Sustainable Farming

What does it mean to be sustainable? Good question! At Stahlbush, we think it’s important to explain to people what we mean when we use this term to describe our way of farming and producing food. We define sustainable as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (based on “Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development,” United Nations, 1987). We like this definition because it shows the quest for sustainability is a philosophy. Our philosophy of sustainability guides our farming practices and affects the way we use energy and care for soil, water, people and wildlife.


Placing cover crops near waterways has helped lead to the establishment of an on-site 73-count Great Blue Heron rookery.

At Stahlbush, we farm with nature. Here in the Willamette Valley, the abundant wetlands, rivers and rich soils that make such good farming also attract a wide variety of wildlife. To protect riparian areas, we create a healthy, natural flora buffer to prevent runoff and provide wildlife habitat. Our Heron and Egret rookery is a nice example of a mutually beneficial relationship with our local wildlife neighbors.

Every year, two large colonies of Great Blue Herons and Great White Egrets nest in a stand of tall Cottonwood trees right across from some of our largest organic and sustainably farmed fields. During the wet winter and spring, the river delta provides nutrient-rich sediment. In the hollows, Great Blue Herons and Egrets forage on frogs and fish left behind as the river recedes. The organic and sustainable fields offer a safe and abundant food source for these beautiful birds, and their hunting keeps the fields relatively free from mice and frogs, protecting crops and finished food products.

Our wildlife neighbors include eagles, hawks, fox, beaver and deer, and every year dozens of species of migrating birds and waterfowl make a stopover here for food and rest, and we look forward to seeing them.