Sprawling across two acres on the outskirts of Sisters, the nonprofit organic farm Seed to Table is about to be in full bloom. Once vegetables and fruits are ready to be picked, the farm will be responsible for distributing several tons of produce to families in Sisters and beyond.
Audrey Tehan, Director of the Seed to Table program, returned to her hometown of Sisters after college and started the program literally from the ground up. Tehan began her career by managing a greenhouse on the Sisters Middle School grounds. Working with the school district, Tehan integrated a farm-to-table program that put the greenhouse-grown vegetables and fruits directly on school lunch tables districtwide.
“Growing your own food is both challenging and rewarding,” says Tehan, who grew up in a farming family, installing irrigation lines and using proper organic methods.
Unfortunately, the middle school greenhouse was destroyed by a snow storm in 2013. This did not deter Tehan, however, as her dream had always been to oversee a successful community garden and share the importance of nutrition, agriculture and art with kids and adults. After securing several grants and planting the first seeds on her family’s land, the Seed to Table vision began to take shape. It is now one of the most successful community outreach programs in the area.
Seed to Table’s mission has been the same from the beginning—to increase the health and wellness of the Central Oregon Community by providing equal access to nutritious foods and education in science, gardening and art. During the growing season, Seed to Table provides
produce for close to 200 low income families each week. Families get access to the produce through the school district, the Sisters Kiwanis food bank, and a produce share providing a weekly bounty of fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
“I love being a part of the community and working with the schools. The students are really becoming familiar with our program and have started making changes to their eating habits.” – Audrey Tehan
The educational component of Seed to Table invites Central Oregonian children to work a minimum of four hours in farm-based education. Using a hands-on approach, kids learn to plant seeds, garden organically, and harvest in the high desert’s challenging environment. Kids also learn the importance of physical activity and supporting local farmers and products.
Keeping it Local
“I love being a part of the community and working with the schools,” says a proud Tehan. “The students are really becoming familiar with our program and have started making changes to their eating habits.”
The Sisters Community has been extremely supportive of Seed to Table both financially and physically, furthering the commitment of making their town a healthier place to live. In addition to private donations and classes, Seed to Table raises money by holding community events including the Rotary Club Hoedown and the Fall Harvest Dinner where they partner with local chefs to prepare a four-course, farm fresh meal.