GG’s Latest Dig: New Garden for a New Year!

Oliver P. Lent School has a phenomenal new garden!

Thanks to all the community and school volunteers that spent their Saturday cutting boards, drilling holes, and hauling soil, there are 8 3ft x 8ft raised beds in the schoolyard of Lent, our newest partner school. We couldn’t have done it without volunteer muscle and generous in-kind donors: Recology donated the soil, and Daniel Edwards donated his time and skill to design the garden.

Soil from Recology and the First Completed Bed

Volunteers carry a newly-built frame

With the help of a $5,000 grant from the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, Lent is going to install phase 2 of the garden this spring: This will include the addition of native plants and a bioswale/wetland habitat, and there are preparations in the works for a new shed.

There is a lot more planned for the future, like expanding the garden to include beds for community use and adding a space for school and community events.

Getting closer...

Principal John Horn takes a quick break

Teachers, staff, and administrators are overjoyed about the opportunities the garden will open up for their students. Spanish immersion teacher and garden coordinator Jesse Hunter and some of his colleagues have been using a temporary garden space for the past year, but the 8 conveniently located new beds will make it possible for many more teachers to make garden education part of their everyday curriculum.

Lent anticipates integrating gardening into science, math, and language arts classes during the school day. 15 students in grades 1 & 2 will continue to tend the beds and learn gardening and nutrition skills in the SUN/Youth Grow after school garden club. Come by 5015 SE 97th Ave to check out the new space and see what’s growing!

The finished product! Phase 1 is complete and we'll be growing peas and early spring crops in no time.


Photos by Jess Polledri and Jesse Hunter


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Big News at Growing Gardens!

Owen Blethen Smith was born on August 17th, 2011. Proud parents Caitlin Blethen, Youth Grow Manager, and Bryan Smith are just smitten with their healthy and adorable son. (The rest of us in the Growing Gardens office are pretty smitten too!)

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Please join us for the 2011 School Garden Tour!

2011 School Garden Tour
Friday, August 26th 9am-2pm

Spend the day discovering
local educational gardens!

*See examples of school garden infrastructure & design
*Learn how garden programs are structured & maintained
*Discover how garden-grown produce is utilized in schools & beyond
*Ask questions & network with local school garden experts
*Find out how school gardens support curriculum-wide student learning

We’ll be visiting Vernon Gardens, Rigler Peace Garden, The Lewis Garden and Abernethy Garden of Wonders. The tour will begin in the Vernon Garden and we’ll arrange and we’ll arrange carpools and biking teams from there. Directions and logistical information will be emailed out to those who register. The tour is limited to 40 participants, so please register early. We’ll have a picnic lunch at Abernethy, just before the final garden site tour.

This tour is free of cost, presented by GROWING GARDENS
To register contact Candice: (503)284-8420 x109

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Growing Gardens 8th Annual Tour de Coops!

We are inspired by the creativity of Portland’s urban chicken keepers and we think you will be too.  That’s why we’re excited about our 2011 Tour de Coops!

Saturday, July 16 – 10am-3pm

There are 22 amazing coops on this year’s tour.  From green roofs to cob building, water catchment features to repurposed materials, you will see lots of fantastic coops some lucky chickens call home.  Navigating the tour is easy.  You can get out of your car and bike or walk because we organized the coops into neighborhood clusters.

The ticket to the tour is the booklet. Booklets are $15 and one booklet is good for a group of people.  The booklets include pictures, descriptions, maps and our comprehensive list of coop building tips.  Booklets are on sale Friday, July 8 – 1pm Saturday, July 16.  You can pick up your booklet at one of the following locations:

Garden Fever! – 3433 NE 24th Ave.

Urban Farm Store – 2100 SE Belmont St.

People’s Co-op – 3029 SE 21st Ave.

All of the booklet sales locations will also be selling raffle tickets to win The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop built in a Growing Gardens workshop, taught by John Carr from The Garden Coop  Raffle tickets are one for $5 or three for $12.

you can also order snazzy Tour de Coops 2011 Henlandia t-shirts online!

Want a sneak peak of what you’ll see on the tour? Here is Mitchell Snyder and Shelley Martin’s coop in NE Portland.

Photo by John Clark

“With backgrounds in architecture, we approached the design and building of our coop with much consideration.  We thought about the best location, the space, what materials would be most appropriate and durable, and how our hens would use their new home.  Comfort and protection from the elements were most important for our hens, so we framed the walls to allow insulation to keep them warm in the winter while providing multiple ventilation options and a green roof for hot summer months.  Inside, two perches made from branches are comfortable resting places, and two egg boxes can be accessed through a long door on the outside of the run.  the run is fully enclosed to provide protection from predators when we are not able to let our chickens in the yard.  The “kitchen” is a small, separate enclosure in the run that keeps the food dry and the water clean, and is easily accessible from the exterior for changing.  With those considerations in mind, we kept the design of the hen house as simple as possible while also – most importantly – keeping our hens as happy as possible.”

If any of you have ever gone on the tour or shown your coop on the tour, we’d love to hear from you. Tell us some of the inspiring things you saw or learned from all those creative coops.

We’d like to thank our Tour de Coops “Egg-cellent Layer Circle” Sponsors:

The Garden Coop

Concentrates, Inc.

Living Room Realtors

We hope to see you all on the tour next Saturday, July 16!

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GG’s lastet dig: Farm to School & School Gardens

It’s officially summer and we have some exciting news to share:  The Oregon House and Senate unanimously approved new  “Farm to School and School Gardens” legislation, FoodCorps educators are coming to Oregon, Growing Gardens’ Youth Grow Summer Garden Camp starts this week, and we just wrapped up the first Growing Gardens intensive School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training! Read on to learn more…

Youth Grow students tending their school garden
The Oregon Legislature approved HB 2800 “Farm to School and School Gardens” bill that  will provide $200,000 to a pilot program to jump-start serving Oregon-grown foods in public schools & provide more hands-on garden based education to students.

Funds, which will go to the Oregon Department of Education, will reimburse two medium sized school districts an additional 15 cents per school lunch to buy Oregon foods, and will support school garden teaching activities.

For more information about this new legislation, read the press-release put out by Upstream Public Health also check out the health impact assessment done on this bill that highlights the outcomes of this legislation which include creating & maintaining jobs for Oregonians, increasing student participation in school meal programs & increasing childhood food preferences for fruits and vegetables.

The Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded FoodCorps $625,000 to support 50 AmeriCorps members who will serve to increase vulnerable children’s knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. This grant makes it possible for FoodCorps members to serve at 42 sites in 10 states – including 5 sites in Oregon!

Working under the direction of the local partner organization, Oregon Department of Agriculture, one FoodCorps service member will conduct nutrition education, build and tend school gardens, and expand our Youth Grow program at Growing Gardens!

Growing Gardens School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training participants learning about garden infrastructureGrowing Gardens' School Garden Coordinator
Certificate Training summer 2011 intensive

This June Growing Gardens’ offered our  School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training as a summer intensive – 28 participants spent one full week learning about the best practices around developing school  garden committees, maintenance plans, infrastructure, fund raising plans and more! Fifteen of the participants took the program for credit through Portland State University Graduate School of Education continuing education and all graduates left with a plan of action on how they will put the training materials to use at their own school!

Growing Gardens’ Youth Grow Garden Camp begins this week at five of our partnering schools. Pesha (Youth Grow Educator, AmeriCorps) is teaching at Earl Boyles, Humboldt and Shaver, and Sarah (School Garden Coordinator and Educator) is teaching at Vernon, in partnership with the Community Cycling Center’s Summer Bike Camp, and at Faubion.  Summer Garden Club is a great time for youth to dig in the dirt, dive into the process of growing food, and eat fresh veggies – harvested from their own gardens.

Summer has just begun and we have new Farm to School legislation, new FoodCorps volunteers, and 28 educators newly trained to coordinate school gardens. The school gardens movement is off to a great start this summer, and we hope your gardens are too!

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GG’s Latest Dig: A new school garden!

Removing sod

After almost two years of thoughtful planning, phase I of the Shaver School/Community Garden in  Parkrose was installed last Saturday.  Students, parents, teachers, the custodian, the principal, the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) staff, neighbors and Growing Gardens staff and volunteers built 8 raised beds and one disabled accessible bed.

Building the garden boxes

Filling the new beds

The garden was designed in 2010 with input from Shaver students who submitted ‘dream garden’ designs to the Shaver Garden Committee. The committee worked with Pete Cromwell a local landscape designer who turned the ideas into a working blueprint. The Garden Committee’s vision for the garden is to 1) be a ‘teaching place’ to meld hands-on activities with science and English Language Learning (ELL) instruction strategies; and 2) to be a food producing garden, integrating cooking & eating within the school to  increase food literacy and improve nutrition.

Students helping assemble the disabled accessible bed with the Growing Gardens Dawn of the Bed team

In preparation for the garden install, students and teachers have been growing edible plants in their classrooms to plant into the new beds and the after-school SUN/Youth Grow Garden club has been eagerly awaiting the new garden space –  growing garlic, collards, peas, broccoli, chard, radishes and lettuce in three existing beds.

Phase II of the garden includes installing an irrigation system to the beds, building a tool shed, compost and worm bins, an outdoor classroom space with picnic benches and adding pollinator and native plants.  In the meantime the school will cultivate student’s enthusiasm to tend and harvest the new beds.

The finished beds

Funding for supplies came  from: a grant from the Hardy Plant society,  donations from nearby Burgerville fundraising nights, and through donations raised by the Growing Gardens’ Dawn of the Bed team.  Parkrose Hardware, Portland Nursery, Mt Scott Fuel,  and Mr Plywood provided generous discounts on materials, and  Noah’s provided bagels for volunteers. Thank you Peter Cromwell who created the Shaver Garden landscape design.

Congratulations to the Shaver community on this exciting new garden program and to everyone who has helped make it grow!

For more information or to get involved contact the Shaver SUN program at (503) 408-2850.

photos by Caitlin Blethen

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GG’s Latest Dig: A few tidbits to tide you over while you wait for the sunshine

  • In the GG Youth Grow program, we talk with our students about the importance of eating colorful fruits and veggies.  We thought this “nature mapping system”, including a coloring books, murals, and placemats was a pretty cool idea to remind kids and grown-ups alike to eat colorful foods (Thanks to a post by @WK_Kellogg_Fdn!).
  • If you missed it, last week Mark Bittman wrote a great New York Times piece about some good news about food (We especially like number “4” and “6”).
  • And in case you are still planning on planting some spring peas and are looking for a building project, here’s some instructions for building a cool pea trellis! (and check out this kid-friendly version!).

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