A few weekends ago my family and I headed over to the Tryon Life Community Farm to celebrate in their second annual Harvest Festival. TLC farm, as it is affectionately called, is the product of an ongoing collective of volunteers and 10-15 sustained residents who have put thousands of hours into acquiring the land, staving off development, and fund-raising to pay the mortgage, all while living and promoting their mission, “to grow community learning in Portland while preserving common green space, restoring native ecosystems, and demonstrating sustainable urban density living.”
The small farm, nestled into the woods bordering Tryon Creek State Park, is only a five or six minute drive south from downtown Portland. However, the short walk from the road into the heart of the farm seemed to transport us miles and miles from the energetic pulse of the city and into an urban yeoman’s dream come true. At the harvest festival we checked out the diverse garden and agricultural techniques used on the farm, explored a sauna and adjacent open-air living space made of cob, watched the farm’s chicken tractor in action (a portable chicken coop, left in place for a day or two, will break up the soil and deposit fantastic fertilizer), met a few of the goats used to mow future garden-space, and enjoyed eating and drinking the uber-fresh/organic/local products of a successful harvest. Live music, a raffle, and a gaggle of jubilant children (and adults!) made for a legitimately refreshing, rejuvenating, and inspiring afternoon.