May 29, 2013

Hello, I am Diane, an ORA member in La Grande and worker bee on the Eastern Oregon Food & Farm Guide Project. Over my last few months working on the guide, I have met many of the incredible farmers and ranchers who put local food on our table, including Rob & Linda Cordtz, of Eagle Creek Orchard in Richland, OR. Rob & Linda lost most of their crop (and income potential) due to weather this year, and I am writing to urge you to join me in a “new-fashioned barn raising” effort for Eagle Creek Orchard. Please take action right now and contribute to Eagle Creek Orchard’s frost protection fundraiser.

Here’s what happened: eagle creek rob_linda

This spring, an unseasonably warm spell in March brought the fruit trees out of dormancy and into early full bloom; then a cold front moved through the northwest United States, and temperatures dipped well into the low twenties. This hard frost killed 90% of Eagle Creek’s apricots, peaches, plums and apples which equates to a loss of more than 70% of Rob & Linda’s total yearly harvest and income for 2013.

This kind of risk and loss is reality in farming. Many smaller scale orchardists don’t have extensive frost protection equipment and have lost all or most of their fruit this year. But for those of us who are wage earners, we need to think hard about the loss of fruit–it is their livelihood.

Here’s what you can do:

Rob & Linda are being positive and innovative. They are planting flowers for the farmers market season and using this bad experience to teach people about what it really takes to grow good food.

They also started an Indiegogo online fundraiser to raise $30,000 to purchase new frost protection equipment that will help prevent another massive loss like the one this spring. Please join me in contributing to this local orchard and ensuring it’s success! They have already raised $19,000 towards their goal. There are 24 days left to contribute! Click here to read more and join me in contributing now!

Here’s why: peaches

Our support is much more than helping Rob & Linda combat future frost. This is farming internalized. Out in their field, you might note the sensitivity with which each branch is held, and the way in which the frost bitten edge of a leaf is touched. This is the understanding of our interconnectedness-human and land. Rob & Linda are stewards of the land. They have gone against the easier, cheaper methods currently available to grow fruit that truly nourishes our depleted bodies and culture.

If you want the stats, here’s why Eagle Creek Orchard’s continued existence is important for numerous reasons:

Just over 1,000 families rely on Eagle Creek fruit each week.

  • This is the only organically-certified orchard within 200 miles of Richland.
  • This is the only orchard within 100 miles of Richland.
  • Their fruit is naturally sweet, tree-ripened, and nutrient-dense.
  • School children and seniors benefit greatly from their handpicked harvests.

In the past, we would have all shown up for the barn raising, but these are different days. We can sustain Rob & Linda’s efforts and ensure their success by donating a few dollars. A few dollars from each of us will cover their costs and get them to their goal!

Sustaining and supporting the type of agriculture this will truly feed us now and into the future. Please realize your role in shifting the agriculture paradigm in a truly better direction for all.

Click here to join me in supporting Eagle Creek now! The fundraiser ends June 22!


Thank you!

Diane Lunsford, La Grande

ORA Member, Volunteer