from the GROUND up - Spokane Conservation District

from the GROUND up - Spokane Conservation District

SUM M E R 2016 from the GROUND up IN THIS ISSUE Forestry What you need to know! Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm is Coming to Spokane Our Farm & Food...

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SUM M E R 2016



What you need to know!

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm is Coming to Spokane Our Farm & Food Expo might seem like it’s in the distant future (Nov.5), but the best chance to save money and choose your classes is NOW! Here’s the skinny on this exciting event:

Meet Matt Keiper

SCD Summer Intern preparing shoreline plantings.

• It is all day November 5 at Spokane Community College, followed by an evening keynote by Joel Salatin at Gonzaga University. • There is a class for everyone: small farmers, gardeners, and foodies! • Participants can choose their own classes, or be part of an all day exclusive class with Joel Salatin. • There are 90+ classes with topics like Small Farm Planning for Resilience and Natural Disasters, Simple Cheese Making, Growing Mushrooms, Farmers Market Booth Reboot, Local Brewing & Distilling, and more!

New funding!

$47,000 in grant funding to benefit our learning farm and urban agriculture in Spokane

The conference tickets include the evening keynote event featuring Joel Salatin, a nationally recognized small farmer who produces high-quality “beyond organic” meats, which are raised using environmentally responsible, ecologically beneficial, sustainable agriculture. Salatin’s 550-acre farm in Virginia is featured prominently in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006) and the documentary films, Food, Inc. and Fresh. His unconventional farming practices have drawn attention from the alternative agriculture community especially those interested in sustainable livestock management. More information and registration is online at! Farm & Food Expo is supported by many generous sponsors. See the full list online.

Spokane Conservation District • 509.535.7274 •

Forest Health and Safety Firewise and Douglas fir beetle concerns have similar solutions As you’re making your way through your summer to-do list, be sure to move forest health tasks to the top! Our Foresters are available to visit your individual trees or forest stands to do a health check-up and make recommendations. We call it Technical Assistance (TA), and it’s free! In addition to these TA’s we also offer free Firewise Assessments. A common problem this season in our more than 100 TAs has been in Douglas fir stands. Bark Beetles have typically plagued local pine trees, but due to drought conditions of 2014 and 2015, and windstorm and fire damage, Douglas fir in our area are now turning up with Douglas fir beetles. These beetles prefer weakened or recently downed trees and elevations higher than 3,000’. The Oregon State University Extension recommends removing downed trees to fewer than four, 10”+ diameter trees per acre. Taking this action and thinning trees will also keep your property Firewise! This year, our Firewise Assessments also come with a free perk; reflective address signs with 4” lettering will be given to Spokane county homeowners that complete a Firewise Homesite Assessment. Using a proper address sign is a simple step toward ensuring the safety of your home by enablling your local firefighters to do their job efficiently. We are only half way through the season and have completed 50 homesite assessments in the Firewise Program in Spokane county. Contact the SCD Foresters to schedule your TA visit or Firewise Assement today! 509-535-7274

Weed Alert: Flower Stage Got Weeds? Check out our Weed Alert and Quick Reference page at When attempting to eradicate noxious weeds, best efforts are performed prior to the flowering stage. However, preventing the spread of weed seeds and creating a management plan for the following year is essential to success. If weeds have reached seed, don’t get discouraged; rather, prepare both the land and yourself to remove fall re-growth and get ready for spring arrivals.

Meet Matt Keiper Vicki Carter, Employee of the Year Summer Intern at SCD Hello! My name is Matthew Keiper. I’m a recent graduate of Whitworth University and an intern for the summer in the Water Resources Department. My work at SCD deals with everything riparian. We are establishing several planting projects along the Spokane River and its tributaries. I’m responsible for watering and monitoring these sites while surveying and organizing new stream-side planting projects around the county. I also do a fair share of water quality testing and ecological surveying with the Water Resources team. In August I will move to Colorado Springs to begin an internship with EMI, a non-profit engineering international development organization. I very much appreciate the opportunity and welcome afforded me at SCD this summer!

Vicki Carter was awarded Washington State Conservation District Employee of the Year on June 13, 2016 at the Washington Association of District Employees annual training. She accepted her award infront of a standing ovation and credited her award to the creation of the Vets on the Farm program. She added that this was not something she completed alone, but with support from staff and board members, community members, businesses, agencies and many others. Now, Vets on the Farm is preparing to go statewide. Already, conservation districts in Whitman, Stevens, Chelan, and Douglas Counties have made steps to bring Vets on the Farm to their area. Like conservation districts, each Vets on the Farm program will be a little different and reflect the natural resources, opportunities and people that are in a given area.

Common Bugloss: Each flower stem starts out coiled like a fiddleneck, then straightens out as each flower bud opens. The flowers are initially reddish, later turning to a deep blue to purple flower with white centers. Each flower produces 4 small, nutlet-like seeds. One plant can produce an average of 900 seeds, which can remain viable in the soil for several years. Mechanical: Remove all of root and plant and seal flowers from spreading seeds. Caution: Common Bugloss invades pastures and rangelands and is a concern to alfalfa production because the succulent leaves and stalks mold the hay once it is baled.

Now Online: a new way to find your local manure and compost Spokane area farmers and ranchers have a new way to connect online and share their resources. It’s a Facebook Group called Organic Materials Exchange. Unlike Craigslist, this space is only available to Spokane area farmers and ranchers for the purpose of sharing organic materials such as compost and manure. Only group members can view the posted information. A typical post states the quantity and type of manure available and the general neighborhood for pick up, or members can also post ISO (in search of) style posts to let people know what they’re interested in. To join the group and start sharing manure with your neighbors, visit www. Spokane and click on Organic Materials Exchange.

SCD Awarded $47,000 Grant to promote urban agriculture through education SCD was awarded $47,000 to build technical assistance capacity for urban agriculture conservation projects on Sunday, July 17, by the National Association of Conservation Districts. NACD granted a total of $2 million to SCD and 41 other districts across 25 states. We will provide education and technical assistance through a series of tours, community conversations, workshops, one-on-one consultations, networking events and a demonstration project. Residents will learn how to sustainably develop and manage their urban market gardens, urban livestock, and community and home gardens using conservation practices scaled for use in the urban environment. We will conduct most of these efforts in some of Spokane’s low income and food desert neighborhoods to improve residents’ ability to grow their own fresh, healthy food. As urban agriculture in Spokane grows, it is important to maintain a culture of soil and water conservation because even small actions on an urban lot can improve environment quality. SCD, WSU Spokane County Extension and Project Hope are partners in the grant. In September, we will hold a tour of urban ag with stops that highlight urban market gardens, community gardens, urban composting facilities, urban forest management and urban livestock facilities. For information, contact Pat Munts at 509-535-7274 ext 231 or [email protected]

Spokane Conservation District • 509.535.7274 •