Monday, November 7, 2011

A Community Garden Story

“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.” ― Wendell Berry
Last year, not too many months after my husband and I partnered with a local non-profit to start a Transitional Housing Project in Montavilla, we attended a Community Food Forum in the neighborhood. The meeting raised awareness about the conditions and needs of under resourced residents in our corner of Portland. 

We were so grateful this past spring when a local church worked up some of its vacant land, built garden plots, fenced in the area, and opened sign ups to apartment dwellers and neighbors without access to land.

Matt Lawer with the Central Bible Church Community Garden graciously gave our Transitional Housing Program access to our own garden plot, and we enjoyed inviting friends and neighbors from the Program to take part in planting, growing, and harvesting their own fresh food.

We're also incredibly grateful to Jeff Michaels of Cascade Organic for donating an enormous variety of heirloom veggie starts.

{Springtime Planting}


{Growing Food & Friendships}


{Edible Lessons}

A few of our apartment girls game out one summer evening to learn how to harvest and cook fresh greens. After a how-to and taste-test hosted in my kitchen, one of the girls game back 20 minutes later to show off her own cooking skills. She'd gone home and re-created the dish all by herself!

Therein lies the beauty of teaching and sharing: young people empowered to get dirt under their nails, try new foods, cook for themselves, and share the table with neighbors. 

 

{Summer & Autumn Harvests}
 
 Again, beautiful heirloom tomatoes grown from starts
donated by Jeff Michaels of Cascade Organic 



We are grateful to each member of the community who participated this past year:

  • Central Bible Church for opening the garden.
  • Matt and Tori for extending the invitation to the community. 
  • Jeff Michaels for donating plants.
  • Our residents for planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting.

Our community is stronger for the opportunities to work together
and the joys of growing, harvesting, and feasting on home-grown, healthy foods.

Thank you.

~Bethany

2 comments:

thefisherlady said...

community gardens are lovely... we shared one while my husband did his PDP years ago at Simon Fraser university... everyone shared and the prize was for all

Amber Blue Bird said...

what a wonderful story. I wish I was a better gardener so I could grow my own veggies but I appear to have a black thumb :(

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