Elaine Elizabeth Walker & Kara Marie Gilbert, Vibrant Valley Farm
The Farm: leased 8 acres on Sauvie Island, 20 minutes from Portland, since 2015 – this is the 3rd location for Vibrant Valley Farm in as many years and they’re excited to plant roots for a while! – 4 acres planted in vegetables & flowers
What They Seed:
local, ecologically grown vegetables for the Willamette Valley and Portland area CSA members and restaurants – flowers for events and market – community awareness & engagement through place-based alternative education
Where You Can Find Them:
CSA: Summer Season CSA (June – October) with options to add flowers and Lonesome Rock Ranch meats
Retail: Pastaworks, New Seasons Market (flowers)
Feeders They Supply:
Restaurants: OMSI, Biwa, Cibo, Luce, Navarre, Reed College, Atlas Pizza, Jake’s Grill, Ruddick/Wood, Renata, PREAM, MEC
Kara and Elaine first met in the dorms at the University of Oregon. Each had found their own path to an interest in urban farming, education and social justice. After U of O, they both spent time WWOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) in South America and Europe. Kara came back to Portland to work with local schools on garden-based education while pursuing a graduate degree in Educational Leadership and Policy at Portland State University. After PSU, she worked for 3 full season at Simington Gardens in the fields and as an education coordinator. Elaine’s travels took her to a season at an educational farm in California called Pie Ranch, followed by work with San Francisco’s CommunityGrows Program in urban farms and the city’s Juvenile Hall garden project. Upon completing a six month apprenticeship at the University of California Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) Elaine landed back in Oregon. The timing was right for both Elaine and Kara to start Vibrant Valley Farm, especially given their experiences and shared commitment to educating through food and farming. For the 2015 season they moved onto an 8 acre property on the fertile Sauvie Island. This is their 3rd location in as many years and they’re looking forward to setting some roots in one spot for a while. Being on Sauvie Island brings them closer to the urban community they would like to engage on their farm.
Vibrant Valley grows for a 30+ person CSA and many Portland and Willamette Valley restaurants. Once a week they do their CSA drop at a wine shop in SE Portland, setting it up like a farm stand so members build their own boxes. They find this helps slow everyone down and increases interaction with their members.
“That’s why I love farming: you’re surrounded by people that just want to help each other out” – Elaine
“Having a network is really important” – Kara
Vibrant Valley @Vibrant_Valley