August 2018 was a hard month for Anderson Farm County Park, with thieves stealing thousands of dollars in equipment from their garage and a vehicle doing donuts and leaving extensive damage in the wet prairie.

But Monday marked a reversal of fortune, with the Friends of Anderson Farm County Park taking delivery on a new, $23,000 Kubota tractor that will aid the park’s agricultural mission.

The tractor does more than replace the riding lawnmower that was stolen last summer. It enables the next stage of the park’s development and signaling the park’s commitment to the Anderson family’s vision for their land, Lynette Anderson said at the press conference.

“My family is devoted to education, teaching, agriculture, conservation and community service,” she said, recalling seeing her grandma Mary, a long-time educator, milking “eight or nine cows by hand” on the land when she was growing up.

The tractor will be used in what Anderson Park Friends group president Roe Parker called a “market garden concept,” in which plots of various sizes from 1 to 10 acres are leased out. The goal is to provide fresh produce for the growers and the community at large, including schools, hospitals and restaurants, and at least one acre will be set aside to grow food for the food pantry.

Future plans include creating a farm center by building a tool shed, barn and hoop houses, certifying some of the land organic and pursuing educational opportunities. The “Orange Beauty,” as Parker called the tractor, will be instrumental in many of these goals.

It will also be helpful in maintaining the dog park, which should open next year, he said.

Soon after the friends group announced the $23,000 fundraising goal for the tractor in mid-September, it received an anonymous $7,000 matching donation, but that came with a hard Dec. 15 deadline, Parker said. The group was able to raise enough money in two months to not only maximize the matching donation but purchase the entire tractor.

Pure Integrity Homes made the friends group the designated charity for its fall festival, Parker said, and Oregon Community Bank made a “sizable” donations to help complete the goal. The Anderson Family Farm Endowment also contributed to the effort.

Anderson said the importance of nature is only increasing in the modern world, and “they’re not making more land.”

“People are seeking the peace, places we come to renew, reflect, get our spirits up again to face the chaotic, frenetic world,” Anderson said. “We are all so grateful for this.”

Contact Alexander Cramer at alexander.cramer@wcinet.com.