Sherwood farm donates half its chemical-free meat and produce to families in need

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Tyler Boggs feeds two hogs tomatoes and peppers at Heart2Heart Farms. The farm will raise about 200 pigs for slaughter this year, and will donate half that meat to needy families.Wearing a cowboy hat and Crocs, Tyler Boggs is not your typical farmer.

The Sherwood father of two has devoted his life to a mission he never imagined when he got out of the Army more than a decade ago: Ridding the world of chemically altered foods.

Boggs, 36, and his wife Elizabeth founded Heart2Heart Farms in rural Sherwood four years ago, offering local, chemical-free meat and produce to families across the area.

“There are no chemicals, no sprays and no injections. People ask me, ‘What is our livestock vaccination policy?' It’s called buying good stock, feeding them good food and giving them a low-stress environment. We don’t vaccinate at all.”

Learn More

Who: Heart2Heart Farms

Where: 21555 S.W. Hells Canyon Road, in Sherwood

How to help: To learn more about Heart2Heart farms and to donate to the farm’s campaign for a new truck to feed the needy, visit the farm's indiegogo campaign page.

‘Self preservation’

But Boggs said they started the farm as a way to control what they were feeding their two young daughters.

“Originally the idea was self-preservation,” he said.

The parents were turned off by the commercial food industry, Boggs said.

He and his wife wanted to start fresh and stop eating foods like genetically modified corn.

“When the chemicals are in the food, the animals eat the chemicals, and then we eat the animals,” Boggs said. “Essentially, we are eating the chemicals.”

At first, the family tried to buy organic food at the grocery store, Boggs said, but that was too expensive for most families to be able to afford.

“Our grocery bills went from $400 a month to $1,200. That’s not a food bill, that’s a mortgage payment,” Boggs said. “There had to be a different way.”

The solution, they decided, was to go back to their roots.

Boggs, who grew up on a farm in Scholls and moved on to a successful career in finance, sold his company, and the family moved to an abandoned piece of property between Sherwood and Newberg, transforming the 10 acres of blackberry vines and poison oak into a functioning farm.

They began to raise their own cows, pigs and chickens and started growing their own produce.

The plan worked, and soon others found out about the farm’s mission and asked how they could get involved.

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Tyler and Elizabeth Boggs have run the no-chemicals Heart2Heart farm in Sherwood since 2010. The farm raises calves, chickens, hogs and other animals for slaughter, which it offers to local families.

Help needed to feed hungry

Once a week, hundreds gather at Heart2Heart farm in Sherwood for “free veggie Friday,” a special food pantry meets farmers market that allows needy families to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies donated from local farmers.

“Our mission is just to feed the hungry,” said the farm's founder Tyler Boggs.

But the program is in danger of ending if the farm doesn't earn thousands of dollars for new equipment.

The food pantry started a year ago after Boggs struck a deal with local distributors to pick up fruits and vegetables to feed to his livestock.

“But we kept getting all this quality produce,” Boggs said. “I can’t feed all this to my cows.”

Boggs began giving the produce away to needy families, and said he now serves about 500 families each week.

"It was incredible,” Boggs said. “We had no idea there were that many people in our immediate area that were eating macaroni and cheese every night because they had to. I looked at my wife and said, ‘We can’t stop doing this.’”

But the effort has taken its toll on the farm, Boggs said.

For more photos of Heart2Heart, visit The Times' Facebook page

“We have blown three trailers and my truck trying to haul the food,” he said. “The demand is bigger than my bank account. People kept coming out of the woodwork and asking if we had any more.”

The farmers said they were going to end the weekly pantry, but customers begged them to continue.

“They said you can’t stop this, people are depending on it,” Boggs said.

The farm is currently raising funds to buy a permanent truck and trailer system to haul the produce, Boggs said.

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - A pair of Jersey calves say hello to Tyler Boggs at Heart2Heart Farms in Sherwood. The farm raises calves both for milk and for meat.It’s an expensive proposition. Boggs estimates it will cost the farm about $32,000 to purchase a new truck and trailer to haul produce and a cooler for storage.

So far, the farm has raised about 12 percent of its goal on its campaign website. The campaign runs through the end of the month.

“To me, it seems like an insurmountable task, but if there were a few people that really believed in it, that’s not an insurmountable goal,” Boggs said.

‘Farmers serve the community’

The farm sells its meat and produce to families across Washington, Yamhill, Multnomah and Clackamas counties, Boggs said. They started teaching classes so others could learn how to have sustainable farms in their backyards, began working with returning veterans to help them get back on their feet and offering camps to children to teach them about where food comes from.

“There is so much disconnect between kids and where their food comes from,” Elizabeth Boggs said. “They have no clue. They say, ‘Oh, you can’t eat that,’ but where do you think cheeseburgers come from? Bacon? Chicken nuggets?”

Her husband said the farm would likely offer even more educational programs for families to learn about the commercial food industry and how to feed themselves.

“It’s doable for everybody. Absolutely,” Boggs said. “Not everybody has to do it, but if some people would start, it would go a long way.”

Families that can’t afford the food can barter and trade, Tyler Boggs said.

“This man approached me a few years ago and said, ‘I don’t have any money, but I need to get the chemicals out of my family's meat. Can I work for you?’ It was the purest transaction I had ever experienced in my life,” Boggs said.

This year, Heart2Heart will raise 1,500 rabbits, 3,200 chickens, 350 turkeys, 250 ducks, 200 pigs, 150 calves, 100 geese, 70 sheep, 50 goats and about 40 full-sized cows to sale.

Boggs said the farm plans to give about half of that away to families in need.

“The community determines what we grow and how we grow it,” Boggs said. “Somebody said they wanted Christmas geese. We put it out there, and a bunch of people wanted it, so now we raise geese. I believe that’s how we should do farming. The farmers serve the community — this is their farm not mine.”

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