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all its moisture over the sink. The squash will reduce in volume by about half. With a fork, gently mix together the eggs and drained spaghetti squash. Season the batter with salt, pepper, and herbs. Heat the oil in a sturdy skillet over medium high heat. Add spoonfuls of batter and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook until golden on the other side. Sprinkle latkes with sea salt and serve. Makes 12 small latkes. Serve with applesauce and sour cream for dipping. Lehyam!    (adapted from

Stockin’ Up for Winter

Intern Hannah Read chopping tomatoes for pizza sauce


Intern Bonnie stirrin’ the pot


Happy Eating, Amélie        

Tomato Land (Week XIII)

It seems like we spend most of our harvest days deep in Tomato Land. In North Thailand we made a delicious tomato dipping sauce by barbequing skewers of cherry tomatoes for a few minutes until they started to blister and burst. In a mortar and pestle we mashed the grilled tomatoes up with some minced onion, cilantro, chilies, and a dash of fish sauce to up the umami. This was used to dip chunks of grilled pork loin and gobs of sticky rice. Keen khao!

  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Gold Nugget Pumpkin
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Chard
  • Eggplant
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet Basil
  • Sunflowers
  • Raspberry Vinegar IMG_1731

Farm intern Erica slices her  okra up for classic gumbo with shrimp. Gumbo is a great stew for using up any extra veggies, so throw in some leeks, chard, eggplant and basil alongside the tomatoes and peppers.

These Golden Nugget pumpkins are just as beautiful as they are delicious. Let them decorate your front porch for a month or two. When the cold rain starts to hit, cut it open, then steam and puree the flesh for a pot of buttery sweet pumpkin soup. Don’t forget the sour cream on top!

rasp vinegar Inside your recycled bottle is a tempting raspberry vinegar to mix into oil for salad dressings. Fruit vinegars are a great way to preserve the taste of summer in a bottle. Crush about one pint of fresh raspberries into a one liter bottle of vinegar. We used sweet and smoky balsamic, but you can also use apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar for a milder flavor that still has a hint of sweetness. Store the raspberry vinegar in the fridge.


Golden Nugget Pumpkins

Marinated Eggplant

A traditional Italian treat, marinated eggplant adds tang to sandwiches, burritos, salads, or served as antipasto with olives, melon chunks and soft cheeses. Koreans also roll marinated eggplant up into sushi alongside kimchi and pickled mushrooms.

  • 2 lbs. eggplant
  • 1/4 cup fine sea salt
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. rosemary, thyme, mint, or oregano
  • About 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 qt. jar with lid
  1. Cut eggplant into 3-inch-long but 1/2-inch-thick square sticks. Toss with salt and let sit for 4 hours to pull out the moisture, Squeeze as much of the remaining liquid out of the eggplant with hands.
  2. Bring 2 cups water and the vinegar to boil in a medium saucepan. Add eggplant and cook until tender (3 min).
  3. Drain eggplant in a colander, set a plate on top to weigh it down, and let drain for several hours and up to overnight (if overnight, cover and chill).
  4. Again, squeeze small handfuls of the eggplant to remove as much liquid from it as possible.
  5. In a large bowl, toss eggplant with garlic, chili flakes and herbs and 3/4 cups of the olive oil.
  6. Transfer eggplant to a 1-qt. jar, add enough olive oil to cover, cover with a kid, and chill overnight. Bring to room temperature to serve.

Happy Eating, Amelie