Contact Info

Candy Lane Schoolyard Farm Address:
5901 SE Hull Ave
Milwaukie, Oregon 97267

New Urban Schoolyard Farm Address:
1901 SE Oak Grove Blvd
Oak Grove, OR 97267

Mailing Address:
PO BOX 14135
Portland OR 97293>

Email:
hello@schoolyardfarms.org

Schoolyard Farms partners with public K-12 schools to build working farms on their underused schoolyards. We teach kids where their food comes from, how to grow it and cook it, so they can grow up to be healthy food citizens.

Mission

We are dedicated to creating healthier communities by teaching kids how to grow nutritious food that goes from their schoolyard to their plate.

Vision

We envision a world where school-based farms teach everyone where fresh, nutritious food comes from, how to grow it and cook it. Where high schools prepare students with green job skills so they can become the leaders of tomorrow. And where small-scale farming thrives, creating viable local jobs and a healthier food-system. Through our work, the next generation will grow up to lead healthier, more productive lives.

Values

We believe that good food comes from good soil. We go to great lengths to be good stewards of the land and grow food in responsible, regenerative ways. For us, this means minimal tilling, cover crops and integrated pest management. Healthy soil equals healthy food which equals healthy kids.

We believe that everything’s connected. A mantra at Schoolyard Farms is, “Self-care, people-care, earth-care.” One leads to the other. With this in mind, we strive to build meaningful relationships with our students, neighbors, community partners, and more, because we know that together we’re better.

We believe in doing things differently. Whether it’s using social enterprise to sustain our programs or pioneering pathways for serving local food in the cafeteria, we believe in taking a second-look at old systems, using the parts that work and replacing the parts that don’t.

We believe that good food is a human right. We want to invite everyone to sit at our table--regardless of race, income or geography--and eat healthy, local food. To do this, we must consciously work toward breaking down our own individual, cultural and political barriers to ensure a healthy community.

Impact

We reach thousands of kids each year through our various programs, increasing the likelihood that they’ll grow up to be healthy adults.

1.5 acres in production at 2 schools.

6,000 pounds of produce harvested for the community each year.

1,100 kids receive hands-on garden lessons

1 in 4 of the kids in our programs went from liking vegetables “a little” to “a lot” by the end of the school year.

109 volunteers donated 1,595 hours!

Our Sites

Candy Lane Elementary, 5901 SE Hull Ave., Milwaukie, OR 97267
The Candy Lane Farm is our beautiful one-acre pilot farm where we host monthly vegetable tastings and bi-monthly garden classes for the students. It’s also the site of our farm-based Summer Day Camp for 1st-6th graders and our Farm Field Trip program. Support the Candy Lane Farm by becoming a CSA member of the farm or learning about volunteer opportunities today.

New Urban High School, 1901 SE Oak Grove Blvd., Milwaukie, OR 97267
We broke ground on the New Urban Farm in the winter of 2016. Since then, the thriving half-acre farm has served as an outdoor classroom for the students, and as a source of produce for the community. We host monthly vegetables and weekly classes at the New Urban Farm, as well as a youth job-training program. Support the New Urban Farm by becoming a CSA member of the farm or learning about volunteer opportunities today.

We’re always scouting for new sites and partnerships. If you’re interested in having a working farm and farm-based education at your school, please email us at hello@schoolyardfarms.org

The Need for Schoolyard Farms

School farms and gardens have proven to offer many benefits including, but not limited to: increased academic achievement; increased positive attitudes towards fruits and vegetables--resulting in healthier eating habits; increased self-esteem; increased sense of community; and access to fresh produce. In a time of vast social and economic inequities, school farms and gardens have the ability to increase students’ health and sense of community, and yet, most schools struggle to find the budget, staff or dedicated volunteers to maintain their garden and use it effectively. Schoolyard Farms solves that problem.

More Than a School Garden

Schoolyard Farms is not your typical school garden nonprofit. We were founded as means to make school gardens self-sustaining, when time-strapped teachers and dedicated parents are unable to manage a full-time, labor-intensive project in perpetuity. Schoolyard Farms is the only organization in Oregon scaling-up a school garden to a school farm and growing food on a production level so it can be sold to the community, generating revenue to sustain the farm. This model not only sustains the school farm, it generates urban farm jobs, feeds the community, and acts as an outdoor classroom and can be replicated at other schools. The support of Schoolyard Farms means the support of a healthier, more equitable food-system and a healthier, more equitable Oregon.

How You Can Help

Schoolyard Farms is able to thrive through generous donations from individuals like you! If you would like to make a donation, click the button below:

Donate Today!

We are grateful for a donation any amount. Here are a few ways your dollars would be spent:

  • A gift of $50 means a family in-need can receive a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share for a month.
  • A gift of $150 brings a classroom of high-need students to the school farm on scholarship, making our educational programs accessible to everyone.
  • A gift of $250 brings a high-need student to camp on scholarship, increasing the chances that students will develop healthy eating habits.
  • A gift of a $5,000 or more makes it possible for us to expand our programs to other schools.

With your support, we can grow healthier kids and communities!

Other ways to help

We are always looking for great volunteers to help with our programs. If you are interested in working outdoors, learning how to grow food or teaching outside of a classroom, we would love to have you as a volunteer! Learn more about our volunteer opportunities.

Consider becoming a CSA member or sending a child to summer camp. These programs are the backbone of our organization and by becoming a part of them, not only will you and your children benefit, but you will be helping us build a healthier community!

Schoolyard Farms Team

Courtney Leeds
Executive Director & Co-founder

After several years of city living in San Francisco, where she attended the University of San Francisco, Courtney felt the pull to reconnect with nature and began farming. She spent a summer WWOOFing in Southwest Oregon before returning to San Francisco ready to dive into its ever-changing urban ag scene. She apprenticed with Little City Gardens while they navigated land procurement in a densely populated city. She lived in Peru for several months studying their farm systems, both urban and rural. She became certified in Urban Permaculture Design. Finally, she found her way to Portland after searching for a formal urban farm apprenticeship. At Zenger farm in Portland, she learned the techniques of organic farming, nonprofit farm operations and experiential farm and garden education. With these tools, Courtney founded Schoolyard Farms in 2012. Courtney is motivated to build a just and healthy food-system. She believes that Schoolyard Farms lays the foundation for children to understand where their food comes from and how to grow it, and through awareness and engagement they will be more likely to fight for a system that nourishes them.

Brooke Hieserich
Education Director

Brooke Hieserich grew up in San Diego, CA believing everybody’s Dad had a dog named Jack and lived on a farm. Her Minnesotan farmer grandparents retired in Southern California and Brooke’s earliest memory of learning and gardening is of following her Grandmother through the tomato patch picking the red fruits, not the green ones, to make sauce or can or eat right out of hand. Brooke was a camper, counselor, staff person, and program director at Camp Stevens where she was first able to build a personal connection to nature, learning, and community that remains a passion to this day. Brooke completed a BA in French and American Literature and later an Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Her experience in San Francisco interning at Garden for the Environment, teaching cooking, gardening, and poetry with various urban afterschool programs, and leading the Project OLE! school garden program at San Francisco Community School inspired Brooke to adventure north to pursue a Masters degree in Leadership for Sustainability Education at Portland State University. Brooke believes there isn’t a pedagogy, discipline or learner out there a farm-and-garden-based experience couldn’t benefit and is humbled by the living soil engaging the community where our Food System and Education System intersect. Brooke couldn’t be more thrilled to practice the cultivation of education and the education of cultivation at Schoolyard Farms with you.

Annika La Fave
Farm Manager

Annika embarked on her farming career at Hampshire College’s animal farm in Amherst, Massachusetts. During the 2011 season, she immersed herself in the world of farm education through her internship at Bramble Hill Farm. She knew she’d found her calling.

After graduating with her elementary teaching license, Annika went on to work three seasons at Mountain View Farm in Easthampton, MA (as well as at several other organic farms in the Pioneer Valley).

Soon after moving to Portland, she found herself reconnecting with animal husbandry at Skyline Alpacas, a small alpaca and blueberry farm. She still felt drawn to the world of organic vegetables, and joined the Schoolyard Farms team as the farm manager for the 2016 season. Annika is passionate about the intersection of agriculture and education, and she feels that Schoolyard Farms is the perfect home for her to grow food and teach others about organic growing practices.

Board of Directors

Alletta Brenner, J.D
Judicial Law Clerk at Oregon Supreme Court; Board Treasurer

A native Oregonian with a strong personal interest in the transformative power of letting kids play in the dirt and showing them where our food comes from, Alletta is thrilled and honored to join Schoolyard Farms as one of the newest members of its Board. Growing up in a family that practiced small-scale urban farming, Alletta benefitted at an early age from the valuable experience of participating in the production of her family's food. As an adult, Alletta is passionate about passing the same lessons on to the next generation. Currently working as law clerk for Chief Justice Thomas Balmer on the Oregon Supreme Court, Alletta previously worked as a litigation associate at Perkins Coie, LLP. A graduate of the University of Oregon, with degrees in history and women's studies, Alletta earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Along the way, she studied in the United Kingdom on a Marshall Scholarship, earning Master's degrees in International Politics and Human Rights. Alletta's graduate studies included work in the area of sustainable development, and on the way that good-intentioned programs can sometimes go awry. From this standpoint, Alletta is intrigued with Schoolyard Farms' hybrid non-profit/for profit, self-sustaining school farm model and its potential to develop not only into a lasting institution within the community but a mode for capacity building across generations.

Terry Gibson, MBA
Professor, Marylhurst University; Board President

Terry John Gibson is an Oregon Registered Landscape Architect with over thirty years in the landscape industry. He has lived in Jennings Lodge, a suburb of Portland, Oregon for over twenty years, previously living in San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles, California, and Grand Junction, Colorado. Since 1997, he has been serving as a citizen advisory committee member for surface water quality management and is currently vice president of the board of directors for the Oak Lodge Sanitary District. He is also a member of the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council, represents Jennings Lodge on the fifteen-member MAP-IT community visioning implementation team, and serves as a Nature Guide and conservation Steward for Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Oregon’s only state park that is imbedded in an urban area. Terry has a B.S. of Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and an MBA of Sustainable Business from Marylhurst University, concentrating on Organic and Natural Resources. Terry also works internationally at Harmony Station, a conservation project located in the Petén department of Guatemala.

Ally Meyer
Child Hunger Program Coordinator, Oregon Food Bank

Ally is passionate about providing children with new experiences, especially ones that involve bringing them closer to the food they eat and discovering what it takes to get it to their table. As the Child Hunger Program Coordinator at Oregon Food Bank, she works in partnership with low-income schools to provide food to children and families through school-based food pantries and produce programs throughout the state. Before joining OFB, she worked in the North Clackamas School District with Metropolitan Family Service for 6+ years, running community school programming which offered educational, enrichment, recreational, and social supports for children and families. She served as an AmeriCorps Member in 2011 as part of her work to engage the local community with the school and build connections within the school building between staff, parents, and students.

A born and raised Portlander, Ally spent some of her early years running around her grandparents farm, which still belongs to her family after nearly 80 years, and is aptly located on “Meyer Lane” in Tigard, Oregon. She attended Western Oregon University, where she earned a BA in Psychology and Spanish.

She is very excited to join the SYF team and help make it possible for kids to build connections to growing and eating quality, healthy, local food.

Elizabeth Robillard, MBA
Head of Operations, Lytics

Elizabeth comes to the Schoolyard Farms Board from the Tech sector. She has spent her career in technology companies in various roles, including sales, marketing, business development and operations. She currently works at a venture backed tech startup as Head of Operations. She also advises tech startups and mentors through Portland Incubator Experiment, Portland Seed Fund and Portland State's School of Business Administration.

Though Elizabeth is a city girl through and through, and knows very little about farming, she is excited to help build & scale Schoolyard Farms and build a sustainable business that brings fresh food from the schoolyard to the cafeteria. Her children go to an Environmental elementary school where they already know more about gardening than she does and she looks forward to bringing that kind of education to more children. Her first order of business is to connect the Portland Tech and Business Community with this great organization and build lasting partnerships that change the health of our underserved communities.

Craig Rupert

Craig has spent his years after college developing and evolving passions for ecology, stewardship and gardening. With a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Connecticut and an extensive list of volunteer experiences, he has discovered an underlying motivation to reconnect people with nature. He believes gardening is not only an excellent way to teach children about healthy eating habits, but also about how their decisions can affect communities, food systems and our planet. Craig is a musician and remains active in Portland’s music scene and enjoys being humbled by lessons learned in his own garden each season.

Jen Turner
Agency Capacity & Education Coordinator, Oregon Food Bank; Board Secretary

Jen Turner is a native Oregonian and enthusiastic food systems advocate. She is the Agency Capacity and Education Coordinator for Oregon Food Bank, where she collaborates with and supports a diverse set of anti-hunger and food systems sustainability stakeholders to holistically address hunger and its root causes in the Portland Metro area. She also holds a Master of Urban Studies degree with an emphasis on equity and sustainability from Portland State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and American Studies from American University. Jen is passionate about facilitating community-scale networks to resist hunger and poverty and brings several years of successful community outreach and engagement, program management, and evaluation to the SYF Board. Jen is proud of Schoolyard Farms' unique and innovative approach to enhancing food access and literacy in the community from the ground up (literally!), and is excited to help SYF continue to do great things at Candy Lane and beyond.

Roger Campana
Strategic Analyst

Roger is a native of New York City and has also resided in New Orleans, Houston, Seattle and as of 2013 Portland, Oregon. He and his wife live in Pearl Neighborhood. He knew he wanted to be an engineer when he was 7 years old. He fulfilled his desires by gaining his degree in Electronic Engineering and starting technical work in the Energy industry where he learned a lot about his craft and corporate America. Roger not learned only technical work but negotiation, working with suppliers and contractors, and managing people. He moved to Seattle to work in the marine equipment industry making complex sonar and underwater vehicles. Key learnings were working in very small teams to develop highly complex systems which required a wider breadth of skills. Roger had the opportunity to spend a lot of time on the ocean, in this position, which enhanced his deep love of the environment. His most recent career change was moving to the semiconductor industry. This longest tenure, 19 years, gave him a wide range of business and management expertise including strategic and organizational development.

Roger is looking forward to working in the nonprofit community as well as pursuing his hobbies of bicycling, hiking, photography, and endless “do it yourself” projects. Roger is started working with Schoolyard Farms in October of 2016 as an Encore Fellow sponsored by Intel and Social Venture Partners.

Stacey Malstrom
Water Communications & Outreach Director, Oregon Environmental Council

Stacey brings more than 8 years of strategic communications experience and insight from farm to school programs across the country to Schoolyard Farms. She is continually inspired by the power of schools to reach beyond student learning to transform kids, families, and communities, and she is thrilled to help Schoolyard Farms deepen its impact in the Portland Metro area and beyond.

Stacey’s communications background includes advocating for healthy school food and sustainable agriculture as the Communications Director for the National Farm to School Network. She currently works for Oregon Environmental Council, where she is raising awareness of Oregon’s water challenges and building public support for effective, equitable solutions toward healthy rivers and clean water for all.

Prior to that, she worked on successful media, influencer and consumer engagement campaigns for clients including Travel Oregon, Pacific Foods, Dave’s Killer Bread, McMenamins and more as an Account Supervisor at Portland firm Maxwell PR. A native Oregonian, Stacey graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s degree in public relations.

Helen Vank
Program Quality Coordinator, Metropolitan Family Service

Helen Vank grew up in Cold Spring, KY helping out in the family garden, where she learned there is nothing better than a ripe tomato still warm from the sun. After getting her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, Helen moved to Portland where she has been for the last 16 years.

Helen started her work in schools teaching writing and gardening classes in the SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) program at Shaver Elementary in northeast Portland. She then worked as the SUN Site Manager for eight years, creating two school gardens and offering garden education in the program, as well as piloting the county's school-based food pantry program.

Helen is the Program Quality Coordinator at Metropolitan Family Service, lending support to 18 community school programs within MFS. She also leads the Hunger Relief department and believes hunger relief work is best done as skill development and self empowerment.

Past Directors

Cathy Kellon

Spencer Masterson

Stacey Sobell, M.S.

Amy DeSimone

Crystal Laier

Justin Davidson