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Village Farm to host fundraiser

Village Farm, a cooperative farm in Ashland, invites the community to savor the fall harvest and help plant seeds for the next growing season at its Farm to Table Dinner on Sunday at 4 p.m. The dinner will be held at Restoration Farm, 1133 Old Highway 99. It will feature a New American menu from Peerless Sous Chef Craig Fleischman, with local produce, artisan foods, wines and beer.

Will Newman II of Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust will give a presentation on farmland trusts at the dinner. OSALT works to keep agricultural land in production in perpetuity through land trusts, with a special focus on sustainable farming methods and urban farming. Village Farm co-managers Chris Hardy and Michael DiGiorgio will join an interactive dialogue with attendees following the talk.

Founded in 2008 and located on rented land on the south end of Ashland, Village Farm has explored opportunities to establish a land trust to provide security for the farm and local food supply.

Farmland is increasingly being lost as landowners sell property for development, and local farms that remain meet just a fraction of total community food needs, according to Village Farm organizers.

"Our local food supply is on shaky ground," Hardy said. "We need to give it roots. Buying local food is important but it's even more critical to come together and invest in protecting farmland.

"Selling land for development may seem appealing for short-term profits, but our community will yield far more keeping land in agricultural production — considering the value of perennial crops that can be grown year after year, and our food security."

The dinner is a fundraiser, with a sliding scale of $50 to $75. Proceeds will go toward purchases of seed saving equipment, greenhouse and nursery materials, and seeds and plant stock for the 2010 growing season.

"We look forward to a good turnout," DiGiorgio said. "We are excited to share the fruits from the earth with our supporters and develop plans to grow our local food supply."

Those interested in attending may contact Sascha Meier at 201-8707 or saschcpm@gmail.com. Those who are unable to attend but would like to support Village Farm's efforts can contact Hardy at cmhardy@gmail.com or 301-6447.