Impressed by Uproot
Being on the board of directors of the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market and a farmer in the valley for 30 years, I was asked along with Terri White of Runny Mead Farm and Peter Salant of Salant Family Ranch and meat producer, to take a tour of Uproot farm. Uproot is a member of the Growers Market and we felt it was important for us to check out the farm and rumors that have been arising.
Upon entering the property you could see why neighbors might have some concern. There was a building going up, under construction, with open trenches and lots of mud. Being on a hillside and in a burn scar, one would be concerned. I also noted that the entire runoff was being taken care of with grassy berms and catch swales, and a plan to move forward. There was a state official there from the Agriculture Department working on a Confined Animal Feeding Operation. The CAFO program mitigates the problem of waste water by pumping it back to the fields. We asked him some questions about the farm and he was very impressed by the owners Krista and Sonia, for taking ownership of the problems they are having and trying to deal with them in the best way possible.
I have been irrigating out of Talent Irrigation for 30 years and I know for a fact that Talent Irrigation District does not tolerate any pollution into their ditches. It is clear to me that this is not happening. Chickens and hogs are being moved to different areas of the 20-plus acres of their property and they are staying away from riparian areas. The owners have very good knowledge of the business and laws of animal husbandry.
We also took a look at their cannabis grow site. We could see why the neighbors across the valley could be upset. Like most neighbors in Jackson County who live next to or in sight of a grow site, there is a problem. The owners are aware of this problem and are planning on cleaning that area up, taking down greenhouses and replanting that area.
Like any new farm, many plans are tried, some work and some do not. This valley needs new farmers and ranchers, and they need to be given time to implement these plans. It does not all happen overnight. These women, Krista and Sonia, have the heart and spirit to succeed at what they are doing despite the many challenges. We, the neighbors in this community, need to support them in any way we can.
Fry Family Farm