Article by: UO Undergrad in Environmental Studies and Geography
Berggren Farm is located directly next to the McKenzie River, which is the sole source of water for the residents of Eugene. The farm recognizes that all ecosystems are connected to create massive and powerful cycles. They realize that their farming techniques impact the nearby river and the cycles and organisms that the river fuels.
The farm practices sustainable techniques to create a healthy and supportive connection between humans and the environment. They use organic fertilizers to avoid ecological disasters like algae blooms, which create “dead zones” as the result of excess nitrogen and lack of oxygen. Harmful chemicals can also flow into drinking water, so the farm avoids these to protect the residents of Eugene and other farms and ecosystems downriver. Healthy farms mean healthy and clean water, which is why EWEB (Eugene Water and Electric Board) works closely with Berggren Farm.
The farm host’s fieldtrips for students in grades K-12 as well as students attending universities. Through these farm visits a connection is made between the youth and the food on their plates. Field trips involve educational activities that emphasize sustainable farming, benefit surrounding wildlife, create fresh meals for the students, and provide visits to the river. During my time volunteering, I assisted a 7th grade class that planted corn and learned the importance of organic fertilizer, observed and interacted with the goats, participated in a hike while learning how to take poison oak precautions, and removed bushes of scotch broom, an invasive species.
The farm’s internships and workshops were established to aid beginning farmers and encourage students interested in sustainable agriculture by providing them with real life opportunities. Their interns work hard to keep the farm running smoothly, while gaining educational and professional experience.
All in all, Berggren Farm strives to do more than just provide organic and local meat and produce. They have also sculpted a close relationship with the surrounding communities through the involvement of students and the community at large in the farm’s operations.
*Click photo to enlarge