About the Farmer
Beth got her start in farming at The Land Institute, the highly respected research station for agriculture and ecology founded by Wes Jackson. During her four years there, she filled many roles, including research and farming intern, event coordinator, and development assistant. Wanting to get more experience in the practical art of farming, in 1992 she completed the University of California Santa Cruz’s Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. It was there that she met longtime friend and fellow farmer Shari Raider, with whom she started Sauvie Island Organics in Portland. From 1993 through 2000 Beth co-managed the farm, which sold organic vegetables and flowers first at the Portland Farmers’ Market, and later to CSA members.
In 2000, Beth moved to Wallowa County and began a small garden on a neighbor’s plot adjacent to her own backyard. In 2002 she founded the Wallowa County Farmers’ Market, selling her vegetables on the steps of the old Wildflour Bakery building in downtown Joseph. She has been volunteering her time to manage the market—now at two locations, and featuring many more vendors—ever since. Similarly, her own farming enterprise, Backyard Gardens, has grown. Her gardens now cover about two acres of land. She offers vegetables, herbs, and flowers at the farmers’ markets in Enterprise and Joseph, sells to restaurants and retailers, maintains a weekly order system for customers, and runs a small CSA.