Learn about Nana Cardoon
Nana Cardoon is a non-profit urban farm and learning center located on the northern edge of Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley. In 2004, Charlene Murdock and Richard White created this oasis in hopes of offering the community a place to come together around traditional food knowledge and place-based learning. We host events, hands-on workshops, discussions, farm tours, and more. Our programs are designed for people of all ages and skill levels.
We think of our meals as the binding elements of culture and our connection, through hands in the dirt, to agrarian cultures the world over.
We believe that all people have the right to grow food and community. To empower and inspire Oregonians we share knowledge and crafting experiences that are rooted in farming traditions and cultural heritage.
Our Values are centered around:
- Farming Methods
- Seed Sovereignty
- Heritage Grains, and
- Traditions & Flavor Memories
Farming Methods Cultivating Heirloom Varieties and Nutrient-Dense Staples
Our farming methods are based on the dozens of farms that we have visited around the world. We practice a style of organic farm and orchard management that is supported by biodynamic and permaculture techniques and philosophies.
Seed Sovereignty – Seeds Belong to the People
Through our seed saving, we actively participate in local and international movements that conserve agricultural biodiversity. We serve on the Ark of Taste committee of Slow Food International. The committee’s mission involves creation of a living catalogue of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.
Participating in the Worldwide Renaissance of Heritage Grains
We are passionate about rebuilding our regional grain economy and revitalizing the lost craft of stone-milling flour – while also increasing biodiversity on our planet. We work across the region with farmers, millers, village bakers, brewers, and home bakers. Our farm grows heritage grains including Rye, Red Fife, Harry’s Red, Triticale and Maris Widgeon wheat, as well as a variety of legumes. We participate in ongoing wheat, barley, and oat trials with agricultural researchers in the Pacific Northwest.
Respecting and Preserving Food Traditions and Flavor Memories
When you gather around the table at Nana Cardoon, you gather around our living memories from our travels and food experiences. The traditional cooking vessels and serving utensils we set the table with carry the culinary knowledge we steward and hope to share with you. This knowledge is woven into all of our workshops and events.
Charlene & Richard: Both born into families of farmers, Charlene Murdock and Richard White have devoted their lives to providing family, friends, and community with home-grown food.
Murdock & White: For over 25 years Charlene and Richard operated Murdock & White (M&W) – the Pacific Northwest’s premier specialty food brokerage – with roots dating back to Charlene’s specialty brokerage in the 1980s. The heart of their food and farming work today stretches back to the relationships formed at M&W with many small, artisanal food producers across the region.
In 2004, Charlene and Richard were delegates to the first Terra Madre gathering in Turin, Italy. Sponsored by Slow Food International, Terra Madre is one of the largest international events dedicated to food, the environment, agriculture and food politics. This experience inspired Nana Cardoon’s work and commitment to the environment, agriculture, and food culture. Charlene and Richard are longtime members of Portland chapter of Slow Food and serve on the International Ark of Taste committee.
Not only gaining knowledge – through Murdock & White – Charlene and Richard also built “taste memories” with this community.
Taste memories are developed by tangible and intangible connections that are made relating to food, place, and the stories around a recipe prepared together.
“The need comes on me now to speak across the years to those who finally will live here after the present ruin, in the absence of most of my kind who by now are dead, or have given their minds to machines and become strange “over-qualified” for the handwork that must be done to remake, so far as humans can remake, all that humans have unmade.
To you, whoever you may be, I say: Come, meaning to stay. Come, willing to learn what this place, like no other, will ask of you and your children, if you mean to stay. ‘This land responds to good treatment,’ I heard my father say time and time again in his passion to renew, to make whole what ill use had broken. And so to you, whose lives taken from the life of this place I cannot foretell, I say: Come and treat it well.”
– “XI” by Wendell Berry