Showing posts with label Community Gardens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Community Gardens. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What Life Looks Like This Spring...

Hugs and a happy, happy springtime to you, wherever in the world you are! It's been many sunrises and sunsets since I've shared updates in this here's a quick peek into recent months:

Oregon sunshine and lunch in the field...

These days, life escapes the computer.

On-the-ground, in-the-kitchen, are only sometimes snapped.

Mental scribbles for future posts get sticky-noted to the sidewalls of my brain...and they grow a little old, a little dusty, then the adhesive gives out and the imaginary yellow squares flutter away...

So it is, home from the great world beyond.

Learning how to settle again.

Learning how to grow a new life, in more ways than one


After five months spent sharing life and meals and kitchen duties with my family in the rural countryside (waking to views of agricultural fields spread wide beneath Mount Hood), Ted and I found a home back in our favorite Portland neighborhood (Montavilla!), and just a week and a half ago, we regained possession of our first permanent address in 18 months.

Home, sweet home.

This also means: first permanent kitchen in a year and a half!

We're unpacking bins and boxes. Pulling out the cookware that hasn't seen daylight since Thanksgiving of 2011...

I'm reassembling staples: flours, beans, those little bulk bags of ground cumin and turmeric and paprika... (Of course I was giddy when Marissa from Food in Jars invited me to pin on her new Herb & Spice Storage board; I've got serious kitchen nesting to do and I need all the inspiration I can get.)

I'm all ears, following developments of the Montavilla Food Co-op and getting ready to jump back into the Montavilla Food Buying Club.

Lindsay (from the lovely and I have been working on a new series of PDX Food Swaps and hope to have a new site and set of resources rolled out soon...

Vestal Community Garden Plot

I'm grateful to be once again tending my Vestal Community Garden plot.

Many thanks to my friend Allison for taking the helm during 2012 and returning the plot to me with even better soil and even bigger herbs! Just last month, kiddos from the school came out and harvested volunteer raspberries that hopped the path and sprung up in my territory... The little patch of land keeps giving and giving.

Pregnant with Baby Oregonian!

New home, new kitchen, new little life squirming and dancing in my belly.
 Same garden, same city, same love for all things local and nourishing.
Balancing online and offline living...

If you're in Portland, come say hello at the next Food Swap...or maaaybe the next Food Group? Who knows? With a new living room, I may just be able to open my doors and invite you over to my place sometime soon :)


A note: My cousin Charlotte at Champoeg Creamery is hosting a terrific Farm Camp this summer for 6-12 year olds who are ready to spend a week learning about the honest-to-goodness roots of real food.

If your kiddos are interested in milking cows, making cheese and ice cream, learning about raising turkeys and chickens and gathering eggs, getting their hands dirty planting plants in Oregon soil, quizzing bees, and learning to brush, saddle, lead, and ride horses, then visit Charlotte's blog for details:

**As of 5/28/2013, there are only three spots left for the July 15-18 session.**

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.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Local Food Needs YOU: Part Two

As a continuation of the call for public involvement on the issue of Community Food Distribution Points as addressed in The Urban Food Zoning Code Update Project, I've asked for permission to share a recent update issued by the The Montavilla Food Buying Club Steering Committee.

 An example of last season's weekly CSA delivery. 
Our ability to gather at an urban drop point in a residential area 
to pick up farm-fresh produce delivered by our local farmer
is threatened by potential changes to the Portland Zoning Code.

Please consider taking a small chunk of time read through the issues and submit your input through the city's Online Survey (open until August 29th). 

This is an important juncture in the storyline of local food in Portland, and your input may very well shape the future of access to nourishing, responsibly sourced meals in this city.


The City of Portland is in the process of putting in place zoning codes to regulate where market gardens, community gardens, farmers markets, chickens and bees, and "food membership distribution sites" (ie. CSA  and food buying club pick up sites) can be located. 

Their decisions could have a big impact on our food buying club, including prohibiting residential/home pick-up sites for both CSAs and food buying club deliveries.

Right now they are leaning toward allowing CSA and food club deliveries only in COMMERCIAL or LIGHT INDUSTRY zones, but NOT allowing them in RESIDENTIAL and OPEN SPACE areas, except maybe at "small distribution sites with fewer members."

Why are they headed in this direction regarding buying clubs and CSA drop sites? Because of concerns about parking/traffic disrupting residential neighborhoods. 

Have they had any complaints? Yes, but only about one club, which has since moved to a commercial space.

We did our best to point out that it is not appropriate to evaluate a club's ability to have home/residential dropsites based on their membership size.  Rather, they should look at how many people participate in a club's average/largest BUYS, how OFTEN those large buys happen, and how long the pick up WINDOWS typically are--since a club can have 200 members but only 40 are buying and picking up for any one buy and it is usually spread out over a number of hours. So, our type of buys have virtually no effect on neighborhood parking or traffic. 

That said, since zoning is totally complaint driven and apparently no one from any of the food buying clubs had ever showed up at these zoning code meetings before, the city planners are going to need feedback to decide in our favor.

OR print a hardcopy and forward it to:

Julia Gisler
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100
Portland, OR 97201

The online questionnaire closes Monday, August 29th.  Please weigh in!

What we hope you will say in response to the questions on Food Membership Distribution (which is on page 5 of the online questionnaire):
NO, they are not headed in the right direction.

The new zoning codes should allow drops in residential and open space areas for clubs & CSA drops whose LARGEST buys/pickups at any residential site do not exceed 60 buyers and offer at least a 6 hour window for pickup. Any residential buys/pick ups smaller than that should have no restrictions since they will have virtually no impact on parking or traffic.

You may also want to add something personal in the "What type of impacts concern you the most?"  section. 

This is what Amy Bean wrote: 

"I am very concerned about any limitations with both types of distributions. Families NEED easier food access that doesn't involve a supermarket, and allows for purchases from local farmers and in bulk for reasonable prices. Not only does this improve livability, it strengthens neighborhoods and brings neighbors TOGETHER as partners who share common values in the quality of their food and where it comes from - sustainability in other words."

If CSAs and buying clubs are forced to only use dropsites in commercial locations, it will increase the costs for everyone, since item prices will need to go up to cover renting space for deliveries. It will also be a major pain for small/occasional sellers who would not be able to run buys from their homes.

Please take a few moments, go online to and make your voice heard by Monday August 29th.

Thanks so much,
The Montavilla Food Buying Club Steering Committee 

And thank you to Chana Andler of the Montavilla Food Buying Club and Portland Local Food for allowing me to republish her information.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Local Food Needs YOU: Portland's Urban Food Zoning Code Update Concept Report Accepting Comments

 "Community Food Distribution Points"

 The Urban Food Zoning Code Update Project is well underway here in Portland, Oregon.  

When word went out seeking volunteer community members to participate on the Portland/Multnomah County Food Policy Committee's Food Advisory Group, my heart felt the tug, but realistically, I couldn't commit to another endeavor during this season of life.

However, I am happy to follow updates from time to time and participate (and encourage your participation) as life allows.

Until August 15th 29th (that's Monday!), the public (that's you and me!) are invited to comment on the Food Policy Committee's Urban Food Zoning Code Update Concept Report

The report covers the future of Farmers Markets, Community Gardens, Urban Food Production, Community Food Distribution, and Animals & Bees. In general, their work seems to be going in a positive direction: solidifying the ability of Portland to strengthen its local food shed and bolster community food security.

However, if you only spend time educating yourself and commenting about one thing, let it be 4) Food Membership Distribution Sites (page 21 and following). Future policy making impacts Community Supported Agriculture programs (such as our CSA, Gardenripe) and Food Buying Clubs (such as our own previous Azure drops, and the various Food Buying Club drops around Montavilla, East Portland, and the rest of the city).

The report notes examples for Portland to draw from, including the city of Philadelphia's standards:
Home occupation standards could apply to food membership distribution sites. Home occupation language in Philadelphia’s code could serve as guidance for regulating food membership distribution sites. The following rules are of particular applicability: no more than one off-street parking space is permitted for visitors; no separate building entrances may be added for the sole use of the home occupation; home occupations may not produce noise, vibration, glare, odors, parking/loading demands, traffic of other unreasonable effects on neighboring residences, up to three people who are not residents of the principal dwelling be may present at one time in connection with the home occupation; and lastly, truck deliveries of pick-ups of products associated with the home occupation are allowed only between the hours of 8am and 7pm, and delivery and pick-up via semitractor trailer is prohibited.

(Remember that Azure semi truck coming kindly down our Montavilla street to drop off our load of goods?)

Currently, the option is on the table for Portland to restrict drop sites to commercial and light industrial areas (and thereby not in residential or open spaces - including churches located in residential areas).

A quote from Know Thy Food's Facebook page: "this is exactly what happened to us, and why we were forced to move out of my home into our current space. not every club will be able to survive or afford such a move, so proposals to force them into commercial or light-industrial spaces is a proposal to shut them down. let's not let it happen!" 

As the Committee contemplates Portland/Multnomah County's best choices for creating new policy, please let your voice be heard! (Remember, comments due by Monday!)

OR print a hardcopy and forward it to:

Julia Gisler
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100
Portland, OR 97201

Because we ARE the community.

Monday, August 15th Update from Julia Gisler:
Problems with the on-line survey has been resolved and we apologize for the frustration this caused over the weekend.

The good news is that all surveys submitted were received (even if you got an error message) and will be added to the public record. As a result of this mishap we will be extending the deadline for questionnaires/surveys to Monday, August 29th at 5:00 pm.

Please pass this information on to others you think may be interested in commenting on the Concept Report. You can find the questionnaire at
Julia Gisler, City Planner
Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability

Further reading:
Portland Planners Threaten Local Resiliency, Local Food, and Local Economy

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pacific Northwest Tidbits & Updates

Hi friends,

All that springtime activity means many wonderful opportunities up and down the Willamette Valley and out among our neighboring Pacific Northwest Communities.

This Monday afternoon, I'd love to spread a few choice tidbits:

Interested in learning from some of the best? Tyler and Alicia of Afton Field Farms in Corvallis will be hosting Joel Salatin this summer. Ted and I had the great privilege of listening to Joel speak when Tyler and Alicia brought him to Portland for a visit two years ago: fabulous. Visit their website for more information on the August 19th & 20th events:

Our neighbors to the north will be pleased to know that Seattle Swappers are now up and running! Stay connected with them: Facebook | Twitter | Email

Of course, if you're keen to participate in Portland, keep an eye out for our next PDX Food Swap event: @pdxswappers | PDX Swappers Facebook Page.

Community Outreach in North Portland is running a free Food Sharing Workshop on Saturday, May 21st, if you're keen to learn more about container gardening, household management, fruit production, seed cycles, etc. (RSVP by Monday, May 16th.)

For those living near the Montavilla neighborhood in East Portland, Central Bible Church on NE 90th and Glisan is currently installing a new community garden to share with neighbors who do not have access to growing space (i.e., apartment dwellers, etc.). They're offering 10x10 and 10x20 plots. If you're interested, please contact Matt and Tori (familialawer at gmail dot com) for more information.

(As an aside - I'm super excited to be helping coordinate a shared plot for my neighbors at Stepping Stone Apartments - a project of My Father's House Family Shelter. I'm currently trying to source seeds and starts to help jumpstart this garden for low income families ~ please be in touch if you have any great connections!)

Our June Food Group will feature Rosalie Culver of Sherwood, Oregon as she shares about her uses of essential oils for cooking, cleaning, and homeopathic remedies. If you are new to the group and interested in attending, please contact us ahead of time to see if there is space.

Thanks to all you readers who are part of Food Group, the PDX Food Swap, the Pacific Northwest community, and/or the wide world of online friends and encouragers. It's inspiring to get to know each one of you and to swap the resources and lessons we each pick up along the way...


Friday, March 18, 2011

Edible Landscaping: Growing Food in the Flower Bed

Preview: Sustainable Food for Thought's Guest Post at Frugal Granola.

{Photo Credit}

Add nutritious food to your dinner table


Give your yard a mini-makeover!

It's easier that you may think to reap the
benefits of color, nutrition, and stylish design.

Too overloaded to take on a brand new vegetable garden? Bored with your ho-hum yard? Did you know you can add zest to your existing landscape by bringing the color and texture of home-grown foods directly into your existing flower beds?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March Food Group: Planning Your Kitchen Garden

Our March Food Group was canceled due to a family emergency, however the seed swap will be held during April's meeting, and the outline and resources from the event are shared below. You are invited to chime in down in the comments section for additional discussion, and we'll put out the call for double the homemade treats in April to make up for missing homemade goodies this month!

Planning Your Garden ~ What to Grow & Where to Grow It

{SE Portland front yard kitchen garden circa 2009}

What level of gardener would call yourself?

Your heart's in the right place
But your hands have never been in the soil

Green Thumb
You have dirt under your fingernails
And a few growing seasons under your belt

Garden Graduate
You've been harvesting veggies year after year
Now you're ready for new challenges

{ Food for Thought }

Which vegetables and herbs to you most often purchase at the market?

Think about your favorite recipes and seasonal dishes and the average number of times you grab a particular type of produce and put it in your basket. Would you rather buy New Seasons' organic cilantro imported from California for $1.49 a bunch, week after week, or harvest home grown cilantro all season long for the one-time cost of seed or starts?

What inputs go in to producing those crops?
What types of chemicals, labor, fuel for transportation, etc. are in play?

Do you know where those inputs come from, how they're created and funded? Do you have a sense of the sociological, ecological, and nutritional impacts?

What amount of trade off in time and effort would you be willing to invest for the opportunity to harvest those same foods from your own garden?

Be realistic; be educated. Even if you're not able to daily tend a 40'x40' plot out in the country, ask yourself which few crops would make the biggest impact to your food budget bottom line and which reasonable next step would be right for you. For those crops that you're unable to grow yourself, remember to use your dollars to support sustainable sources (small scale producers, farmers markets, CSAs).

{ What to Grow }

Seed catalogs & nursery sales are calling: what will you cultivate this year?

{Organic garden starts available at the Portland Farmers Market}


Get your fingers dirty for the first time and focus on growing a few easy crops (lettuce, beans, peas, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, onions, zucchini, corn, strawberries) ~ perhaps avoid finicky carrots or overly needy heads of cauliflower.

Reward yourself with the gratification of color: string up a line and grow my favorite, Purple Podded Pole Beans. Plant a patch of edible flowers like borage and nasturtiums and liven up your salads for the rest of the year.

Choose when to buy starts versus seeds. Tip: when you're not bothering with cold frames and greenhouses and basement grow lights, buy hot weather, long season plants as starts to get a jump on Oregon's shorter growing seasons - tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, etc.

A quick kitchen garden jump start: plant your first herb garden to have fresh sprigs on hand and to reduce pricey purchases of minuscule bundles packaged in excess plastic and labels. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme are popular for a reason.

Don't plant too early: remember that crazy Oregon frosts come rolling in long after the calendar says "springtime." Check for the region's last frost date before you set your tender little seeds and starts out to live a life on their own. Mother's Day was always our family's rule of thumb for safe vegetable garden planting in the Willamette Valley.

Green Thumb

Ready to extend the savings and the rewards? Push the growing seasons.

Stop buying starts at the nursery. Consider sowing seeds indoors well before the last frost date so that you're ahead of the game once the springtime weather is ready to place nice. Beware of what not to grow (for example, beans do not transplant well), but be encouraged by the possibility of harvesting your own melons well before the autumn rains kick in.

Add cooler weather crops to your planting mix (greens like kale and chard, garlic, and cover crops like clover to enrich your soil fertility during the slower seasons).

Introduce perennial plants into your garden (rhubarb, asparagus, artichokes, berry vines); these edibles will grow in place year after year and can become foundational elements of your garden's layout and design.

Use companion plantings to aid with pest control, soil fertility, and crop yields. Handy chart.

Garden Graduate

Eliminate the need to purchase seeds
altogether! Plant seeds saved from previous seasons' heirloom varieties which will grow true to type. Build your own seed library and swap with other gardeners. (See notes below for details on the Portland Seed Library.)

Take on new cultivation challenges
: Meyer lemons, limes, blood oranges, kumquats, feijoas, etc. (See a recent Portland foodie's article on growing Mandarin oranges.)

Supplement locavore meals with home grown and home brewed beverages:
Grow your own green tea (Camellia sinensis is available from Territorial Seeds)
Grow your own hops for home brewed beer
Grow your own sweet flowering herbs for making sparkling beverages (try Jessica Prentice's hibiscus and rose hip soda, yarrow ale, or lemon verbena ale from Full Moon Feast)

{ Where to Grow It }

Think about your available space and its proximity to the kitchen, water sources, and sunlight. Pay attention to soil health.

{Vestal Community Garden garden plot circa early 2010}


Just starting? Try a few pots on your balcony, stoop, or windowsill. The larger the better for keeping moisture in the soil and giving ample room for roots.

Balance your potting soil mix with additional compost in order to ensure enough soil density to support strong root growth (especially important for taller, heavier plants like tomatoes). Any friendly neighborhood garden center will point you in the right direction for healthy, organic soils.

Siting tips: if you're surrounded by shade, focus on root vegetables and and leafy greens. If you're blessed with plenty of sun, put in more of the plants that require the sunshine to fully develop large, colorful fruits (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers).

Green Thumb

Ready to move beyond the bounds of pots?

Consider gardening in your yard: remove an area of lawn and build up the soil. Plant edibles among your flower beds (be certain you're using herbicide and pesticide free gardening methods).

Construct raised beds for ease of soil building, of maintenance, and harvesting.

Interested in more growing space and opportunity to rub shoulders with your neighbors? Investigate the Community Garden plots available near you and jump on a waiting list or start a local effort.

Garden Graduate

Ready to take on multi-seasonal planning? With a little strategic forethought and effort, crop rotation zones will push your garden toward optimal soil health and higher yields.

You guide the formation of ecosystems when you plant your garden. To introduce a higher diversity of soil-living microorganisms, balance the populations of beneficial (and non-beneficial!) insects, and build the overall soil structure, move the location of certain types of plants from one growing season to the next.

To learn more, browse Julie Day's Crop Rotation Made Easy and the No Dig Vegetable Garden.

{ What Next? }

Local Seed and Start Sources:

Great Books to Have on Hand:
Maritime Northwest Garden Guide: Planning Calendar for Year-Round Organic Gardening
Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades

Helpful Web Resources:
Planting a Vegetable Garden by Rod Smith
Oregon State University Extension Service Gardening Encyclopedia
OSU Planting Guidelines

Hands On Learning Opportunities:

**Note: Although we weren't able to meet in person for Food Group, Bethany W. provided a few great resources over email to share with the gr0up:

Borrow (and return) Free Seeds from the Portland Seed Library and seed saving project. "We had a seed swap there this past weekend and I can tell you with certainty there is no need for anyone in the Portland area to buy carrot, spinach, chinese cabbage or orach seeds! [There] are plenty of other seeds too but there is an excess of these and some others due to a mammoth donation from a seed company and since they won't last forever we are really trying to get people to take them." See the Seed Ambassadors Project e-zine for more news and updates.**

Remember, gardeners are a friendly bunch - grow something new, ask questions, learn along the way, and celebrate serving up the fruits of your labor...

{Garden Fresh Produce = Joyful Meals}

"If you've never experienced the joy
of accomplishing more than you can imagine,
plant a garden."
~Robert Brault

Again, so sorry to have missed the company and good food for our March Food Group. Hopefully the ideas outlined here will be a helpful jumping off point as we all begin to plan our springtime plantings. Be sure to bring seeds and stories for swapping at our April Food Group ~ and feel free to share discussions below in the meantime...


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Local Food: Equity in Actions & Truth

Last weekend, Ted and I attended a Community Food Forum. A small online notice caught my eye a while back. I posted it to the Sustainable Food for Thought Facebook page (mostly as a more-reliable-than-a-bookmark reminder to myself) and was grateful to be able to participate in the Saturday morning event.

Individuals from local non-profits and churches, the Montavilla, Lents, Cully, and Parkrose Farmers Markets, the Multnomah County Chair's office, and the community at large filed in to the meeting held at a neighborhood church just a handful of blocks from our home. The discussion revolved around equity of access to healthy food for for east Portlanders, in particular, our disenfranchised and low income neighbors in Montavilla.

As Ted and I have been seeking to engage and build camaraderie with the under resourced members of our community, the event's conversations were timely.

Kyle Curtis, the Associate Manager of the Montavilla Farmer's Market, opened the morning asking, "How can we make healthy food more accessible and affordable in east Portland?"

We were asked to consider:

What kind of food system do we want, and how can we encourage it through policies, programs, and partnerships?

How do we ensure equity in the new food systems we create?

Can small farmers make a decent wage selling affordably priced food to low-income customers without subsidies?
And he shared with us a number of telling maps from the Portland Plan from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, showing recent inventories of neighborhood access to grocery stores, community gardens, Oregon Food Bank food assistance programs, fast food establishments, and changes in food stamp usage over the past few years.

Karol Collymore of county chair Jeff Cogen's office shared about the health disparities related to the way we currently offer the "least of what we have" (i.e., packaged, processed, nutrient-void foods from corner markets, gas stations, and the like) to many or our resource-isolated areas. She raised questions of of how to incentivise healthy business development in neighborhoods where current economic viability is questionable. She spoke of New Seasons' practice of locating grocery stores in areas of high college education rates and the trouble of under resourced areas remaining so in the face of improvements in more affluent areas of town. She shared about the Multnomah Food Initiative and gave avenues to educate ourselves and become a part of the dialog.

Did you know that if you spot a vacant plot of land within the urban areas, there are mechanisms in place to work with the county to do a tax and title search and then transform that space into a spot for growing healthy food? Check out Groundwork Portland and Janus Youth Programs' urban agriculture projects.
Kyle Curtis relayed to us that the recent Montavilla Food Co-op survey taken over this past summer had a very small percentage of respondents from non-white, low-income zip codes, despite the high rates of those populations within geographic proximity to the Montavilla Farmers Market, local food buying clubs, and other neighborhood food initiatives. Clearly, there is much to be improved in the way our food system engages and supports families of diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds...

Did you know that there is a 2-3 year waiting list for the Vestal Elementary School community garden here at NE 82nd and Couch? It's discouraging to see the sky-high numbers of fast food and chain restaurants up and down 82nd and the surrounding thoroughfares...and to see the high prices at the farmers markets that can be luxuriously justified to me, but sincerely unapproachable by my dear neighbors here at Stepping Stone Apartments.

Many members of the local community shared their experiences over the past few years here in the Montavilla area. Progress is being made. Positive changes are happening. Areas for work and improvement are being identified and addressed.

Encouraging, yes.

But also a strong reminder that care and concern require hands and feet.
At the conclusion of the event, we were given additional ways to be involved. I'm happy to share them here as well, in hopes that word will continue to go out...

Volunteer at local markets - Montavilla, Cully, Lents, Parkrose (or one in your own back yard!)

Attend the various upcoming Multnomah Food Initiative Workshops (10/19 Healthy Eating, 10/28 Local Food, 11/1 Social Equity, 11/3 Economic Vitality)

Consider applying for a seat on the Portland-Multnomah Food Policy Council

Participate in local food buying clubs: Lents Grocery Co-op, Lents Food Buying Club, Lents Grocery Buying Club, Montavilla Buying Club, Portland Eastside Buying Club (or, added plug, our Sustainable Food For Thought group!)

Connect with Friends of Family Farmers

And I would add a few more ideas to the list...

~Share a meal, in your home, with your neighbors. Learn about their stories and their needs and desires. Learn about the foods that they enjoy most! Seek out opportunities to share resources that are meaningful and practical to them in their particular circumstances.
~Check with your local CSA or farm stand and ask if they have sponsorship opportunities for reduced cost subscriptions to be made available to low income participants.
~Grow a garden and share your bounty with people up and down your street.
~Eat with gratefulness, and share your best.

As Ted and I have chosen to change our habits of purchasing and consuming, and as we've conscientiously used our dollars to vote for changes in the food system, it still comes as a deeply troubling reality that so very many of our fellow Portlanders are without a voice, without the luxury of dollars to vote, and without the access to foods that promote health and nourishment.

We've not come to answers yet. Only to continued questions and invitations to conversation. I am challenged to put my blessings to revel in the goodness and bounty of the seasons and to participate in restoring the Creator's hope and vitality to the neighborhood in which we live.

Leviticus 23:22 When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 14:28-29
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, so that the...the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Proverbs 21:13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

Luke 14:13-14 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

1 John 3:17-18
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Join me as we learn to carry the truth and live out the calling?


Monday, March 30, 2009

Thanks again to Lucy!

We enjoyed the privilege of having Lucy Hardiman join us at our past meeting and share about her experience and knowledge related to the community gardens system in Portland. She also made reference to a few examples of note outside of our city for those of you interested in learning more:

Seattle's P-Patch Program
Boston's Natural Areas Network Community Gardens
Atlanta's Community Gardens Project

Keep an eye out for the April issue of Horticulture Magazine and look for her piece on community gardens across the nation.

Lucy also kindly passed along a list of local resources and partnerships. Some have been referenced before, others are new. Please take a bit of time to look into those of interest to you and feel free to share your findings and thoughts with the group!

Local Community Gardens:
Portland Community Gardens
Neighborhood Notes: Portland Community Garden Directory
Oregon Food Bank Learning Gardens

Local Farms, Learning Programs & Non-Profits:
Zenger Farm
Luscher Farm
Sauvie Island Center
Janus Youth Programs

Garden of Wonders Food and Garden Education Program
American Society of Landscape Architects: Oregon Chapter
The City Repair Project
Growing Gardens

Local Nurseries & Agricultural Resources:
Pistils Nursery
Livinigscape Nursery
Concentrates, Inc.
Green Posting
Edible Portland
Food Alliance
Oregon Tilth

Local Food Source:
Portland Fruit Tree Project
Urban Edibles

Connect and Let Your Voice be Heard:
Portland Multnomah Food Policy Council
PSU Community Development Student Group
City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Coalition for a Livable Future
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon: Food and Farms

Grow your Skills & Knowledge:
The Master Gardener Program
Portland Permaculture Institute
Hardy Plant Society of Oregon


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