Lease-to-Own: 1-5 acres Washington County, Near Hillsboro, Aloha or Forest Grove Centers


Land Seeker Description


My name is Joseph Vaught, I am a born and raised Oregon resident. I am looking for a small plot of land to begin a 0.5-1.5 acre intensive vegetable market farm. Some surrounding forest for edible mushroom production would be nice, but not necessary. Some building infrastructure would be ideal to start – depending on closeness to a city center/ my personal home residence, that may be negotiable. Preferably close to a city with a population of 30k+. Water rights are preferred, as well as immediate access to water via well, river etc Well rate of 30 gpm+ is ideal. 

If the landlord is also a farmer and willing to educate us as we grow the farm, that would be a huge plus.

The plan is to start with a 40+ member farm pickup only mixed vegetable CSA. The members can pick out their personal selection of herbs, fruits, flowers and veg for their weekly box to avoid receiving less than ideal boxes – ie they hate potatoes. So they don’t need to pick potatoes when they pick up their box, they can substitute potatoes for kale, onions, mix greens etc. 

We will aim for a weekly Sunday Farmers Market during the growing season in addition to the CSA.

The farm will focus on no-till, JADAM/KNF practices that also incorporate as many permaculture and water harvesting principles as possible. Cover cropping/mulching permanent raised beds on a consistent basis with mixed legumes, flowers, grasses, leaves and compost will be an essential process from day one. 

We will aim to have all plants be open pollinated/ heirloom so seed saving can become a staple on the farm. Seed breeding programs will come with time as the farm matures.

Each year will be a push to increase CSA memberships – aiming for 250+ member cap – and refining systems and target wholesale markets – local co-ops, natural grocers, schools. 

Year 5+ will hopefully begin the additional focus on innovations in hand tools and processes. Depending on the on-site infrastructure/ lease agreement, incorporating live music, seminars, how-to classes, and pop-up outdoor dinners will become a staple.

Year 7+ will begin the Innovation Competitions where techy DIY tinkerers bring bots, 3D printers and other inventions to test and compete on a test plot. Winning tools will be incorporated around the farm and hopefully sold at markets and/or made more available to other farmers.

What features of the property are essential?

Water rights. On-site sewer/ restroom - especially if no on-site living is available. Loamy soil or soil that doesn't have lots of medium-large rocks so soil improvement is easier. Fairly easy access to paved road, wide access going into property for compost/ mulch dump truck deliveries. 20 minutes from city center with population of 30k+. Preferably more than one city nearby.

Describe your farming experience

I completed a farm apprenticeship at Blue Raven Farms with Jen Aron in 2018 - in conjunction with Rogue Farm Corp for farm visits etc.
2018-2021 I took care of my personal 2000 sq ft home garden where I practiced intensive market farming and living soil practices. I practiced composting, compost tea making, mushroom cultivation and more.
In 2022 I started/ ran a very part-time ~5,000sq ft SHTF market farm for myself and my wife, a few friends and some of my immediate family. It was put to rest because the landlords were moving/ unreliable.
I completed OSU's Online PDC Pro Certification Program in June of 2023.

Are you currently farming?


What are your short term goals for the land

Year 1: establish 0.5-acre+ market farm and build 40+ member CSA. Host farm tours for members, to ensure they understand where and how things are grown. Run a Sunday Farmers Market stand. Make/ purchase small infrastructure: wash-pack, cool-bot walk-in, tool storage, caterpillar tunnel(s) for season extension
Year 2: Push marketing campaign to increase CSA membership to 100+ - at Farmers Markets, media outlets etc. Open new land for more production - increase to 0.75-1 acre under production - use cover cropped/ winter killed cover crop beds for long season crops - tomatoes etc. Create permanent perennial flowering hedgerows between plots for beneficials life and cut flowers. Potentially bring in large water storage vessels for rainwater catchment.
Year 3: Push to increase CSA membership to 150-175. More mobile/ low input infrastructure - caterpillar tunnels. Reinvest all profits into company. Start apprenticeship/ volunteer program.
Year 4-5: Focus on streamlining all processes including: training, touring, education, harvesting techniques, value added products - teas, tinctures etc

What are your long term goals

5-10 years is heavily contingent on lease to own/ living on site. If not on site, then much harder to actualize.
Year 5: If possible, open up more land - max out at 5-10 acres. 2.5 acres under vegetable production for CSA and wholesale, and 2.5 acres for livestock production (namely meat birds, turkey, and some layers), 2.5-5 acres for perennial fruit production: cane fruits, shrubs, fruiting trees. Plant in a permaculture, food forest, way and utilize silvo pasture techniques to help introduce livestock and intercropping, swales etc to the farm.
Year 6-10: Focus on water independence via ponds, water tank storage and infiltration via swales/ keyline designs where possible. Introduce productive beekeeping practices - for profit honey/ mead/ ferment production. Focus on SIMPLE value-added products like salsas, hot sauces, smoked poultry, teas, ferments and more. Bring more agrotourism to the site with ADUs for rent, BnB opportunities, seminars, dinners, music events, how-to events, (weddings) and more.

Describe your housing needs

Onsite housing would be ideal. Two bedrooms. Garage/ work space for repairing tools etc. 20-30 minutes to downtown Beaverton or a City Center would be ideal to allow my spouse to continue working at their current job while I establish the farm. A house on 0.5-1 acre in a peri-urban landscape is ok, it doesn't have to be rural.
If no structures are possible on site for post-harvest processing, then closeness to our residence would be ideal - post-harvest cleaning and packaging can be done at my personal home.

What will you do as a farmer to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for everyone on your farm and in your community?

Yes. The only expectation I will have for everyone showing up on the farm to help/ learn is that they show up in their entirety, ready to work, learn and grow spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. I will have zero tolerance for people who do not want to work or lack consistent punctuality, lack respect for the land or animals, and show disrespect to one another.

Additional Land Seeker Details

Regions interested in farming:
5, North Willamette Valley, Portland Area

Acreage desired:
Less than 1 acre, 1 - 5 acres, 5 - 10 acres

Seeking land access by:
June 1, 2024

Interested in raising the following crops / livestock:
Beans, Bees, Berries, Flowers, Herbs, Mushrooms, Orchard/Fruit, Poultry, Vegetables, Other

Interested in these business arrangements:
Lease-to-own, Lease with option to purchase, Lease for trade, Partnership, Other

Interested in these growing practices:
Organic, Not Certified, Biodynamic, Dry Farming, Season Extension, 7

Date when this profile was last modified or created:
March 9, 2024

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