Learn more about Willow Creek Forest School


Willow Creek Forest School is TLC Farm's outdoor, place-based preschool for children 3-5 years old.
Children enjoy a consistent daily rhythm in which they can allow their imaginations to blossom and be immersed in the magic of the forest, while learning to be good stewards to the land and each other. The flow of the day includes: crafts, homesteading skills, plant medicine-making, snack time provided by the school (including bread baked in the cob oven!), circle time, plenty of time in the forest and special festival days – all guided by songs and stories inspired by the changing seasons on the land. 
School runs for 9 months, Tuesday-Thursday from 9:30am-1:30pm, with an option to add aftercare each day until 3:00. Visit for more information and to enroll. 
About Teacher Hindi: Hindi has been working with children in various settings for 20 years, and has been living on the land at TLC Farm for two years. For the past two years, she worked with Montessori preschool programs while dreaming about starting her own program. She loves sharing this magical land with children!

Hands-on Sustainability Education

Hands-On Sustainability Program

Tryon Life Community Farm provides students of all ages with opportunities to connect with the natural world and each other to create a true sense of place and community. Our goal is to encourage people to develop a lifelong appreciation of the processes that support life, and to offer wisdom on how to steward them sustainably. To do this we offer this space for collaborative learning about social and ecological responsibility.

The Hands-On Sustainability Program offers one-time and multiple visit field trip experiences for students of all ages to come and learn about applied sustainability and creating community in a participatory way.

Activities include an interactive farm tour and seasonally appropriate hands-on activities and lessons on specific sustainability and ecology themes in these areas: ecological gardening, natural building, restoration and watershed ecology, and ecological living skills. We also offer service-learning projects.

Facilities include:

  • "Village Green" open gathering area
  • Outdoor kitchen (with earthen ovens)
  • Ecological Living Demonstration Projects (gardens, animals, naturally built structures, etc.)
  • Trail leading into Tryon Creek State Park (650-acre forest)
  • Large organic garden to nibble at and work in
  • goats, chickens, and bees
  • and much more!

Bring your group out to the farm!

Field Trip Scheduling: TLC Farm offers field trips Tuesday through Saturday.  We are an all-volunter program, and will work with you to coordinate a time that is good for your group and our volunteers.  The farm is open to the public Tuesday-Sunday between 9-6pm for self-guided tours, and it is closed on Mondays.

Cost : TLC Farm runs on donations, and requests that visiting classes donate $10/visit plus $5 or more per student if at all possible.

Contact us: For further information or to arrange a visit, please contact our education coordinators, at  edu[at] or by calling 503.245.3847.

Groups served include: Portland area schools, Boys and Girls Aid Society of Oregon, Girl Scouts, Portland Impact, Head Start, YMCA, Pacific Crest Community School, Waldorf schools, International School, charter schools, Lewis and Clark College PSU, PCC, and homeschool groups. Click here for our calendar to see who's visiting us!

Recflections about the program:
"Many of the students were totally new to the concepts of intentional living and, during discussions, expressed that they got a lot out of what they experienced at the farm. We would like to (endlessly) thank you for your patience with everyone. Earthen building was their favourite activity, but canning and making cheese was also a highlight for many people during reflections throughout the rest of the trip - as well as learning about the edibility of plants like fennel & broccoli leaf. The space was excellent for the students to open up to each other." - Hannah, coordinator of a New Student Orientation group from Pacific University

Resource Links:

Interested in starting a school garden? Check out this great school garden resource web page from local group Growing Gardens.

Other local educational farms:

Zenger Farm - located in SE Portland in the Lents neighborhood
Sauvie Island Center - located north of
Portland on Sauvie Island
Organic Education Center at Luscher Farm - located outside Portland in West Linn

Supporting a more just future for the peoples of this land

Not so very long ago, the land we now call Tryon Life Community Farm was the hunting grounds of  the Tualatin Kalapuya and the Clackamas Chinook.

For thousands of years they thrived, until 200 years ago devastating diseases swept through their villages severely reducing the population. Before they had a chance to recover, waves of Euro-American colonization hit the land we now call Oregon. Years of struggle to retain tribal autonomy followed, as did many promises made and broken by the United States government. Mounting pressure for more land by white settlers led the federal government to extinguish all native claim to land in the Willamette and Tualatin valleys and forcibly remove the tribes to the Grande Ronde and other reservations in 1855.

The government then set about giving the land away to Euro-American settlers, including Hotchkiss Socrates Tryon who claimed the valley which is now his namesake park. His name is well known, even included in the name of our land project, while those from whom the land was stolen have been forgotten by many.

Why do you need to know this?  Learning and sharing the history of this land, and that of all western Oregon, is key to understanding why those who visit, volunteer, come to classes, and enjoy events here, have been predominately white. And why this needs to change.

Over the past few years, TLC Farm has been actively reshaping itself to counter this legacy of colonialism.  To do so, a new collective created by and for people of color has taken root on this land.  The Sacred Lands Alliance is working with TLC Farm volunteers to make the land and programs more accessible for frontline communities who have been alienated from thier lands. 

We can't undo the past, but we can absolutely shape the future.

Thanks for your part in making the future more just and equitable, here at TLC Farm and in all the places we collectively strive for justice.

Lewis & Clark College Visit

Mar 6 2015 - 1:50pm - 2:50pm

Summer 2011 Worktrade Position: Artist/Designer

May 1 2011 (All day) - Sep 1 2011 (All day)
Organizational Structure painting

We are seeking a visual artist/designer to assist in the completion of our educational signage project. 

About the Project

   Here at TLC Farm, we are re-embodying and re-weaving ancient stories of what it is to be alive. We take as our base operating principle the fact that all systems, and all elements of each system, are interconnected, and that the deepest knowledge and understanding comes from looking at a subject within the context of the greater whole(s) in which it is embedded.

   As a land-based project which is open to the public 6 days of the week, we have the need for accessible, thorough and comprehensive signage so that visitors to the land are able to self-educate.  We have been developing concepts and design ideas for 9 educational signs for the past several months, and are now ready to move into the finalized design & production process.

   In some ways, each sign on this tour is telling the same story: one of the great web of life in which we find ourselves suspended. That said, each sign focuses on a different aspect of the web, magnifying one piece of what knowledge and skills are necessary for humans to relearn in order to live in harmony with our Mother Earth.

About the Residency

   In exchange for 25 hours of work a week (at least 15 of which must be spent on the land sign project) we will offer you space for a tent on our land, the opportunity to live in a thriving land-based community and support around integration into and completion of the project.  We ask $5 a day for food, and would welcome you to arrive generally in May and to stay through the end of August, with a project completion deadline of no later than September 1st.

   We are looking for a person who both has a developed understanding of the concepts about which the signs are meant to educate – including colonialism, permaculture, earth-based spirituality, bioregionalism, organic gardening, natural building, watershed ecology, native rights, etc. – as well as the ability to translate these relatively complex concepts into a coherent series of interconnected images.  The balance of design work to art production in this residency is yet to be determined, and will develop as the summer and project progress.

How To Apply

   Please send electronic copies of the work you feel best represents your ability to undertake this project along with answers to the following questions to

  1. Who are you?  What are you doing?  How does this project interface with and build upon the time you have already spent upon this earth?
  2. Tell us about your experiences living in community.
  3. Tell us about your relationship with the land.
  4. How do you work collaboratively as an artist?  As a designer?
  5. How would you illustrate, with minimal text, the concepts of globalization and re-localization?
  6. How will you deal with potentially having to do your creative work in a shared-use space in which there might be meetings, children and a general feeling of scrappiness and DIYishness?
  7. How will you deal with the dynamic of this being a position which requires a lot of self-direction and motivation within the context of the community having a clear idea of the product desired and already having put a lot of foundational work into the project?
  8. Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

2010 Summer Programs at TLC Farm - registration now open!

TLC Farm has an exciting summer of programs planned for kids, teens and adults. All summer long, folks will be learning about becoming part of the land and part of community in this inspiring setting.


We invite you to check out our offerings below, and we hope to see you at the farm!

Collaborative Art Workshop & Presentation w/ the Beehive Collective

Aug 31 2010 - 2:00pm - 6:00pm

Join us and the Beehive Collective ( for an afternoon of collaborative creative process and cross-pollination.

To begin, the Bees will lead us through their method of designing and creating large-scale collaborative murals which illustrate complex, interconnected concepts through the use of metaphor-rich imagery and visual narrative.  We will focus our collective creative attention on developing ideas and images for TLC Farm's educational land signs, working with concepts of social permaculture, decolonization, bioregionalism, watershed health, TLC Farm's educational programming, intentional community and more!  This will be a participatory, co-created artistic process - please come even if you've never before been here or thought much about any of this.

Afterwards, the Bees will present their newest mural, The True Cost of Coal, which tells the story of the devastating ecological effects of mountain top removal coal mining in Appalachia and the grassroots resistance that is flourishing in the region.

We will be running a shuttle from People's Coop (SE 21st and Tibbetts), meeting at 1:15 and leaving by 1:30. The shuttle will return to People's by 6:45.   This workshop is a by-donation event, with no one turned away for lack of funds.  Please RSVP to so we can know about how many folk to expect.  We look forward to seeing you!

Permaculture Design Course: June 11-27

Jun 11 2010 (All day) - Jun 27 2010 (All day)
TLC PDC 2010


TLC Farm is hosting a 72-hour Permaculture Design Certification Course this Summer!

This course will be a two-week intensive that will meet from June 11th to 27th. The course can be taken as residential, or not. The fee for the non-residential option is $1000 - 850 sliding scale. The fee for the residential option is $1300 -1100. Limited work trade may be available

A Permaculture Design Course explores sustainable human habitation. We begin with the ethics and principles of permaculture which support a philosophical reverence for life and provide a framework for making healthy choices. The objective of a Permaculture Design Course is to provide a comprehensive overview of sustainable futures, based on permaculture philosophy, techniques, and strategies that one could incorporate into their everyday life, or enhance their career. These courses provide hands-on experience. The intention is to facilitate a systems approach to thinking about different issues, encouraging care for the earth and its inhabitants as a diverse community.

Topics Include:

* Permaculture Philosophy & Ethics * Permaculture Principles * Concepts and Themes in Design * Permaculture methodology * Pattern Understanding * Reading the Landscape * Climatic Factors * Edible Landscaping & Organic Gardening * Trees and their Energy Transactions, Tree Crops * Water, Water Harvesting * Soils & Composting * Earthworking and Earth Resources * Natural Building * Animal Husbandry * Urban Permaculture * Appropriate Technology * Intentional Communities * Sustainable Forestry & Agroforestry * Ethnobotany/ethnoecology * Plant Propagation * Ecosystem & Native Plant Restoration * Mycology * Permaculture Networks * Bioregionalism * Local Economics * Ecological Design * Ecovillages * And more..

For more information about this course, please email or call Matt Bibeau at 503-245-3847.

Instructor Bios:

Marisha Auerbach will be the lead instructor of the course. Marisha has been practicing, studying, and teaching permaculture in the Pacific Northwest for the past decade. She encourages sustainable futures through sharing knowledge with others on a variety of topics including: permaculture, polyculture gardening, seed saving, flower and gem essences, local economics, community building, ethnobotany, herbalism, edible landscape design, and organic gardening among others.

Matt Bibeau is an active resident at TLC Farm and received his Master's Degree in Education with a focus on Leadership in Ecology, Culture & Learning from PSU in 2008 and is also a certified Permaculture Designer and Teacher.

Leonard Barrett is a designer, contractor, and entrepreneur specializing in productive urban landscapes and regenerative human habitats. (

TLC Farm PDC Application Questions

Full and Preferred Name:

1. What is your experience with permaculture? What do you hope to do with this certification?

2. Do you have any dietary restrictions or allergies that we should know about?

3. Do you have any medical conditions or physical limitations that we should know about? (TLC Farm is not currently an ADA-accessible site, so any alter-abled students should let us know about their needs and concerns).

4. Are you applying for the residential (camping) or non-residential (commuting) option?

5. How did you hear about the course?

Community Sustainability Immersion Internship: July 31 - Aug. 20

Jul 31 2010 (All day) - Aug 20 2010 (All day)
Interns canning plums


Another world is possible!  How do we create it, grow it, preserve it, share it?  How do we come into relation with ourselves and the land, nourishing our bodies, minds and spirits with the food and wisdom we create together?

These are the questions (and answers!) explored by TLC Farm's Community Sustainability Immersion Internship - a dynamic experience of community learning and sharing.

Located at TLC Farm's unique seven-acre community farm in Portland, Oregon,  this program immerses participants in a wholistic approach to  sustainability and permaculture systems.  The program combines theory, practice, innovation and adventure to introduce participants to the principles of permaculture, natural building, community process and organic gardening, with a focus on local food and plant medicine. 

TLC Farm's immersion program consists of a three-week summer session, from July 31 to August 1, which will immerse participants, 18 and older, in a hands-on, holistic approach to sustainable living and community.  Read about last year's program in their awesome blog: 

Interns will tend, harvest and preserve food from the animals and garden, learn to make medicine from wild and cultivated plants, visit urban & rural sustainable farms, and much more! Tuition, room & board: $1,600. ($1,500 if signed up by June 15). Courses will be taught by TLC Farm teachers and local experts.

Each program participant will come away from this program with a set of skills which will be increasingly useful in our changing climate and economy and will a personalized action plan, supported by community mentors. A limited number of work-trade scholarships are available. Please contact or call 503-245-3847 for more information about the program and registration.

Application instructions are available at


More Details about TLC Farm's Sustainable Community Immersion Internship

1. Community living: Program participants will experience communal life on two levels. You will create a community and be responsible for collective decision-making, meal preparation, conflict resolution, etc. In addition, the community of interns will interact with, and be supported by, Cedar Moon, the intentional community at TLC Farm.

2. Outdoor living: The program is an immersive, outdoor experience. You will live in tents, wash in outdoor showers, cook in a outdoor kitchen, and have most classes and work experience outdoors. There will be an indoor space for reading, research and chill time with computers and a library. While Portland has a well deserved reputation for rain, summers are often quite dry especially from July through September.

3. Hands-on work and Theory:  The program includes a balance of lectures & discussions with hands-on experiential learning and field trips. Over time, the hands-on work will become increasingly self-directed.

4. Food preparation and sharing:  You will be provided with ingredients and suggestions as needed, and will collaboratively create and implement a cooking and cleaning schedule. TLC Farm is primarily a vegetarian community: we have chickens and dairy goats for eggs and milk and grow much of our own food.

5. TLC Farm location & history : A unique seven-acre farm surrounded by a 700-acre state park in Portland, Oregon, TLC Farm demonstrates how sustainable living techniques can further goals often perceived as contradictory: urban density of human habitat inside the growth boundary, combined with not only conservation of natural resources and public greenspace, but actual enhancement of native ecosystems. TLC Farm was born out of a community effort to save the land from development and turn it into a community space for sustainability education. This land now functions as a gathering place, sustainability education facility, community center and retreat – all within a bike ride from downtown Portland.

6. Work Study positions:  There are four work-study positions provided for the program. Food coordinators will help the  create menus for each week based on food available at the farm, coordinate cooking and cleaning schedules, and manage the community kitchen. Scribes will take notes and photographs of all aspects of the program and use these to create a blog during the program. Work trade positions will require approximately 10 hours of work per week.

Keywords: permaculture, sustainability, sustainable, garden, food, plant spirit medicine, summer internship, summer internship, camping, Oregon, PNW, NW, Portland, farm, forest.

Next Volunteer Educator Training: April 3rd, 2010

Apr 3 2010 - 10:00am - 2:00pm
Kids in Greenhouse with Education Intern Alycia Bouyanan

Do you have a passion for working with kids in an outdoor setting? Are you excited to learn about sustainability while passing on your knowledge to the next generation? Then get involved in our Hands-On Sustainability youth education program by becoming a 'Volunteer Educator.' Now recruiting volunteers for 2010.

Volunteer Educator Position Description
(possible internship or independent study credit available)

Our Hands-on Sustainability Program engages youth ages preschool through college in an interactive farm tour and hands-on activities and lessons on specific sustainability and ecology themes (gardening, natural building, forest ecology, restoration, etc.). There are opportunities for volunteers to develop ongoing relationships with groups that visit regularly.

Volunteer Educators will lead youth field trip activities at Tryon Life Community Farm using activities from TLC Farm's Curriculum (examples here) and their own creativity.

Volunteer Training:

Training for each volunteer educator includes attending a training session and observing / co-teaching 1-2 classes before being the primary teacher for visiting students.

Sign up for our next Volunteer Training! April 3, 2010 Contact emily(at) to register. Training is free and lunch will be provided.

Volunteer Commitment: We are now recruiting volunteers who can commit to leading regular field trips throughout the winter and spring (although a longer commitment would be great!) Each volunteer will commit to leading a trip twice per month. We can arrange your commitment based upon your current schedule and the requests we get from interested youth groups and schools. Field trips are usually scheduled 9am and 5pm, Tuesdays-Saturdays.


Requirements: Volunteers must have prior experience working with youth in an educational setting. Experience with sustainability education is a plus, but not required. Must be willing to have a background check if you do not currently work within a school system or other employer where it was recently required.

For more information please contact Emily Gowen, Youth Education Coordinator.

Email: emily (at)

Cell: 802.399.6426

Farm Phone: 503.245.3847

Feedback and participation welcome! Please send bug reports to

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