Physical Ecology

Work Parties, Skills Shares and Land Tending gatherings

You're invited to join in the work, learning and ceremony we share with this land, in a variety of community offerings.
Work Parties, Sundays 11-2 pm
Get your hands dirty and build community through shared work. All sorts of land projects will be engaged during these work parties! Contact for more information.
  • Sunday February 17th
  • Sunday March 10th 
  • Sunday April 7th
  • Sunday May 12th
Skillshares, Sundays 11-2 pm
Bring your own knowledge and your desires to learn more to these participatory gatherings; $5-15 sliding scale donations. Contact for more information.
  • Sun February 24th: Mushroom Logs
  • Sun March 17th; Nettles! Harvesting, storing and various preparations
  • Sun April 14th: Mushroom cultivation in the Garden
  • Sun May 19th: Companion Planting
Landwork: handprayers, a seasonal cycle of landscape-as-ceremony,
fourth Saturday of each month, 1:30 pm to 5pm, February 23, March 23, and on . . .path work

We invite you to join us as we practice working with other earthdwellers to cultivate richness, beauty, and vitality at TLC Farm. We will do this by listening and acting on what we hear. Listening to birds and winds, listening as we move and change plants and soil, listening to our inner world as a participant in a particular web of life.

Each month, we will gather in gratitude for the beings around us and to recognize our unique gifts of relationship with them, followed by setting the day's focus and our regular practices. Small groups will find places around the land that will be consistent over the seasons to spend time paying attention to what has changed, physically and in other ways, and what is called for.

These groups will initiate or continue seasonally appropriate projects, in the context of the land’s overall plan, to make these places richer and more diverse for plants, animals, fungi, microbes – and humans. At the end of each session’s work, we will come back together to reflect on our experiences and share thoughts for how to bring these ways into our daily lives, where we live.

These gatherings are appropriate for participants of all ages, capacities, and experience levels. We invite people to come and build a connection with a particular place on the land by tending it over time, but one-time or short-term commitments will be accommodated by pairing you with someone else.

Specific activities may include the following, but are limited only by your inspiration: layering compost and compost tea; digging some roots and propagating others; making comfortable sit spots; singing new songs and old ones; tending pathways; acknowledging sacred space with altars; pruning trees and bushes; pressing prayers into seedballs and scattering them; making evanescent art with berries and feathers; growing “living rooms” made of plants and open areas; mulching; meditating; blessing.

Participants invited regardless of ability to pay. Donations welcomed. For more information, contact

Facilitators Vinnie and brush have been listening to the land both here at TLC Farm and in California for many years, and will offer their knowledge of the site and experience with specific practices to the group.

Village Building Convergence Happenings, May 31, June 1, 6, 7th

May 31 2015 (All day) - Jun 7 2015 (All day)

Village Building Convergence at TLC Farm

May 31 & June 1 and June 6

We're happy to be participating in another great Village Building Convergence - our tenth one!  The VBC is a 10-day "Urban Permaculture Extravaganza" organized by the City Repair Project, with natural building and community-focused projects happening all over the city.

On May 31 and June 1, we'll be re-painting our beloved Tea Whale and using earthen plaster to finish our new seven-sided building. 

On June 6th we'll apply some permaculture design techniques to the garden, building an herb spiral and sheet mulching garden beds. 

We will be hosting work days from 10am to 4pm on May 30-31 and June 6, and running a shuttle to the VBC main venue at the beginning and end of each work day (RSVP for the shuttle).  Lunch, snacks and a delightful time will be provided! For more information, contact Jeffrey or call 503-245-3847.  

VBC Evening Event: Sunday June 7

"Singing-Alive" Song Circle, Snackluck, and Sauna
June 7th, 6 - 10pm
We've done it! For the final night of the VBC, Tryon Life Community Farm invites you to come celebrate all of the amazing work we've all done.  Please come join us for a "Singing-Alive" inspired evening where we will gather together at TLC Farm surrounded by beautiful forest and share space through the power of Song.

This is a time to share and learn new and old songs and be nourished by the beauty of voice, regardless of ones singing experience.  We will have multiple singing circles at a time and YOU are welcome to help hold a circle if you feel inspired.  There will be some snacks available, and we ask that if you are able to please bring more! Oh, and we will be firing up our wonderful earthen sauna for the occasion (note: the sauna is clothing optional).

What to Bring:
- you, your friends, and your beautiful voices
- any snacks you'd care to share
- a $10~$20 donation (no one turned away for lack of funds)
- a towel and water bottle for those who want to sing in the sauna

What not to bring:

- intoxicants

- dogs, unless they can be on leash at all times


There is NO onsite parking at TLC Farm, unless folks with special needs prearrange with us (send me an email if this is you). We will be running a shuttle from Riverdale High School - 9727 SW Terwilliger Blvd, Portland, OR 9721,  which is about 1 mile away. Also consider carpooling to the high school, and feel free to use our rideshare board.


Learn more about Recode!

Launched by TLC Farm in 2007, Recode is now an autonomous project with its own website:, office space, and director Melora Golden who can be reached at: info at recodenow dot org

Read on for a brief summary of Recode's goals, and see bottom of page to sign up for email announcement list, and download relevant files.

Recode is an organization that brings together citizens, planners, builders, activists, and other stakeholders in developing, coordinating, and building the movement for regulations that support grassroots sustainability.


·       facilitates collaboration among the existing organizations and people doing various aspects of the work;

·       creates space for grassroots groups in the discussion; and

·       specifically advocates for acting within a strategy of systemic change.

Sign Up for Recode’s newsletter:


We're getting a YURT!! Workparties Saturday and Monday!

Jan 19 2013 - 7:30am - Jan 21 2013 - 5:00pm
Our yurt!!

We are so excited to announce that TLC Farm is getting a 30 foot yurt to be an educational and event space on the Village Green!!
We are looking for a few more volunteers to help this Saturday and Monday (Jan 19 and 21, MLK Day) to join us for a workparty at the farm in Ranier, Oregon where the yurt is currently located. We will be deconstructing the yurt and platform, as well as doing some work-trade projects (moving animal fencing, building a shed, organizing a shop). Please only join us on Saturday if you were not already planning to participate in the Farm's native habitat restoration workparty, which is also on Saturday 12-3.
On both Saturday and Monday we will meet at a coffee shop in SE Portland at 7:30am and will return by dinner. We will provide transportation, food, and new friends to meet and have a great day with!
Stay tuned for announcements about yurt and platform building parties at TLC Farm in upcoming weekends! We hope to have the yurt up and running for anyone to host workshops and events by March!
Please contact Jenny at 503-548-8459 or jenny [at] tryonfarm [dot] org for details.

Land Projects


At TLC Farm, Portland's sustainability movements are creating one example of how urban density human habitat can coexist with thriving food systems and native ecologies. Our demonstration projects, all of which are workshopped and volunteer-run, illustrate how specific technologies and practices work, and how they can interconnect.

Of course, you're welcome to come and walk through the land, learning from the signs along the self-guided tour. But the best way to get involved and learn about what it's like to build a new world, is to help create it alongside the rest of us!

The areas we're focused on are:

Primarily focused on food production using standard organic and permaculture techniques: sheet mulching for weed control, interplanting, insectivories, etc. Primarily annuals and small perennials. Coordinated through the Garden working group, which has regular meetings.
Food Forests
Planning and implementing multi-story food forests both within existing native forest and orchard areas, and from scratch. In the medium-term we intend to establish a Food Forest Research Center in collaboration with local permaculturists, educational institutions, and urban policy planners. The purpose will be to develop experimental trials of various micro-habitat configurations and assess human food productivity, native habitat suitability, and human habitat usability. The goal will be to identify combinations that can be used on both public and private land to create corridors of stacked habitat and function. We are starting to meet on Tuesdays (child care coop!) to plan and implement food forest designs.
Working with volunteer professional architects, designers, and builders, TLC Farm pushes the envelope for regenerative design in Portland: built environments that are fully integrated into energy, water, food ("waste"), and habitat cycles with the rest of the local ecology. This includes a wide variety of demonstration natural building techniques (strawbale infill, cob, light straw/clay, earthen plaster, earthen paint, poured earth, earthbag, etc.). Saturday work parties frequently include a building element.
    Water flow
We intend to wean ourselves from city water, and to catch and use as much of our stormwater as possible (while keeping all our inside places dry). Our planning calls for bioremediation for runoff, multiple rainwater cisterns, multiple irrigation/aquaculture ponds, greywater systems, keyline swales, and possibly a nanohydro generation system.
    Domestic partners
TLC Farm currently manages a flock of chickens and herd of goats, and hosts several honeybee hives. The goats especially offer a wealth of volunteer opportunities: learn to milk goats, tend to their needs, and help them eat our blackberries. The goat working group meets irregularly; contact to get connected.
    Native habitat
Starting with the edges of the forest, and moving inwards, we are improving the native habitat function of the land. At the same time as we are managing invasive species like ivy, blackberry, thistle, garlic mustard, knotweed, and the like, we are planning long-term perennial plant systems that will create environments conducive to native plants and animals. Contact for more details.

The easiest way to get connected is to come out to a workparty on Thursday or Saturday. Or contact us. Together, we're building a better world!

Thanks for the New Stage Roof!

Butterfly roof at night

TLC Farm's stage gets a Beautiful Butterfly Roof!

A few months ago we put out a call to friendly architects to find a design for a new stage roof.  We were very blessed that Mark Lakeman & Sebastian Collet from Communitecture not only designed an amazingly beautiful butterfly roof, they bottomlined building it.  Many, many thanks!

Thanks also to the crew who helped build the roof (in the rain, and long into the night): Jacob, Frances, Matt, Maralena and more.  These good folks worked hard to ensure that our butterfly would be ready in time to dazzle the folks at Bloom, and every day since.

For more information about Communitecture and their wonderful earth inspired designs, call (503) 230-1293 or visit

Spring Weekend Workparties and Events

Chicken Tractor

Spring work parties at TLC Farm!


All work parties from 10-4, unless otherwise noted. Please bring your own lunch.

  • March 13: Mucking the Goat Barn. Hosted by Marc & Kelly

  • March 20: 1-3pm. Extended land tour. Hosted by Jenny

  • March 27: Upgrading our chicken scene. Hosted by Marc

  • March 28: TLC Farm office organizing party. Hosted by Kelly

  • April 4: TLC Farm office organizing – focus on organizing financial documents. Hosted by Laura

  • April 10: Garden tools care & maintenance. Hosted by Emily

  • April 17: Barn care work day. Hosted by Maralena, and extended land tour from 1-3, hosted by Jenny

  • April 24: Join us at City Repair's Earth Day Celebration at Washington High School!

  • April 25: Barn care work day, take 2.  Hosted by Otter & Kelly

  • May 1: Outdoor Kitchen organizing. Hosted by Kelly

  • May 8: BLOOM!

  • May 15 & 16: Primitive skills gathering

  • May 22: Garden-focused work day

As always, parking is limited so please carpool or bike to the farm. We are looking for more folks to help host work parties, so if you are interested, please give us a call: 503-245-3847!

Garden records

Garden map from 2008

We keep our garden records in hard copy. But, from time to time we will convert some of them to online form and make them available here.

ReCode Portland: TLC Farm Case Study

The Case of TLC Farm: Affecting Change in Zoning and Building Codes
by Amy Tyson

Amy's paper provides a detailed exploration of the history of building and zoning codes, with specific discussions regarding TLC Farm's proposed changes to city and state coding to allow for more sustainable building practices.

Natural Building Work Parties!

Mar 28 2009 - 10:00am - 12:00pm

(These are ongoing most every weekend!)

Join us in a building extravaganza of clay and straw! Or pound shingles on the roof of the Outdoor Kitchen!

The ever-ongoing barn project is still going on - the final earthen plaster on the loft is done, and we're moving downstairs to begin plastering the barn walls. Also, there are many, many shingles to be pounded into the new Outdoor Kitchen roof. Come enjoy spring as we work and build community.

Saturday work parties (10 am-4 pm):
April 18
April 25
May 2 (special Grateful Dead-themed work party)

TLC Farm will provide snacks, but please bring your own lunch. Call us at (503) 245-3847 or email for more information.

Feedback and participation welcome! Please send bug reports to

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