TLC Farm Arts Action Team

The TLC Farm Arts Action Team invites earth artists of Portland to participate in growing movement for ecological art! We are exploring the use of the arts as a mode of social healing to experience our connectedness to all our relations. As part of the process, we will feature rotating exhibitions that interact with TLC Farm itself.

To get involved with the Arts Action Team, email:

More about TLC FAAT

The Arts Action Team thinks that some of the most exciting things about TLC Farm are the interweaving of communities, and the creation of new modes of communication-in-place. Using ecology and the land as co-creative muse, metaphor, medium, and mentor, our goal is to facilitate the expression of these ideas and processes in concrete, intentional ways, through performance, sculpture/installation, exhibition, workshops, and other artistic means.



Here are some lenses we use to understand our work:

Place – focusing on the relationships between people, their histories, the land on which they live, how these things interweave in our minds and affect individuals concretely.

Participation – taking art off the pedestal and out of the museum, giving it back to the community, and celebrating collaboration, communication, and the creation of communal experiences.

Evolution – exploring processes of becoming, whether of individuals, communities, nature, or other things entirely, exploring the effects of time and energy on art and the world.

Social change – effecting social change inspired by art or artistic experiences; also celebrating alternative histories through art, using examples from the history of social movements to inspire and activate ourselves.

Ritual – utilizing art to create a spiritual experience for the viewer/participant, creating sacred places and energies to help people connect with their bodies, with the land, with each other, with something greater.

Art as a way to manifest/envision another way of living – We believe there is a better way to be. We believe in the power of art to open up spaces for dialogue, to crystallize and change our consciousness, and to help us envision and create a different world.

Current events: We are currently developing an Invitations for artists to create installation with the land (and elsewhere). Stay tuned for the announcement! Sign up for monthly updates, check the website, etc.

(Later maybe a Projects on the Farm section describing installations etc. that people can visit on the walking tour)

What We Do

We are a community venue for YOUR events: workshops, retreats, birthday parties, classes, or whatever you come up with!

We host educational field trips -- hands on fun!

We run an outdoor nature immersion farm and forest preschool -- Willow Creek Forest School.

We tend the land -- gardens, orchards, animal allies, water management and more!

We host community workparties and workshops.


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.
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.
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 many mason bees. 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.
Or contact us:
Together, we're building a better world!

Workshops and Workparties

Cobbers at Mini Moon

TLC Farm is an amazing place to learn ideas and practices for growing sustainable culture. 

Check out this page for the current schedule of events.

 Past workshop topics have included:

  • Earthen plasters
  • Wild fermented foods
  • Medicinal plant identification
  • Basic Gardening
  • Permaculture Design
  • Carpentry for women
  • Primitive Skills
  • Cheesemaking
  • Chickens!
  • Needle Felting
  • Bird language and tracking
  • Earth Activist Training (a permaculture design course)
  • Plant wisdom and earth songs
  • Food forest design
  • Indigenous lifeways
  • and many more!

Most workshops ask for a donation on a sliding scale or offer work-trade, to assist in paying for the presenter, facilities, and materials. Want to present a workshop? email or call our office at 503-245-3847.

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


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:


Rooted Spirituality

Tryon Life Community Farm extends a special invitation to all communities of faith:

Come share your unique wisdom here at TLC farm.

We welcome all efforts to inspire dialogue, generate workshops, and spawn ceremonies that inter-activate our highest spiritual potential.

  • How does your community root itself in its relationship to the earth?
  • How do the lessons and teachings of your community connect us deeper with the web of life?
  • How can we learn and work together for a healthier, wiser world?

A transformation towards just and sustainable economies requires a sea-change in values -- a dynamic necessarily founded in the ways of spirit. We accordingly seek to make TLC Farm accessible to all spiritual communities oriented towards the sacredness of the earth, and have hosted services and gatherings of Native American, Buddhist, Wiccan, Christian, Jewish, Sufi and other traditions, as well as interfaith ceremonies rooted in growing connection with the land.

In the past, TLC Farm has hosted blessings from Rabbis, Monks, and indigenous spiritual leaders. Currently, this land space holds a Native sweat lodge, earth-based altars built through community collaborations, rituals honoring the shift in seasons, and quiet sacred spaces.

Please contact us to discuss possibilities for occasional or regular engagement with this land and the networks connected through it.

TLC Farm provides common ground where a diversity of movements, communities and individuals in the metropolitan Portland region may:

  1. EDUCATE themselves and one other in skills, values, and paradigms for holistic human integration within our wider ecosystem;
  2. EXPERIENCE a sustainable urban ecology as possible, practical, and desirable; and
  3. EMERGE as empowered co-creators of cultures, economies, and polities of deep change.

We invite communities and individuals of faith to build a relationship with this land and the beautiful creatures co-habitating here. Please:

  • come visit this incredible land base,
  • create sacred space,
  • hold ceremonies and social gatherings,
  • and participate in the ongoing visioning of the sacred transformation of ourselves and this piece of Portland's legacy.

We seek to share this earthly sanctuary for group and personal renewal, meditation and prayer, rites of passage, celebrations, youth retreats, seasonal services, and spiritual ceremonies of all kinds.

Permaculture Design Course at TLC Farm

Permaculture Course

TLC Farm will be hosting a full 72-hour Permaculture Design 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. More about the course: 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.. 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 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. For more information about this course, please email or call Matt Bibeau at 503-245-3847. To be considered for this course, please fill out the questionnaire below and send to TLC Farm PDC Application Full and Preferred Name: Address: Phone: Email: 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?

ReCode Portland: organizing

Greetings, ReCoders!
Exciting things are on the move, though we've been a bit delayed getting the word out because of the holidays. Thanks for all the interest and input so far – it seems that this is ready to take on a life of its own!

This forum post is mostly the same as the email we just sent out to ReCode folks. To add to the discussion about how best to organize, new ideas, etc., just respond to this post! Once you're a participant or editor, you can create new topics too.

We had a great organizing meeting on December 13 at Laughing Horse Books. To read the detailed minutes, visit the ReCode blog at:

The next organizing meeting will be on Thursday, January 17 at 7 pm again at Laughing Horse Books (10 NE 12th). Hope to see you there!

Updates since the last meeting:
ReCode in the media: Our first media piece is happening sooner that anticipated. This past Sunday, TLC Farm got a call from Jim Redden asking “what's new?” and we couldn't resist telling him all about ReCode. Look for an article in Friday's Portland Tribune. Also, there is an article about ReCode in the most recent Communities magazine. Both articles focus on TLC Farm's involvement in ReCode, but we're very excited to be broadening the campaign beyond the work and vision of the farm.

Code Research: Amy Tyson wrote a comprehensive 35-page paper about ReCode, which discusses the history of building codes and zoning and details the specific regulatory issues TLC Farm is approaching in ReCode Portland. A great resource! (link to the website:

On that front, we're hoping to use TLC Farm's collaborative web site as a tool to coordinate the great research that folk are doing. See for further details on how to add to the site, and what our anticipated structure is. Please log in, and email us to be given editorial permissions!

Establishment of working groups:
To move the campaign forward, the folks at the meeting came up with the following five working groups. Each working group is autonomous and focused on its piece of the project, and all groups will come together once a month general meeting, to share resources and ideas and discuss strategy. Point people for the working groups act as catalysts to set meeting times and keep the group focused. If you're interested in getting involved with one (or more) of the working groups, please contact the point people. Some groups still need point people to help them move forward. Might that be you?

1.Code research and development. Point people: Cameron & Julee
Research what code and zoning is existing, and what we want to see. Figure out the process for creating new codes/ easier permitting for sustainable practices.
Folk (already) interested: Cameron, Julee, Matt, Amy, Tim, Jeff

2.Networking group. Point person: Brush
Keep in broader context, bring people in, cross-pollinate, contact allies. Get stakeholders on opposite sides, facilitate roundtables, understand the heart of issue. Networkers talk to people with concerns, not just ready-made allies. Also nationally, to bolster effort.
Folk interested: Brush, Magy, Jenny, Tim

3.Practices and goals. Point people (maybe?): Levin & Magy
What would these code changes look like on the ground? What is the world we want to see built? Work with code folks.
Folk interested: Levin, Magy, Julee, Amanda

4.Public education. Point person: ?
Public education through film, web, print media, etc. Create public awareness of the issues and garner support for regulatory change. Also, make easily accessible info about what the current codes are and how to navigate new ones.
Folk interested: Brenna, Amanda, Matt, Jeff

5.Government Relationships Point Person: Brenna
For both city and state.
Government is not keeping up with the desires/demands of the people. What concerns do they have, what are the hold-ups? Why were codes made in first place, and how can we address those concerns in a more sustainable fashion now?
Folk interested: Brenna, Jeremy

Fundraising: Not yet an established working group; could become so if people are interested. We don't want to wait for funding to get moving on the campaign, but will keep our eyes open for potential sources of funding for a paid organizer. We can write grants through TLC Farm. . .

Take care, and see you soon!

Feedback and participation welcome! Please send bug reports to

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