What does it mean to the team at Topaz Farm to donate 100% of profits for the show?
To us, Topaz Farm is a place of healing. We work to make sure that people have the chance to share in that with our family. We want people to feel like they belong here from the moment they step foot on the farm. It is very important that while we are custodians of this farm we do all we can to take care of the land and to celebrate and share it with others who may not have had access to spaces like Topaz Farm.
We know that we can be part of ensuring that people who have traditionally been excluded from places like the farm have opportunities to gather here and share in rich and meaningful community building experiences.
We are very proud to co-present with She Shreds and invite their artists and friends out to enjoy the farm. The past year and a half has been incredibly difficult for many of us, and we know that coming together in community after such a long time in isolation is needed for us to heal from the many traumas caused by the pandemic. This is the kind of healing that we believe Topaz Farm is so good at.
To take our commitment further, we are working with the She Shreds team to donate 100% of our proceeds from the night to organizations that are doing work to improve the lived experiences of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. This means that after the artists, farm employees, and vendors are paid, any proceeds from the tickets, food, or beverages sold will be donated to organizations chosen by the artists.
We are so proud of this work and hope that Topaz Farm can make a difference in the lives of every attendee and the many people who will be supported from the proceeds of this sold-out show.
How else will you make the farm a safe space for BIPOC people moving forward?
Our mantra is: A working family farm – for every family. We are actively working to build a space where every family feels safe and welcome. We believe that people have needed – more than ever – a place to come and recharge. Creating this space has been at the heart of our mission at Topaz Farm since we bought it in January 2020. This is very important to us.
Right now, we do this by not charging for anything except food and drink (and now concerts), so people can enjoy the land without financial barriers.
When we first started, we donated three acres to the Sauvie Island Center including office space, internet, electricity and so on, so that they could fulfill their mission, including working to build a food forest on the farm with the Wisdom of the Elders, a Native American-led organization that records, preserves, and shares oral history, cultural arts, language concepts, and traditional ecological knowledge of exemplary Native American elders, storytellers, and scientists. We also donate space for other nonprofits to hold events.
Outside of our immediate birth-family, our entire leadership team on farm operations, the farm-to-table series, and the music series are people of color. We work to highlight BIPOC vendors in our farm store. We make sure our staff know our values around antiracism. We embrace the idea that no matter how hard we try, we have more work to do. We invite you, our guests, to provide feedback and are open to making changes. Topaz Farm grows as we do.
How will the farm make a safe space the night of the show?
As we build shows at the farm, we have been working to make the experience comfortable and fun. This process has pushed us to reexamine our operations, and more mindfully think about how to create an inclusive, safe space. We are working with our farm staff to create clear plans for logistics, operations, and security, so that visitors to the farm are safe and have the chance to enjoy fresh, healthy, local food and drinks while they enjoy the show.
We are grateful for the chance to welcome the She Shreds community to the farm, so more people are included in what we are building here.
Is Jim ok with putting together a statement on why this event is important to him?
Yes, here is Jim’s message: “While nearly all of my energy goes into organic and regenerative farming now, when I first moved to Portland in the early 80s, I played in multiple punk and alternative bands at Satyricon and other local clubs. I know the power of music and community – for me it was about freedom of expression – especially about political, religious and individuals’ freedoms.
“I’m not in a band anymore, but I’m no less passionate about music and what it means to people. Of all shows this year, this is the one I’m most excited about because of the community the performers and attendees are building together. I can’t wait to share this farm with the She Shreds community and I can’t wait for She Shreds to rock the farm.
“I have had an unusual career path. I worked for alternative weeklies for the bulk of my professional life. I founded and was the CEO of a software company that helped alt weeklies get online. During that time, I was able to volunteer for organizations like Street Roots, where I eventually became a board member and chair. After a while, I experienced burnout and wanted to refocus. I took the unusual step of joining the police force, to create change inside the system and keep the community safe through DUII work.
“I know that being able to buy a farm on Sauvie Island is an immense privilege. I appreciate the chance to work together to create an open place where all people feel valued and included.”