Team Rubicon Seabird Jackson with MaryJanesFarm Outpost Food

Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders in order to rapidly deploy emergency-response teams, oftentimes arriving on the scene of a disaster before traditional aid organizations.

Since its creation in January 2010, Team Rubicon has impacted thousands of lives—in Haiti, Chile, Pakistan, Sudan, and right here at home, in places like Vermont, Maryland, Missouri, and Alabama.

Historic Barron Flour Mill in Oakesdale, Washington

Barron Flour Mill

“We’ve got some bad news for you. Your mill was vandalized,” said the sheriff’s office. Four stories tall, our historic mill sits about an hour’s drive from our farm. As the extent of the damages was described, Joseph Barron came to mind. The third-generation miller had made MaryJane Butters promise to take good care of the place when he sold it to her in 1997. For the decades that Joseph sold flour, he trusted people, offering it self-serve, claiming no one ever helped themselves to the money. “If no one here, help yourself,” read Joseph’s sign, written on the back of a flour sack. Framed now and on display in the living room of our B&B guest house, remodeled to mimic the historic Barron residence attached to the mill, it serves as a reminder that borrowing from the past is the key to our future.

Heritage Jersey Organization

Heritage Jersey Organization

As more and more people rediscover the benefits and joys of small-scale food production, the demand for what we call a “Heritage Jersey” is growing. If you’re interested in milk production, some cow’s teats are less than desirable and in some cases, simply too small to milk; or the amount of milk a miniature cow produces won’t be worth the daily effort; or a full-size cow will produce too much milk for a family’s needs. Through proper, long-term registration (the 40+ year plan), strict DNA testing, and the highest possible standard of breeding practices, along with honesty that flows as readily as cream from a Jersey, Heritage Jersey Organization believes the unique characteristics of the perfect backyard cow—a Heritage Jersey—can be re-established.

View of Palouse rolling hills

Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute

PCEI was started by an explosion halfway around the world. In 1986, when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor blew up, citizens living near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington and northern Idaho sat up and paid attention—for good reason. The Chernobyl catastrophe triggered awareness that an almost identical reactor at Hanford existed, equally old and outdated. Being downwind from Hanford, MaryJane Butters circulated fliers around town encouraging other concerned citizens to gather for a meeting in the lobby of a local hotel. That evening, she passed a hat to the two dozen people that showed up, raising $10. They named their newly formed group Hanford Watch. Within a couple of years, Hanford Watch, along with about a dozen other Northwest groups, was able to get the unsafe reactor permanently shuttered.

MaryJane Butters in a field of Irises - Project F.A.R.M.

Project F.A.R.M.

F.A.R.M. stands for First-class American Rural Made, and it’s a project that was conceived here, at MaryJanesFarm. As rural communities fade and farmers continue to disappear from our landscape, MaryJane Butters decided something must be done to support those struggling to maintain their rural lifestyle. That’s where Project F.A.R.M. comes in.

Rural America is full of unsung crafters—hard-working men and women, young and old, who deserve their fair share and find it hard, if not impossible, to compete in today’s marketplace. To that end, many of the products we sell on our website or in our farm store “come with a face,” where you can “meet” or “get to know” the person behind the product.

Pay Dirt Farm School

“Finally, we have a homestead of our own! I was hoping to be able to spend some time at your farm learning more about organic gardening, farming, and canning. Is that a possibility?”

MaryJane Butters remembered sending off similar letters seeking help and guidance when she decided at age 19 that she wanted to work for the Forest Service. It wasn’t lost on her that those who offered to share their knowledge and allow her to shadow them as they went about their work in the woods changed the trajectory of her life. Fast forward 20 years and she decided she was in a good position to pay it forward by opening the door to her farm.

Historic Blaine Schoolhouse in Idaho

Historic Blaine Schoolhouse

Nick Ogle, MaryJane Butters’ husband, grew up farming the land that surrounds the cluster of farm buildings known as MaryJanesFarm. Nick’s mother and father and aunts and uncles and neighbors grew up learning the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic from within the walls of the Blaine one-room schoolhouse. The school was once surrounded by the thriving town of Blaine, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from MaryJanesFarm. During better times, there was a church, a livery stable, a blacksmith shop, and a hardware store. All that remains today is the schoolhouse. Originally, it housed grades 1 through 12. There was a teacher and an occasional pianist, but mainly, the older children taught the younger.

Nick’s father, Ivan, didn’t stay for all 12 grades. He chose to ride a horse the eight miles into Moscow, Idaho, every day to finish out the last couple years of his formal schooling, and he would stop along the way to pick up a neighbor girl, who sat behind him for the long ride.

U-pick Country Club, basket full of basil

U-Pick Country Club

“A piece of MY farm for your very own,” is what you could be saying soon. Although it’s been a few years since we’ve actively sold memberships to our MaryJanesFarm Country Club, we’d love it if you borrowed our ideas for doing likewise on YOUR farm. In our experience, it was an A+ endeavor and our members loved every aspect of it, but as our farm took on new projects over time, we had to table a few along the way and our Country Club idea was one of them. But whenever we have an over-abundance of fruit or we can’t keep up with our garden corn coming on, we threaten to fire up our Country Club idea again.

Local women sampling the donated books at the library in Rota

Lending Libraries

In 2018, the ripples from one man’s keyboard caused a major tidal wave across the Internet. Forbes contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas, chair of the Economics department at Long Island University Post, suggested the unthinkable: public libraries should be replaced, part and parcel, by Amazon. Dr. Mourdoukoutas suggested that libraries “don’t have the same value they used to” and that technology has “turned physical books into collector’s items.” Judging by the immense public backlash to his essay (which was quickly deleted from the Forbes site), the vast majority of American thinkers wholeheartedly disagreed with the economist’s dismissal of our land’s beloved libraries. It seemed as if the entire nation was ready to lend new meaning to the phrase “throwing the book” at someone. Americans’ love of libraries is nothing short of legendary, and we’re confident that the services they provide will render libraries relevant for generations to come.