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Alvadore country school house set to re-open its doors on Hunton's Farm--help us renovate this rural education center!
Camas Country Mill
Junction City, Oregon
United States
1 Team Member

The Camas Country Mill Schoolhouse Project

Farm to School Outreach   |   Tours   |   Farm Dinners and Events   |   Retail Store

One hundred years ago, the landscape of the Willamette Valley was dotted with two rural fixtures now rare as hen's teeth; stone-burr flour mills for strong foodsheds, and one-room schoolhouses for educated farm kids. Swept away by the tides of a changing world, we believe both of these anchors of rural life are worth preserving, strengthening, and sharing with our community. 

A third-generation family farm growing grains, lentils, and beans for our small-scale commercial mill, we're at the forefront of a national movement to revive local grain economies. Help us renovate the Lower Fern Ridge Schoolhouse to serve as a destination education and community center for our mill, on our farm, and be a part of preserving living history and strengthening our local food web!

Renovations & Rewards

  • We are reaching in our own pockets to cover the cost of moving the schoolhouse to Hunton's Farm, and are asking for $30,000 to renovate the building and restore it as closely as possible to its original state. This means a solid foundation, new windows, repairing siding, re-constructing the bell tower (we tracked down the original bell halfway across the country!), and strengthening the structure for safety and accessibility.
  • Our ambitious plans for the site around the schoolhouse include a commercial kitchen & retail baked goods, outdoor picnic areas, landscaping to include small grain test plots & a kitchen garden, and eventually.....the re-location of our entire milling and packaging operation on-farm! Any funds raised beyond our goal of $30,000 will go toward making this full-circle field to flour dream a reality on our farm.
  • We want you to be a part of this project, start to finish and down the road! We're offering a whole passel of perks to thank you for your support; small tokens for our immense gratitude. 
  • Want to add your names to those of school kids from over 100 years ago? We can't let you carve in to the siding--but sponsor a brick, a window, furniture, or a test garden plot, and your name will be inscribed on this community asset for life!
  • And of course, what kind of rewards would these be without a little "whole grain goodness"? Limited edition hand-crafted cookbooks, product discounts good at the market, mill, and on-farm store when it opens...


Why Farm to School and Farm to You Matters to Us

Camas Country Mill whole grain flour reaches the cafeterias of over 35,000 students in the Bethel, Bend-LaPine and North Santiam school districts each year, alongside 200,000 pounds of Lentil Barley Soup Mix, first developed as a complete protein soup base for Food For Lane County. Farm to School and community outreach are some of the most valuable facets of our mill. We currently offer guided tours once a week at our mill and seasonally at our farm, and have gotten wonderful feedback from students and teachers about the experience. The field to flour process is a revelation for students, as is loving the whole grain baked goods they sample. With a staff of three retired school teachers, we have an excellent crew for leading tours, and are so excited by the idea of having the Lower Fern Ridge School as our open house for tours and education.

Outreach doesn't stop after graduation, however. Talking to our customers and community at farmers markets, events, and conferences, folks often think about flour as a real food ingredient, rather than a factory product, for the very first time. It's important to know your farmers and food processors--particularly for staple foods! We want to share the deliciousness and tangible difference of freshly milled whole grain flours, and for such a unique product it's important to have face-to-face contact with those that grew and produced it. That's why we're incorporating our retail storefront in to the schoolhouse, so you can enjoy shopping on-farm and chatting with the folks who know our products from field to flour.

The School

The Lower Fern Ridge Schoolhouse is a one-room school built prior to 1890, and is the last standing building from the town of Alvadore's heydey in the 1900s. It has the iconic architecture of a country schoolhouse from its bell tower to its abrupt, window-less front and interior wainscoting. We are lucky enough to still have the last remaining graduate of the Lower Fern Ridge School in our community--as a matter of fact, Lew Bailey has been our landlord for over 40 years--who has painted us a solid picture of what the interior and grounds of the school once looked like, from the pot-belly stove to the desks and recital bench. The names of school kids from over 100 years ago are still visible, scrawled in graphite under the former coat racks, and carved in to the backs and sides of the building. These are family names still alive in our community, and we're hoping to preserve as many signatures as possible throughout the restoration. You can explore our gallery for more photos, or see our Flickr series.

The Mill

When Camas Country Mill opened its doors two years ago, we were the first stone grist mill of our kind in the Willamette Valley in over eighty years. With the help of local wholesale distributor Hummingbird Wholesale, we embarked on the ambitious project of growing our own bread wheat and ancient grains, and encouraging local and regional farmers to do the same. Slowly, acreage is changing in Oregon to reflect the burgeoning demand for locally grown and processed grains and legumes. Much of what we mill is grown on owners Tom and Sue Hunton's third-generation family farm, an enterprise with deep ties to the land and community of the Southern Willamette Valley for over fifty years. Artisan, farm-based flour is an anomaly in an industry saturated with factory flour and economies of massive scale; we want to share our field to flour project with everyone by opening up the doors of this schoolhouse on our farm, and allow folks the unique opportunity to see their ingredients grown and processed in person.

Beyond the Pocketbook

Can't contribute at this time? No worries; there are plenty of other ways to help us!

  • Donate your time/skills/energy: landscaping, pruning in the orchard, painting the exterior & interior of the schoolhouse, re-creating the original interior etc. There are lots of little (and big) tasks at the site that will need work; think you have something to share? Let us know!
  • Share the campaign! Blogs, email, facebook, twitter, word of mouth, carrier pigeon, telegram, whatever you use!

Find This Campaign On
raised in 1 month
16% funded
No time left
$30,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on October 14, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Hand-written thank you note

    A photo postcard of the schoolhouse, with a hand-written and personal thank you for your help. Delivered to your mailbox (the real one on the road, not just your email!) within 2 weeks of your donation.

    3 claimed
  • $25USD
    Chalkboard Thank you

    Receive our gratitude and have your name appear on the original chalkboard on the inside of the schoolhouse. A hand-written thank you note, too, of course.

    4 claimed
  • $50USD
    Punch card Perk

    This punch card will be valued at $25 and is good at our retail store at Camas Country Mill and particpating farmer's markets. For those outside the Eugene area, we can ship product to your address of choice. (Up to $12 in shipping costs)

    2 out of 50 claimed
  • $75USD
    Hand-Bound Recipe Book

    Only 20 available! Tried and true recipes from the Camas Country Mill test kitchen, hand-bound in to a unique, one-of a kind cookbook. Includes No Fail Bread, Barley Flour Gingersnaps, Heirloom Wheat Thins and more. Delivered in time to make a great holiday gift.

    11 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2013
  • $150USD
    Framed Memento

    Beautifully framed before and after photos of the Lower Fern Ridge Schoolhouse to document the impact of your generous gift.

    0 out of 20 claimed
  • $250USD
    Name A Brick

    Your name engraved on a paver stone that will serve as the beautiful path and landscape around the schoolhouse.

    4 out of 100 claimed
  • $250USD
    Farm & Mill Tour

    A free tour at the schoolhouse and of Hunton's Farm (dependent on season) for up to 25 people. Or, sponsor a scholarship for a school tour! This will enable a class with limited funds to attend the mill & schoolhouse for a full tour. We'll post it on our blog, and you may even receive a generous piece of thank-you 'kid art'!

    2 out of 5 claimed
  • $500USD
    Mill Master for a Day

    See the whole process from field to flour, and mill your own 100 pounds of flour for the pantry. A private mill tour (farm if seasonally feasible) for you and a guest, and opportunity to stone-grind your own flour! See how it all works, and learn hands-on what it takes to run the mill.

    1 out of 5 claimed
  • $750USD
    Sponsor a Window

    The 7 beautiful windows in the schoolhouse all need replacing. Your name on the window ledge; come and gaze out at the fields any time!

    1 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Tables, Chairs, and Gardens

    Did you sit patiently through class as a kid? Sponsor an antique piece of schoolroom furniture--student desk, teacher's desk, or recital bench. Spent more time gazing out the window? Sponsor a kitchen garden or grain test plot; suggest what you'd like to grow and come help us grow & harvest from your plot!

    0 claimed
  • $1,500USD
    Rent the Schoolhouse

    The schoolhouse will be yours for any one day on a weekend or holiday of your choice! Wonderful for family or company events, we will decorate, help set up and clean after your event.

    0 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Ring The Bell

    Help reconstruct the bell tower for this iconic building. We have the original bell from the schoolhouse, and this will enable us to rebuild the tower so the bell may ring once again. Be the first person to ring the schoolhouse bell (in over 80 years!) at our grand opening event.

    0 out of 1 claimed
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