Marsha and John Sundquist acquired Rivers Turn Farm in 1983. With Marsha and John’s environmental and social inclinations Rivers Turn became one of the first organic farms in the area. As the farm developed, John planted many rows of apples, Asian pears and plums, and later added over 40 varieties of bamboo. The farm was the site of the 2009 west coast Climate Convergence Conference and several local “eco fairs”. John planted numerous on-site gardens for Head Start groups in Lane County. Over the years hundreds of Head Start and other elementary school students learned about organic gardening and picked pumpkins and broom corn with “Farmer John” on field trips to the farm. John’s latest long term project involved evolving the farm into the nonprofit Parker Learning Gardens with the goal to provide education to the growing number of people losing sight of the plant world – both visible and microscopic. This newly-formed educational venture held gatherings at Rivers Turn Farm in 2019 to organize. Presently the board of directors is active and growing and the transformation of the farm into an educational venue is accelerating.
The farm was entered into a perpetual Conservation Easement in 2017 through Northwest Land Conservation Trust for the protection and promotion of the following: 1) agricultural soils, 2) agricultural viability, 3) agricultural education, 4) local production of products from farm resources, 5) gardens and farmlands that enhance soil microbiology, and 6) education for the public on the importance of the microbial world, biodiversity, wildlife, and sustainability.