The MBA Hub

Net Impact: 2013 Farm Tour

Earlier this month, Net Impact Leadership Team members Tony Ferrer and Tanya Murray, together with nine fellow PSU graduate students, headed down to Sherwood, Oregon to visit Our Table Cooperative Farm

Our Table Cooperative Farm is an innovative 58-acre farming operation, organized as a worker-member cooperative, that uses organic and biodynamic practices to grow a diversity of food for local markets.

The day started with a tour that highlighted the sustainable farming practices employed by Our Table. These practices include integrating animals into weed control and fertility management systems, using cover crops to add soil nitrogen, experimenting with growing crops without supplemental irrigation, and delivering vegetables by cargo-bike. 

After a delicious lunch featuring burgers made from the farm’s grass fed beef, and homemade blueberry soda from the farm’s 2013 blueberry crop, the group settled into an intriguing conversation about the farm’s developing business model and financing options.

During this talk the group heard from Narendra Varma, founder of Our Table, about how a diversified farm operation with a high level of community investment can increase resiliency.

Some of the conversation focused on identifying product development and marketing strategies that best utilize the farm’s existing and developing assets. The group also explored consumer values and behavior around healthy food and cooking, and generated ideas for enhancing the C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture) member experience.

Farm tour participants say they appreciated the opportunity to learn more about a business dedicated to environmental, social, and economic sustainability. They also enjoyed the dialogue with the Our Table team, and the opportunity to utiilize their developing business acumen to help generate ideas for this inspiring venture.

A special thanks to Tanya Murray, who was an integral part of bringing this event together!  And, thanks to the folks at Our Table for opening up the farm to all those who participated.

Sarah Shannon has experience in internal and external business communications, marketing, and management.  She plans to apply her experience and skills to a career in marketing after graduation from Portland State’s full time MBA program in June 2014.  You can find Sarah on LinkedIn. 


Tags: argriculture, full time mba, Net Impact, part time mba, Sustainability

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Portland State's MBA program has earned numerous accolades, including a 2011-12 Beyond Grey Pinstripes Report rating of #1 in the world — for small schools — for its emphasis on environmental stewardship.