A community-fueled farm


A farm in Boring serves 85 families and connects farmers to community

by: STAFF PHOTO BY LISA K. ANDERSON - Troy Torbert, left, and Demitrius Zeigler, right, used to play basketball together at Cornell University. Today, they've partnered to maintain Circle of Friends Farm in Boring, a farm that encourages community with its harvest shares (CSA program) and social spaces. Circle of Friends is a fitting name.

Troy Torbert and his brother-in-law began their farm in Boring in 2009 on a trial basis, working on shared family property. The family had a desire to eat healthier and increase its consumption of local, organic food.

After a successful first season and hiatus in 2010, Torbert invited a longtime friend he had played basketball with at Cornell University, Demitrius Zeigler, to join as a partner.

"We wanted to reach out to our friends and family members," Torbert says. "We figured neither of us had grown on a scale like this. It was really a crash course with a couple books. We thought we'd be forgiven if it went wrong."

But it went very right.

Today, Circle of Friends Farm thrives, serving 85 families by providing 65 full and half Community Supported Agriculture shares (CSAs). The farm is also growing, adding a greenhouse, chicken coop, perennial and herb garden and space spanning about 2 acres that offers a majestic view of Mount Hood.

By purchasing shares, families provide the funding needed to operate the farm and share in the commitment to the farm.

Throughout the growing season, members receive seasonal organic produce, herbs and occasionally fruit, available for pick up at the farm or designated pick-up locations.

One member, Dee Tanner, describes the basket she picks up every Monday as "a big basket of great veggies, organically raised and just beautiful."

"We want to create healthy and sustainable practices that respect our natural environment," Zeigler said. "We want to be good stewards of our land."

The farm also serves as a social sphere, and Torbert says it's trying to host biweekly events for its members and friends. Whether folks want to enjoy a picnic in the garden or volunteer, they're welcomed. Tanner, for example, set up a farm tour with her grandkids last spring.

"Many members are so interested and excited to participate in growing their food," Torbert says. "We don't require that they participate, but they want to. The social aspect is the big piece of the reward for us. We hope to keep a direct link to the community."

To learn more, visit circleof