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Butters Appointed By USDA To Help Give Away 4 Million Dollars
March 17, 2003

The Western SARE Administrative Council has appointed MaryJane Butters as their Organic Farming Representative. SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education) is a USDA program that works to improve the sustainability of agriculture. The SARE Administrative Council, of which Butters is now a member, will decide the fate of more than 4 million dollars in grant money by reviewing proposals submitted annually from farmers, researchers and nonprofit organizations throughout the Western United States.

MaryJane is the founder and chief executive officer of Paradise Farm Organics, Inc.— an operation she started in 1986 on 5 acres near Moscow. She grows herbs, flowers, vegetables, chickens and eggs and markets these and several food products through farmers’ markets and local grocery stores. In 1996, she launched a line of dried organic food products — EcoCuisine backpacking foods. The ingredients are grown on her farm or purchased from a network of organic farmers and processed in her recently completed on-farm production facility.

Last year, MaryJane launched a magazine, MaryJanesFarm, which recently published its third issue and is sold nationwide in Barnes & Nobles and Borders Bookstores. She has a syndicated newspaper column called “Simply MJ” and next year will launch a series of books on Farm Life. She began offering tour packages this summer to augment her business and continues to offer an educational penchant that includes a Paradise Farm apprenticeship program called Pay Dirt Farm School.

She was the founder and president of Hanford Watch and the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute and supports sustainable food systems as a member of the Moscow Food Co-op and fiscal sponsor of Rural Roots, a local small farm organization. She also served a term as chair of the Idaho Organic Advisory Council and Moscow’s Health and Environment Commission, and was appointed to the Western SARE Administrative Council this spring.

MaryJane measures her success in agriculture as the positive impact her business has on the land and on her ability to turn it into cost saving measures for her business, she says. An example of her approach to economic and environmental sustainability is her company’s approach to packaging dried food pouches. She calculates the company has spared the environment 9.5 acres of tin foil by eliminating it in its packaging for her 60-plus product food line.

A former carpenter, fire lookout and wilderness ranger, MaryJane raised two children and is married to Nick Ogle, whose family owns an adjacent 650-acre farm that is being converted to organic.