Hi everyone. Em Jones here again. I can barely believe it’s been two months since my last blog post. The summer is coming to an end with earlier sunsets as we approach the equinox, about a month away now. I’ve been so busy with my internship I’ve hardly noticed the passing days. I’ve been networking, meeting new people and making lots of friends through various workshops and activities. My main projects have revolved around Small Farm School and the Oregon Mushroom Producers Network.  

A black plastic tub filled with a wide variety of mushrooms
A bountiful mushroom harvest.

The OSU Extension Small Farms program has been busy as a bee planning and preparing for Small Farm School. Several classes are filling up quickly but it’s not too late to register. It will be held on Monday, Sept. 12 at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City. Classes include topics like poultry processing, funding your small farm “dream,” and farming with climate resiliency.  

We are abuzz right now with volunteer opportunities to support workshops and ensure the day flows smooth as honey. If you’re interested, please reach out to Kelly Streit. Just four hours of volunteering gets you into the Small Farm School for free! 

In addition to supporting Small Farm School, I’ve also had the pleasure of facilitating the first meeting of Oregon’s Mushroom Producer Network. This group of folks includes gourmet and medicinal mushroom cultivators from across Oregon. If you or someone you know is cultivating mushrooms, please reach out to me for more details. We have an upcoming mushroom farm tour and have just begun the conversation about the purchasing power opportunities we can embark upon.  

While I am sad that my internship and the summer are quickly coming to an end, I am so grateful to have participated in the OSU Extension internship program. My mentor, Heidi Noordijk, has given me a wealth of knowledge and opportunity. She is truly a resource librarian and shining example of what the Extension Service is all about. From my time at the Clackamas County Fair to participating in her IPM class, I can honestly say she truly cares about and authentically supports the farming community for the benefit of us all.  

As fall approaches mushroom growing will be at a peak and this small farmer looks forward to continuing their education with Oregon State University as well as continuing to learn from and partner with the Extension Service.  

Hello, my name is Cydney Stables. I am the intern for the OSU Extension Communications office, located in the Kerr Administration Building on the main Oregon State University campus in Corvallis.

Two girls are posing with a dairy cow.
Cydney Stables (right) shows a dairy cow in 4-H.

I’m from Gaston, Oregon, and I just completed my first year of college at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. I am majoring in agribusiness, communications, business administration and economics with a minor in plant and animal sciences.

I plan to pursue a master’s in agricultural communications upon completing my undergraduate work. After that, I hope to obtain a job in agricultural public relations, working as a spokesperson for the agriculture industry or as an educator for Extension.

So far, this internship has given me insight into the vast future career opportunities I may have in Extension and communications. One of the greatest experiences I have had thus far was the opportunity to tour county Extension offices across the state.

Statue from the Pendleton rodeo grounds

In late May, I traveled with the communications’ news and public issues team to Pendleton, where we began our tour of offices from there.

We visited with faculty and staff in the Extension offices in Umatilla, Sherman, Wasco, Hood River and Clackamas counties.

Then at the beginning of June, I went with colleagues in Extension Communications to the Extension office in Tillamook County, where we met the staff and discussed communications resources on the Extension employee intranet and media outreach. On our way back to Corvallis, we stopped at the Extension office in Yamhill County, which is one that is very familiar to me. My mom works there and I’ve helped around the office in previous summers as a volunteer.

These trips opened my eyes to the breadth and depth of what Extension truly does. Growing up a part of Extension through the Oregon 4-H program, I had no idea how many opportunities OSU Extension offers for communities. In addition, I learned first-hand from faculty and staff about their successes, challenges and failures.

Hood River Extension office research orchard

The trip was an immersive experience. Not only did I get to see Extension employees in action, but I also had the opportunity to experience the diversity in agriculture across the state.

I learned about programs of SNAP-Ed, Strong People, Master Gardeners, Open Campus, Juntos and more. All of which are great community outreach opportunities that benefit individuals in countless ways.

I want to thank all of the employees from the county offices we visited for being so welcoming and kind.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this internship learning opportunity has in store.

Hi, I’m Em Jones (they/them), a small farmer in northeast Portland’s Cully Neighborhood. My partner and I propagate a variety of heirloom vegetables using regenerative practices. We recently started a mushroom farm focused on plastic light operations that leverage local waste streams for substrate. Aside from a growing business, pun intended, I am a full-time student in Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. I am on track to earn bachelor’s degrees in horticulture and sustainability.

Em Jones poses for a picture with a newly planted flower
Em Jones

I’m excited for this summer as it’s my first time being an OSU Extension Service intern! I’ll be working for Multnomah and Clackamas County supporting the Small Farm School, scheduled for Sept. 12. It’s a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge on the dynamics of running an urban farm while assisting others in the learning process. The event supports beginning and intermediate small-scale farmers with a variety of educational workshops. Perhaps you’ll join us or invite someone you know for Small Farm School. If the event is not applicable to you, feel free to access our variety of resources through the OSU Extension website that you might find more beneficial.

As an OSU intern, I’ll support access to information via our website page, as well as connect with community members to support the Small Farm School. I’ve recently been building relationships with local farmers through my new business. There’s a great community of like-minded individuals that are localizing our food systems and working to improve the land.

My personal goal is to increase access to sustainably grown, healthy, affordable food for my community. I seek to dismantle current systems of oppression that plague our food systems. Unfortunately, mass produced agriculture continues to be exploitative to farm workers and the land. That type of agriculture is mining, not farming, and my goal is to interrupt it. Instead, I focus on no-till, no-chemical farming that builds up the soil.

Blue oyster mushrooms in a small jar on top of a table
Blue oyster mushrooms in a small jar

I hope to share my knowledge and skill-set with other small farmers, as well as to learn from them so we can grow our regenerative farming practices together. Community resilience is created through the open sharing of knowledge and resources, something OSU Extension continually contributes to. We are stronger together and better suited to fight climate change, racial injustice, and to improve our systems to reflect an equitable society. I look forward to furthering my goals and the mission of OSU Extension during my internship.