The Save Helvetia organization is primarily interested in protecting farmland north of Highway 26 and, as a small farm operator in this area, I support its efforts. A robust agri-tourism program assists that aim by offering the use of open space and the crops they produce for enjoyment by our urban neighbors while enhancing the profitability of farming.

Our Community Supported Agriculture operation, La Finquita del Buho, is a prime example. Our primary business is that of a sustainably grown subscription vegetable farm. Our customers (members) gain access to the farmland where their food is grown, and they may participate in the agricultural process as much or as little as they would like. In addition to fresh seasonal vegetables, we offer community-building events such as harvest festivals and canning parties. We offer local and inner city schools, from pre-school to high school, the opportunity to teach their students about our food system.

The “events” that happen on our farm celebrate abundance from the land.

Save Helvetia’s comments regarding agri-tourism recognize that agriculture in the Tualatin Valley, in many locations, exists alongside residential areas and transportation corridors so a balance of uses must be sought. Save Helvetia’s recommendations were aimed at enumerating the balance issues that need to be taken into account. Agri-tourism should exist in an environment where the major source of income is from agriculture and a secondary offshoot is tourism. Helvetia is a good example of an area that encompasses the mix of uses often found in unincorporated rural locations in the metropolitan area, and so we offer our experience in the hope that it encourages action under SB 960 and assists the county in its deliberations.

As Bob Horning (“Agri-tourism will help keep farms in family,” News-Times, March 19 issue) well knows from his operation of Horning’s Hideout, agri-tourism can have significant impacts on neighbors. That’s why Save Helvetia is participating in Washington County’s SB 960 effort that is aimed at developing standards and a process for finding the balance and lessening land use conflicts.

I am a longstanding member of Save Helvetia, and I am interested in the preservation of farmland for agricultural uses. I want to see the county help preserve farmland and small family farms. I want to limit speculators that look at this precious high value farmland as simply a venue for building a barn to hold weddings.

Lyn Jacobs co-owns and operates La Finquita del Buho with her husband Juvencio Argueta in Helvetia.

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