↑ Return to Food Preservation

Barn & Preservation Facility

Latest News – SPRING 2010

At harvest time, many gardeners are quickly overwhelmed by the prodigious amounts of vegetables that their gardens provide. Sadly, gardeners often talk of having to “get rid” of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and other crops that have “gone crazy,” as if this abundance of food were a bad thing. As the popularity of food gardening increases, the importance of food preservation becomes clear to anyone concerned with waste. In fact, gardening and preservation go hand-in-hand, as your parents or grandparents probably knew.


Food preservation may be an often-overlooked part of the gardening process, but preservation of local produce is the best kind of food security. At one time, the Willamette Valley was dotted with small canneries, but now most of the food that you find in our supermarkets have been trucked in from far-away places. Part of the mission of Skinner City Farm is to educate the public about their food preservation options.

Skinner City Farm currently occupies half of a two-acre piece of land within Skinner Butte Park, with half the area set aside for garden plots and the other half for a proposed barn and preservation facility. These uses are actually written into the City of Eugene’s Master Plan for the park and the Willamette Greenway Permit. Design Bridge, a group of Architecture students and faculty at the University of Oregon, partnered with SCF to do much of the preliminary work, from site surveys to landscape and architectural proposals.

Design BridgeDesign Bridge met last Fall with SCF board members and City employees to present preliminary findings and pre-design work. The presentation included a site analysis, a study of how the project would fit in with the Skinner Butte Park Master Plan, an overview of precedents from around the country, and research on guidelines and requirements for food facilities. After that meeting, several design proposals were created and submitted to SCF.

We have identified three possible usage scenarios for a barn/cannery:

  • Shared Use Kitchen For The Public
  • The kitchen would be used for individuals and families to can and preserve produce for personal use. Community Gardeners would be the focus, but the facility could also be used by community members with gardens on their own property, those who get thier vegetables from a farmers’ market, or those who are members of a CSA (for example). These types of facilities were once common throughout Oregon.

  • Shared Use Kitchen For Nonprofit Social Enterprise
  • This scenario would help nonprofits develop an earned-income strategy to support themselves. For example, a nonprofit organization could use the facility to create a value-added product that would generate revenue for its operating expenses.

  • Shared Use Kitchen For Private Enterprise
  • The kitchen would also attract entrepreneurs from the private sector who could use the kitchen facilities to create their own value-added products, either from their own produce or from produce they purchase from a local farmer. This model would help incubate local businesses that would otherwise not be able to afford the costs of setting up their own facility.

The Shared Use Kitchen for Private Enterprise has been proven successful in helping incubate small, local businesses. Once the businesses become established and can afford their own facilities, they would no longer have use for the shared kitchen with its limited space for production and storage. Another benefit of businesses having their own space would be the increased hours of access and the convenience of not having to share resources. The incubator concept is an inherently temporary usage.

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