Food|Waves cultivates food justice and access to healthy food in Clackamas County and the surrounding communities.

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In 1999, Matt and Bobbie Brown met Nathan McFall in a small village, Kuma-Dunyo, in Togo, West Africa. They worked with farmers, non- government organizations, and students introducing and implementing environmental awareness and education programs, soil conservation techniques, and animal husbandry.

While discussing the major differences between their former lives in the states and their current lives in small, rural villages (lacking electricity and running water), they tried to evaluate the positives and negatives presented by these two extreme cultures. What does it mean to be privileged, educated Americans working with subsistence farmers- telling them to protect the micro-organisms in their soil by not burning the elephant grass? So, now the farmer has to do back-breaking work using simple hand tools to remove the weeds that the fire removed with little effort. Or, how do we discuss the impact of US foreign policy on Togo’s bush farmers in a post 9/11 world?

Really, how do you describe a blue world to someone who lives in a yellow world? Can we combine these two very different worlds and create a new, green world? Well, many beverages were consumed as we tried to answer these challenging questions, and we still had to figure out what we were going to do when we returned home.

Matt decided to get a Geoscience single-subject teaching credential at UC Irvine, and after several years of teaching Marine Science (chemistry, biology, ecology, and other related topic concerning the world’s oceans) and ROP Environmental Horticulture (career technical education in using plants for beauty, shelter, and food) at Northwood High School (Irvine, CA), he became extremely interested in the connection between the food we eat and the negative impacts of modern agriculture on the health of the oceans (acidification, ocean warming, dead zones, etc.), so he telephoned his old Peace Corps friend Nathan.

Now, upon his return from living abroad, Nathan committed himself to bringing what he learned about third world subsistence agriculture into the mix of American market farming.  As in the Peace Corps, education was always a valued tenant in the effort to shift the American food system towards a long-term environmental and socially conscience vision of living off the land.  Nathan was the Assistant Director on a community educational farm outside of Boston working with students, young and old, who were interested in learning how the food they ate was grown, harvested, and marketed.  Over the years, he continued this work on different farms (on four continents!)- gaining different perspectives and invaluable experiences.  Then, in the Fall of 2008, Nathan bought a six-acre property in Colton, OR which he named Converging Creeks Farm.

Since the first day they met, Nathan and Matt discussed the idea of working together on a farm combining sustainable agriculture with on-the-farm educational opportunities to demonstrate farming techniques that improve the health of our water, soil, and bodies- to teach small acreage stewardship to local community members and future farmers! Years later, Nathan is a master organic farmer with land near Portland, and Matt is a master teacher living in Southern California! Well, at least the two states touch!

Concurrently, during the same years Matt spent in the classroom and Nathan spent on the farm, books, magazines, movies, and many others have been discussing an interesting fact - that an average fruit or vegetable travels approximately 1,500 miles before it is eaten.  As a result, many consumers became interested in local foods. They built raised garden beds, backyard chicken coops, and purchased organic veggies at their local farmer’s market. As the localvore movement started to gain true believers, Matt’s students were driving off-campus during lunch break to purchase food that was not sustainable - continuing to exacerbate the global issues he was teaching about in the classroom. Where does the pesticide, plastic, styrofoam, and approximately two-thirds of the carbon dioxide produced by the transportation of all these lunchtime products, in the end, find as their resting place? The ocean. What to do? He built an organic garden on campus and encouraged students to learn how to grown their own chemical-free food that did not need to be wrapped in plastic and shipped from the other side of the planet.

So, can a tomato change the world? Maybe. Let us continue…

Well, in the summer of 2010, the Brown family decided to move to Oregon! They settled in Milwaukie (SE Portland). In the month of August, Nathan, Matt, and Bobbie worked with professionals, college students, and high school students harvesting produce and prepping it for market, transplanting seedlings, learning about drip irrigation, organic fertilizer, crop pest protection, and goat and chicken care.  They also got their hands dirty clearing brush along the road, building a new fence, stripping paint, chopping wood, creating flower beds, organizing equipment, and other farm chores. The farm received a makeover!  They continued to farm through the late Fall/early Winter until the first freeze selling veggies at farmer’s markets and to their clients (i.e. restaurants). Moreover, they were researching how to start a non-profit.  We followed the rules, and we started the non-profit, Food|Waves.


Our Mission Statement


Food|Waves cultivates food justice and access to healthy food in Clackamas County and the surrounding communities.


Through our three programs (see Programs), Food|Waves:

  • Offers stipend, hands-on training opportunities for future farmers to learn the skills necessary to operate a small-production, organic farm
  • Reaches out to community members (business owners, students, churches, individuals, non-profits, etc.) through innovative educational opportunities to learn sustainable practices implemented by organic farmers
  • Supports low-income families by providing the materials and training so they are able to grow their own fresh, nutritious, seasonal, and sustainable food
  • Provides organic vegetables to food banks in order to give those in need a healthier diet
  • Creates as many opportunities as possible to educate clients the important connection of how we eat to the overall health of our environment and ourselves! 

 Of course, all of our programs depend on grants, donations, and our harvest. So, please contribute through the Donate function.

Food|Waves is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Thank you for your interest in Food|Waves, and we are thankful for your support!