MEET YOUR FARMER – HANLEY FARM
Historic Hanley Farm dates back to 1857. In 1982, Mary Hanley passed the farm to the Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS). The farm encompasses 37 acres, historic structures and several large plots. Hanley Farm is a Jacksonville treasure and a very special place that preserves and honors the people who settled the land, and their agricultural methods.
Three Jacksonville people are continuing to make history at Hanley Farm. In 2009, Ken Snoke created the Jacksonville Farmers Market which brings local farm produce to the city of Jacksonville every Sunday from June through September. Two years ago, Ken began farming a 1-acre plot at Hanley Farm. His goal, within the larger Hanley Farm, was to grow vegetables for a Jacksonville Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Recently, Ken turned-over the Jacksonville Market and CSA to two enterprising young farmers: Nick Mahmood and Eliza Worcester. Nick and Eliza have an intern working with them, Jack Barthell.
Eliza has a degree in Natural History and Ecology. She worked on a small-scale organic farm in Arizona and did not like the farm’s reliance on machines or its mis-utilization of the soil. It led to her interest in “permaculture” and Rudolf Steiner’s bio-dynamic methods of farming, which focuses on the importance of enriching and preserving soil structure and fertility.
Nick has always been a lover of the outdoors. His college degree is in Alternative Education. Prior to coming to Hanley Farm, Nick taught wilderness programs at Prescott College in Arizona and, for 10 years, led Outward Bound programs. Nick’s love of nature led him to be more connected to his food source, and to establish means to survive in a post-petroleum age. His agricultural pursuits began in Arizona where he used natural techniques like rain catchment, a process whereby rainwater is collected in large containers and used to water the soil. Nick also helped establish a farm in California using alternative farming methods.
Nick and Eliza are experimenting with sustainable farming using alternative farming methods on their 1-acre plot at Hanley Farm. They want to promote life in the dirt, and believe that no-till agriculture fosters this best. Nick and Eliza believe that tilling pulverizes the network of life that is the foundation of healthy topsoil. Tilling works for fast plant growth but kills the life of the soil for long fertility and makes plants dependent on added fertilizers. They have established two separate growing areas at Hanley Farm, one no-till area and another tilled so they can do side by side comparisons of the growth.
Eliza’s parents believe in what she and Nick are doing. Both sets of parents have moved to southern Oregon so they can provide financial and moral support for their kids’ farming pursuits. Nick and Eliza have a vision to undo the damage that modern agricultural methods have done to the soil. They believe that “health begins from the ground up, literally in the dirt, and the more life there the better. The more life, the more diversity, the healthier our future looks.”
They support local businesses and believe we need to focus more on community. Nick and Eliza trade with other businesses for bread, mushrooms and other items that they cannot produce for themselves. They manage the Jacksonville Farmers Market and strive to populate it with a diversity of local crafters and farmers. Nick and Eliza also have a small plot of land at their Jacksonville home where they raise dairy goats and grow vegetables for themselves and their parents.
Nick and Eliza’s produce includes corn, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, peppers, chard, beets, cabbage, onions basil, broccoli, kale and carrots. These vegetables are available to you through the Jacksonville CSA on a month-to-month basis for $120 per month. You get a $30 value of vegetables and fruits each week through October. To sign up for the CSA, contact Eliza at firstname.lastname@example.org. They also have a website: www.jvillemarket.com and a facebook page.
In late July, Nick and Eliza opened their farm stand at Hanley Farm. Look for the Covered Wagon circa the early 1900s. Jack will run the farm stand, which will be open Monday evenings from 4-6 pm.
Nick and Eliza invite you to come to the Sunday Jacksonville Farmer’s Market on the Courthouse lawn from 10-3, join the Jacksonville CSA and visit the Hanley Farm stand and support our local farmers! Click here for a great article and photos of the Jacksonville Farmer’s Market!
Linda Davis moved to Jacksonville three years ago, with her husband Tom and her dog Ellie. As a retiree, she loves Jacksonville and is passionate about supporting local businesses. Linda is a Thrive Board Member and volunteer. Previously, in her work life, Linda was a rail safety consultant.