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Backyard Farm Tour 2015

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The BYFT is Not Happening

post by: Dale Friedkin  August 26, 2015

I have visited dozens of gardens this summer.  I have had a great Backyardfarmtour, unfortunately I will be the only one.  Though I think the number of people growing gardens is pathetic, I still found enough places.  I even found enough who wanted to be on the tour and who were set to do it.  I did not get a lot of places, but there was enough...until they started quitting. That happens every year, but this year it was 5 places.  The most pathetic excuse was "I forgot I have to work that day".  There were also a couple of places who agreed to do the tour that I tried to touch base with that were not available--I wasn't feeling too comfortable.  I still remember from 2 years ago when a place on the byft, decided to leave town that weekend and didn't even let me know.  I only found out when I was dropping off the yard signs, 2 days before the event. All in all though, people who garden are great people and I had a good time seeing their places and talking with them about gardening.  That is what the byft is all about, why it is such a struggle to find places to be on it is mystifying.

I made an earnest attempt to keep this thing going.  I called in a couple of standbys, got some new places and got a couple of other good ones that were into it...until they checked their calendars.  I was throwing Hail Mary passes to make this happen and I completed a few of them, but then the other side won.  It wasn't enough and was past the time where I needed to be concentrating on writing the guide booklet and promoting this thing, I had to finally give up.

We were so close, only a couple of places short.  People need to realize how important their participation is.  What we all do matters, don't think there will someone else there to make it happen.  Of course there is always going to be people who cannot do it on a particular day, people who have other priorities and people who just do not want to be a part of it.  But obviously there are too many like that.  I am very disappointed in some particular people who should have been there.  More people growing something beyond 1 raised bed and a small pvc greenhouse or a patch of sunflowers...or a lawn would make it easier too.

We did get some very interesting places this year, that won't be seen by what looked to be another large turnout of backyardfarmtourists.  That's a shame.  Seeing what other gardeners (+farmers and ranches) could do in your own local area is a powerful thing.  The BYFT did inspire people to garden.

To me the byft wasn't just something interesting to do on an idle Saturday.  To me gardening and producing your own food is a political act.  It is a sensible adaptation to a future of turmoil and the diminishing returns of our dying industrial culture. I think it is a much better way of life too.  I didn't expect that Bend, Oregon would ever "get it" but I hoped to reach at least a few that weren't drinking the koolaid.

I can't say if the BYFT will be back or not. If it is up to my initiative, that probably won't be enough.  We had enough spectators in the seats, but not enough players on the stage.  Apropos for a nation of docile subservient consumers.  The BYFT was about showing people that they could become players.

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Help! We Need a Few More Gardens

post by: Dale Friedkin  August 20, 2015

We have had a rash of last minute cancellations and are a few gardens short. There is even a chance that the event may have to be cancelled. That would be a shame because the BYFT is a popular event where many have an enjoyable time, getting inspired and learning about gardening. I am surprised I got no takers from my post here a couple of weeks ago soliciting gardens for the tour. Not only do you get to show off your garden and talk gardening all day with people, but you get paid to do it! Refer to or for details. The BYFT takes place Sat., Sept. 12 from 11 to 4. So far we have places as far south as Knott Rd., north as Tumalo Rd and East as Cimarron City. So if you are within or adjacent to those areas or anywhere within Bend, you're good! email

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BYFT Money Raised to be Split among Participating Farms and Gardens

post by: Dale Friedkin  August 3, 2015

Typically an event like the Backyard Farm Tour sells guide booklets and raises money for a cause, charity or non-profits.  But as long as I am running this show do not expect anything typical! The BYFT educates and inspires people to grow food and garden.  What better cause is there than that?  So why should we not reward the gardeners, farmer's and ranchers for giving of their time and their homes to show people that.  

This is a pretty good deal for being one of the gardens (or farms or ranches) on the BYFT. You get to have a garden party with people who will appreciate the fine work you have done, up until now, in obscurity.  You get to have interesting conversation about growing food where you, the oracle, is consulted.  You get to do something socially useful, showing your neighbours how to provide for themselves.  And on top of that you make some money! 

The amount of money is subject to the number of places on the tour and the number of booklets we sell.  I think it can be expected that the absolute minimum would be $50.  Maybe we can decide to have a lottery so that only 50% get the money.  Then the minimum would be $100.

This also dovetails nicely with my objectives as the organizer of the BYFT.  The hardest part about organizing the byft is finding the sites.  Even of those with suitable gardens, there are plenty who have previous engagements, marijuana scenes and just plain aren't into it.  We don't exactly have a gardening culture here where we are brimming with food growers.  I am doing everything I can to turn that around, but in the incentive to be on this may help. 

The byft is not necessarily looking for nice neat gardens.  We are looking for good food growers.  Don't think you have to be perfect to be on this tour!  Earnest attempts are appreciated.  We like any size.  We have had patios and small alley spaces up to 50 acre ranches.  The common denominator being they are creative, dedicated and maybe a little crazy about gardening.

We are still looking for gardens, farms and ranches for the BYFT 2015.  We don't go too far away from Bend because it is too much driving when you have a dozen stops and we try to make this bikable.  Tumalo, towards Alfalfa, probably.  South Redmond, maybe.  Contact the BYFT at -- Don't be shy we are happy to answer your questions.

tags: about, news | permalink

BYFT Welcomes Moonfire and Sun as Sponsor

post by: Dale Friedkin  August 3, 2015

Moonfire and Sun Garden CenterThe BYFT is happy to announce that Moonfire and Sun Garden Center will be joining us as a sponsor this year.  They won't be merely giving us some money for advertising, but will be working with us to make the BYFT happen.  The first year I took over the BYFT, I did not have any fun seeking sponsorships to say the least.  I decided to spend my time working with gardeners and farmers rather than business people.  I figured out that I didn't to need operate like everybody else and ran the most successful BYFT ever with no money and no sponsorships! 

That changed when I walked into the Moonfire and Sun Garden Center. I hadn't been there for years, it has developed into an excellent Garden Center.  They had a great selection of starts and I was surprised that they had very good selection of edible landscape/permaculture type plants.  They are also a great place to check out if you are looking to get some fruit trees.  They get bare root trees and stick them in the ground for year.  So the by the time you buy them they are nicely developed and still very reasonably priced.  So I talked to the owner and we hit it off, like I do with so many on the BYFT, talking about gardening.  And here we are!

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6th Annual Backyard Farm Tour Coming Weekend of Sept. 12th

post by: Dale Friedkin  July 13, 2015

Bend's Backyard Farm Tour (BYFT) Returns for its 6th rendition the weekend of September 12th.  It will probably be a 2 day event, but we will see for sure as we piece it together.  Last year it turned out to fit better into just 1 day.

A tour of selected sites of gardens, farms, ranches and dairies the BYFT has inspired many to start their own gardens and sparked the imagination those already growing food as they see with their own eyes what some of what the best locals have achieved.

Provided for free as an educational resource for the community with all info provided online, the BYFT is also a fundraiser for non-profit groups who print up the guide booklets themselves, sell them and simply keep the proceeds.  Remarkably the BYFT has a budget of $0.  Even the legwork is done with...legs.  The BYFT's organizer visits dozens of prospective tour stops over hundreds of miles by bicycle.

We are in a golden age for growing food in this area.  Though changes in the weather are decimating the ski industry and wreaking havoc across the globe it is working out great for local gardeners and farmers.    The clich├ęs about growing here of "difficult" and "challenging" have been rendered obsolete.  We now have long sunny days, mild nights and long growing seasons above freezing, even exceeding 5 months in some areas.  This year we have even been blessed with many refreshing and quenching downpours.  It's a no brainer to grow your own and partake of the local product over the unsustainable and noxious product of our industrial food system.  The BYFT is here to help you on your way.

Volunteers and host venues are being sought.  Email us at
Stay tuned to our website and facebook page to keep abreast of the BYFT as we build towards the event.

tags: news | permalink

Get Some Garden Supplies and See Some Old Friends

post by: Dale Friedkin  May 13, 2015

It's out of place to hawk stuff here but... It's at a very cool garden that has been on the BYFT a couple of times.  I went last year and got some very nice stuff that you won't find elsewhere + only spent 10 bucks. I got some Borage that is now seeding itself, Husk Cherries which are related to Tomatillas and produce a golden sorta-like a cherry fruit, Scarlet Runner Beans and Spanish Radishes. I didn't like the Spanish Radishes but it is interesting to try new things. These people used to have a shop but they decided not to put up with all the bs and simplify and quit, but they still get to do the fun part with these flash sales AND its Duane and Julie Schiedler! They created the BackyardFarmTour and ran it for its first 3 years, so a lot of people here know them and will want to stop by and say hello! The sale takes place Sat. May 16th.


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BYFT'ers Join Forces to Build a Garden

post by: Dale Friedkin  May 12, 2015

hope springs dairy
Backyard Farm Tour Director, Dale Friedkin, Central Oregon Locavore Wwoofers and Hope Springs Dairy will be getting together Saturday to build a garden for Hope Springs Dairy. Hope Springs Dairy has been a host Farm for the Backyardfarmtour the last 2 years. Central Oregon Locavore has been the main beneficiary of the funds generated by the BYFT, the last couple of years and helps with the events materials and marketing. Wwoofers, willing workers on organic farms, is a Locavore volunteer program. The Garden will be one of several projects crews of wwoofers will take on for the day. Mr. Friedkin will design and supervise the garden project. Mr. Friedkin's innovative gardens take their cues from natural systems and eschew common agricultural ideas such rows, rectangles and mono-crops. Lunch will be served.

tags: news, locavore, garden | permalink

The BYFT Endorses Foster Fell for Parks and Rec Director

post by: Dale Friedkin  May 6, 2015

Happy Springtime, farmers, gardeners and backyardfarmtourists!  I just got my Voters Pamphlet in the mail--Who knew there was an election?  Aside from the empty social climbers with their platitudes, I found a candidate who I hearteningly endorse.  That is Foster Fell for Bend Metro Park and Recreation Director, Position 1.  He was the only person running for Parks and Rec that stated that he was for more Community Gardens!  He also alone came out for a free flowing Deschutes River and against the super expensive Disneyland like attractions Parks and Rec are developing.  I know Foster and he is a heartfelt activist who make things happen and takes a stand instead of just being another empty suit.  He is also, like the rest of us, a soil scientist.  He even got a degree in it though.

There is another reason I am for him.  I have this pipe dream for the Bend Parks and Rec, with all of their resources, of developing a Food Forest.  A Food Forest, is a Permaculture construct of a natural, integrated forest consisting of edible vegetation.  For instance in our area, imagine a Park of a forested area with Apple, Pear, Cherry, Plum and Apricot trees and more.  Then there would be, like any forested area, smaller trees and shrubs like maybe hazelnuts, blackberries and raspberries, currents etc., etc.  Wild Asparagus and Strawberries, herbs?  The possibilities are endless.  I think Foster would like this idea and get behind it.  If he does get elected I will present it to him.  The City of Seattle is doing it, so can Bend.

tags: news, politics | permalink