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Jamming for Sustainability

Sustainable farming on Cougar Mountain. Photo courtesy Noah Wemple.
Sustainable farming on Cougar Mountain. Photo courtesy Noah Wemple.

Cougar Mountain Farm is holding its seventh annual farm benefit, the Tayberry Jam, Aug. 3-5, to help fund advancements toward the farm’s development of a sustainable living center to further empower what has become its very own sustainable living movement. 

“After 30 years of homesteading here,” farm-owner Noah Wemple says, “we came to the realization through a lot of different ways that a permaculture sustainable living center that would teach about homesteading and off-the-grid living is a calling that is needed in the world today.” The Tayberry Jam with its speakers and musical acts is a means to fundraise to build upon this proposed learning center. 

The Jam is designed to get people thinking about living closer to the earth, Wemple says. “We see that there is a need in the world today for more educational models that serve as knowledge and inspiration for sustainable living,” he says. 

Models abound at Cougar Mountain: For the Jam itself, compost produced by the festival is recycled and the kitchen and showers run on solar power. And that’s just the icing; the farm itself is a running example of sustenance farming, 2 miles off the grid. There are two solar powered wells, five solar installations for power and a microhydro, which derives power from water. The Wemples implemented four “meaningful ponds,” meaning there’s always plenty of water around for fire suppression, erosion control, wildlife and irrigation. Jam-goers can also take in the 1,000-tree apple orchard, watched over by a red-tailed hawk at his treetop post. With the apples they’re growing, along with funds raised by the festival, Wemple hopes to implement a farm winery-cidery to further help support the farm’s growing ambition to develop the learning center. 

In addition to the music lineup, the Jam also features several speakers. There’s Marisha Auerbach, who will talk about permaculture design, Newt Locum will cover solar hot water and Solarize Eugene, and Gary Higbe will speak on renewable energy and the Energy Trust of Oregon.

Wemple will speak about Noah’s Ark Sustainable Living Center, he says, “and how we hope to impact the greater community with knowledge and inspiration about homesteading off the grid with renewable energy and organic farming strategies for soil fertility.” 

“We are in the mecca of sustainable living knowledge,” Wemple says. And the Tayberry is one of the ways he and his family propagate that knowledge. This weekend’s musical acts include Sol Seed, Sleep Rehearsal and Abstract Rude.

For more information, visit http://cougarmountainfarm.com