Prairie Creek Farm Rescue
The sudden and unexpected deterioration of my father, Gene Thiel, in 2013 and his death that July, hit the farm hard. Much of the crop in that year failed after primary attention and effort was properly focused on Gene, his health and his treatments. Vulnerable from not being able to buy new seed stock, disease wiped out most of the potato crop in 2014. Those crop failures have prevented me from substantially paying down the debts I chose to take on. At this time I can not obtain an operating loan to produce this year's crop.
It is now time to plant...
I invite you to participate in something that is good. Something that you can own as an impact on this community's health, and your own. Something you can look back on and feel you made it happen. That is how I feel farming this rich soil and providing very good food to many who need it to be that way for their well being.
I have learned to struggle through hard things.
I am not afraid of hard work, because I love the people I serve.
You may wonder why, but I consider it a privilege.
The goodness of the legacy I have gives me determination!
I know Prairie Creek Farm has a lot to offer in increasing ways to give many people access to things of value.
Will you help me move this forward?
The legacy of Prairie Creek Farm is built on authentic agriculture. Gene taught me that there is no sacrifice too great to follow one’s conscience, by doing what is best for the land and healthiest for your customers. I could not have had a better teacher. Oregon Tilth’s standards for organic certification grew out of a list of requirements for truly organic food that my father Gene and two other Oregon farmers scribbled on a napkin in Portland after some sellers started calling produce organic that was undeserving of that name. At the Saturday Portland Farmers’ Market at PSU, it was common for other farmers to come to Gene’s booth and ask him how to best deal naturally with problems that they had been unable to solve on their own farms. When the Slow Food movement needed a speaker for the movement’s annual convention, they flew Gene and my mother Eileen over so Gene could share his unique and in-depth knowledge of truly organic methods and their related health benefits.
There are many reasons why Portland’s most accomplished chefs still seek out Prairie Creek Farm's renowned potatoes, carrots and beets. Glacial silt soil at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains produces a depth and complexity of flavor that simply cannot be matched. The moraine’s soil and the organic methods used combine to produce levels of nutrients that one organic vitamin company’s tests determined to be “off the charts.” . It's 4,500 foot elevation leads to early sweetness from early freezes.
You can find Prairie Creek Farm and my father Gene in the writings of Michael Ableman, Robert Reynolds, Vitaly Paley, Karen Brook's Ted Talk and numerous articles. I understand how important it is for people to have access to things they value and I appreciate the art of those who can communicate, giving people access.
I can share this work with you . Collaboration is usually an indication of things being healthy from the producer to the consumer. I learned this from the valiant chefs in Portland such as Greg Higgins, Pascal, Annie Cuggino, Vitaly Paley, Jason French and a hundred more who treated my father well. I watched with happiness seeing my father feel rewarded as these great chefs used his produce and special ingredients to nurture our community at large.
The next few weeks will reveal how well the carrots and beets succeeded. The investment was not adequate to reach the hoped for yields but the weather is providing bonus growth that is not usual for this late. Without having enough to cover the labor costs the harvest is necessarily slow, but the weather has thus far saved the crop value that has been accomplished. It is breathtakingly dramatic to live this lifestyle. I yearn for the crop and it's potential and strive to do whatever it takes to accomplish what is necessary. I feel very grateful for these good things that are coming out of the ground like little miracles, every one. Thank you everyone!
Such good news to hear the crops are coming. The pictures are worth a lot, to see the crops and the weeds. For sure many hands would make for lighter work and lighter hearts. I also, want to say thank you to all who are supporting Patrick, Prairie Creek Farms, and his family. In particular, thank you, Vicki Isleman, for your words of support. They were well put. I know what it is like to be out in the 90 degree temperatures doing a physical job, hang in there Patrick!! Drink lots of water. ;) I would be there helping if I was a "mite" bit closer. And I know my daughter would as well. I'm sure if others are closer and unable to help out financially, Patrick, wouldn't turn away any volunteers to help pull weeds. Getting close to earth can be very therapeutic. The best way I can help at this time is through prayers and encouragement for a good cause. It is great to see the many family, friends, and those who are just willing to help, rallying behind you, Patrick, and your family farm!
Thank you everyone so much for your support to both helping Patrick and Prairie Creek Farms continue on with their lives, purposes and most of all recuperating from Patrick father's debts and demise. As you can see, he has a lot of friends helping as much as possible and amount of people is almost more heartwarming than the amount of the donation. It all mounts up! As positive as he is and with his faith, he tends to downplay the continual need for assistance (and he isn't one to ask). So I'm asking if people could please continue to add money when and as they can. Weeding is the current issue for the next couple of months and for that he has to pay. Obviously if it is organic, no one can grab a bottle of weed killer! It has to be done by hand. He has to hire help and that will be the next hurdle. Today when I spoke with him it was near 90 and he was out during the hottest part of the day with the sun beating down on him doing just that, weeding! He doesn't sit in a/c comfort and hire people, he leads the work by participation. I'm not far away from the Farm and I can attest to the fact that the weeds just started taking over around here. I can't speak as Patrick, but I can speak as someone who is very committed to seeing him get on top of his financial situation so in the future he can qualify for the assistance a Farmer has the rights to. I know I'm not the only one who wants to help and see him get back out from under a bad financial situation all around. He has lost so very much including his Father and he is just trying to do the right thing. And I have no doubt he will succeed, but how long the road will be is not within his control. He also has 4 incredible daughters that he is raising (although the 2 oldest have jobs, the 2 younger ones aren't old enough to work). I could type and type, but the bottom line is that we are well on the way, but we still have a ways to go. If you have an extra bit of money, particularly in July when there are 5 weeks which means more paydays than normal for many people, please don't forget he can still use/need help!
It is so exciting to see people from so many places come together to support not only Patrick, but what he represents from his Father's legacy to the chefs that love using his veggie's in several states, to the people who know him personally as part of this community and love him to the people who come to learn from him . Gofundme not only helped him get noticed for the huge financial burden he will continue to carry from his Father's sudden demise, but also got him some unexpected help that he didn't expect in workers. He works so hard and seems to enjoy every second of it. He is simply a pleasure to be around. Unfortunately so much of the money he has made to date has gone into keeping everything going this year as well as prepayments on product so at the end he will have made it through this year (without adding the the debt load), but won't leave him too much ahead in the larger scheme of things. He is so grateful and happy on so many levels for so much, yet he won't ever say that he still needs some help. So, I'm saying it...he still needs any help you can offer both in labor and funds to pay for labor and try and get some of that debt paid down further. Also one more remark if you have read down this far anyway. Often it is better to make donations without your name (i.e. anonymously) so as not to attract attention to yourself as a target to others seeking money for other reasons that you may not want bothering you. Patrick, the sponsor(s) can see your names and will always know who you are, but not the general public. Other's may not care or may want to show their names to be acknowledged by others as someone supporting Patrick or any other person, cause or community event. It is totally up to each of us individually. From my experience, I donate anonymously so I don't see a direct correlation between donations and people who want to Facebook "Friend" me that I don't know and have nothing in common with. Just a friendly warning and comment.
Patrick it all looks so fantastic! It was really an honor to see things in action. All the crops, the water they need, the deer feeding too much, the way you manage to make everything pleasant even when you are pressed for time. And I love you girls, they are fantastic, each in their own way. You are also passing on your knowledge (which is vast) to another generation (or 2). You teach so many such valuable knowledge that those honored few who work for you can take away more than a paycheck, they can take away as much knowledge as they can gather and learn. I hate the thought of you having to go out of state to help the fire crews in other states, but that is part of what makes you you and such a rich experience to know you. Stay safe!