Our city has won state recognition for our library, been designated a Tree City USA for our commitment to preserving our local forests, has won beautification awards for community landscaping programs and, most recently, been awarded the City Livability Award from the United States Conference of Mayors for that agricultural jewel in our crown - Luscher Farm.
The City Livability Award is given in recognition of a community's leadership and achievements in enhancing the livability of their city. It seems that the city won this award in large part because of the Community Supported Agriculture program at Luscher Farm, which provides sustainably grown organic vegetables to residents of Lake Oswego.
And it also seems obvious that this part of the Luscher Farm 'complex' would be the one that stands out as unique and worthy of recognition. How many cities of any size can boast a working organic farm in their city limits committed to providing sustainbly grown organic produce to its residents? With all the recent community emphasis towards buying and eating locally, you can't get more local than that.
Therefore, it was with amazement and a good deal of sadness that I read the city's recent announcement that it will not renew the CSA farm's contract after 2007 because of a 'lack of public land.'
Is there a 'lack of land' or just too many competing interests vying for this one little slice of green space? It seems the city has planned this acreage for sports fields in its long-range planning. And if the city is planning sports fields in this area, it must also be planning parking lots to accommodate those fields - both activities hardly compatible with the Luscher Farm mandate to 'preserve the historic portions of the farm.'
Are there not other areas more suitable for sports fields, closer to neighborhoods, closer to existing development, closer to existing asphalt, possibly at the new Safeco site recently purchased by the city?
Luscher Farm is a unique public resource, a breathtakingly beautiful piece of farmland in an area threatened by development, a place with historic farm buildings, community organic farm plots, a resource providing public workshops in gardening and farming and other educational activities, an Oregon Tilth Demonstration Garden, children's gardens, walking paths, and soon to be home of the Brewster Robertson Clematis Collection.
And at least for now, the most impressive of all, a community-supported farm that provides local, healthy, fresh organic produce to the residents of Lake Oswego - all activities well suited to preserving and maintaining the original Luscher Farm in all its agricultural beauty.
Let's look again for a more fitting home for future sports fields and preserve the 'Farm' as a farm.
Bevan is a resident of Lake Oswego.