"While there are cultures not based on agriculture, all civilizations have been based on agriculture. Civilization requires cities. Cities are dependent on agriculture. Our current dominant agriculture is not sustainable. It destroys the soil, defiles the water and air, and disrupts the critical dynamic balance of natural systems upon which all life on earth depends, pushing climate into unsteady and unpredictable weather. Without predictable, dependable, moderate weather, agriculture is not possible.

"In the next decade, if we do not put into practice a sustainable agriculture which begins the reversing of climate change cities will collapse and civilization will disappear within the following decade."

Will Newman II

When the door of spring opens in the Clackamas County community, the neighborhood is abuzz with the sound of the lawn mower, the weed whacker and the sweet singing of our local birds. Sometimes you can detect a slight hint of a “farmy odor” coming from behind the local K-Mart and Lowe’s stores. We know you can catch a whiff of us most any week! That’s us, McFarlane’s Bark, composter in the Portland metropolitan area since 1965. We are hard at work composting curbside collected grass clippings and yard debris all loads brought in by local residents and landscape companies.

Organic farming is the safe way to feed your family and it’s a good response to the climate changes, also known as global warming. Organic systems use less fossil fuel energy. So plant your garden with the “no till” or “no plow” method.  You can learn more about “No Til” on the internet. Use lots of compost and do not use herbicides or pesticides.

The microbial activity in your soil plays an important role in helping to slow down the decay of organic matter. Mychorriza fungi is the soil doctor, working to conserve organic matter by aggregating organic matter with clay soil. You may think your hard and chunky Oregon clay soil is hard to work with, but it is one of the healthiest soils in the world. It is loaded with the right amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other elements that are essential to perpetuate healthy growth in your Garden of Eden.

Keep on Recycling. McFarlane’s will continue to recycle their plastics, glass, paper, e-waste and metals. By the way, in April of 2008 McFarlane’s recycled 19,000 pounds of scrap metal; obviously, we do more than produce compost.

Continued education about recycling, organic gardening methods and sustainable life styles are an ever increasing value to all of us. Let’s all strive to obtain the products that can be used without harm to the environment or human health.

By: Kathleen Mcfarlane