One of the amazing things about living in Oregon is you are 30 minutes from the countryside, barring traffic, no matter where you are.
This is where you will find Jump for Joy Farm, outside of Portland on the East side. The 27-acre farm not only features full equestrian riding and boarding services, it’s also a great place for people of all ages to learn about life on the farm, interact with a variety of farm animals, and gain skills in urban farming and homesteading.
“For us, it’s about education, promoting healthy lifestyles and having fun while doing it,” said Christine Jackson, program manager for the farm. “We want to help adults and kids grow their connection to the natural world.” This is a holistic experience designed to teach adults and children everything from gardening, animal husbandry and horseback riding, to natural sciences and home canning.
There is also a full suite of offerings for people aged 5 to 85. They do group and individual classes and during the summer months offer camps for kids. The day I was there, two camps were going on, one was an equestrian riding camp with smaller kids, and another camp was teaching students about life on a farm and the importance of math and science. “We try to include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) training as much as we can in our camps,” Jackson pointed out while campers weighed how much hay to give horses.
The farm has an exceptional herd of lesson horses. Every level of rider is catered to. There are two large covered arenas, as well as a gallop track, outdoor jumper course, and small forested trail. Jump for Joy Farm consistently upgrades infrastructure to better serve the community. They are currently putting the finishing touches on other buildings, including an area for kids to do science experiments, an art studio, and expanded petting zoo.
A walk along the property shows how different areas are used for different topics, they have a small petting zoo with goats, a llama, pigs, and more and an area with blueberries and apple trees. “This really is a property designed to make learning about farming accessible to everyone,” Jackson said. The property itself is amazing, surrounded by Clackamas County farmland and forest areas. If you want to see the best the Willamette Valley has to offer, Jump for Joy Farm will give you a window into living the good life in Oregon.
There is also a full suite of adult offerings, focused on horseback riding, gardening, homesteading and animal husbandry. “We can do everything from group retreats to birthday parties and field trips and are able to create custom experiences for individuals, groups, classes, families, and organizations,” Jackson said.
The farm holds various annual open houses every year, such as the Harvest Festival coming up at the end of September. These events are open to the public and a great opportunity to learn about current program offerings, tour the farm, meet staff, and say ‘hi’ to the animals. If you want to see a great example of the agri-tourism industry in Oregon, Jump for Joy Farm can give you a peek into the many pleasures of life on a Northwest farm.
“For us the payoff is the smile,” Don Hall, Farm Manager, said standing in the arena. “The real reward for me is when people start to smile and understand what they are doing. That’s when you know you are successful.”
About Jump for Joy Farm: A 27-acre farm near Oregon City that works to keep people connected to the natural world through accessibility to services, skills and lessons in urban farming. They offer a full range of equestrian services, including riding lessons and boarding, as well as workshops and camps for all ages; plus birthday parties, event rentals, and family activities. To register for a program or learn more go to www.jump4joyfarm.com.
What to bring: It’s an outdoor farm in Oregon, so weather-appropriate clothing is suggested. In addition, many of the arenas and work areas are covered, so make sure you layer your clothing so you can adjust depending on the temperature. This is a working farm, so closed toed shoes or boots are necessary. Plus, a camera to take pictures of the stunning views around the property.
Tip: Registration is required. Jackson said that the Jump for Joy Farm website (www.jump4joyfarm.com) is the way to book your visit. They have all program offerings listed, a calendar of availability, and automated booking and payment options. There are scheduled programs as well as individual booking opportunities.
Season: The farm is open year-round.
Getting there: Jump for Joy Farm is located at 15898 South Springwater Road, Oregon City, Or, 97045. It is about 10 minutes off Interstate 205 near Carver.
By Patrick Johnson