Archive for December, 2010

Deb’s Garden Journal 2010

Deb’s Garden Journal 2010

31 December, 2010

Some years I am more diligent than others about keeping up with my garden journal entries. Fortunately, Bernadine, Caitlin, Nat, Pesha and Rodney have been keeping our GROWINGGARDENS journal blog up to date. If you follow our blog or FaceBook or Twitter feeds, you already know about many of the exciting developments here at GROWINGGARDENS. As we apprkale in snowoach 2011, I am thinking about all that I’ve learned this year and what I want to celebrate during the year ahead.

2010 Foundation- Soil Quality

We started 2010 with fertile soil worth over $77,000, thanks to all our donors to the Willamette Week Give!Guide 2009, our annual Harvest campaign and the Léve-hosted December Charity Ball.

Soil Amendments throughout the year from the following donors maintained our rich, loamy soil…Thank you all.

Volunteers- Nearly 4,000 hours valued over $68,000

This year our volunteers were out in full force. Thanks to their energy and time, it was as if we had an extra two staff members much of the year. Volunteers built Home Gardens, taught Youth Grow garden clubs and workshops, served as garden mentors, updated data files and staffed many events.

A special shout out goes to our compassionate, passionate and totally dedicated Board of Directors.  Although members are volunteers, they approach their public responsibility with true commitment and accountability.  Thanks to their leadership, GROWINGGARDENS is thriving!

Thank you, volunteers!

Fundraising Events- $63,000

From our annual events to a couple new ones, we had fun raising funds! Our Chef In My Garden Dinner series sold out in record time, despite adding an extra dinner this summer!

The folks at Garden Fever! generously hosted the Veggie Ball in their nursery this fall as well as the annual Lucca Restaurant tomato dinner benefit for GROWINGGARDENS.







Rodney developed the hugely successful and outrageously fun “Dawn of the Bed” event. (Thanks to the folks at GRUB, a kindred organization in Olympia, Washington, for sharing a prototype event). The DOTB consists of teams of volunteers who raise at least $600 in order to build one of our Home Gardens. This year, twelve teams participated, including a team from the mayor’s office! Wheelbarrows became bicycle carts and Team Adams rode off to build their assigned garden.

We also received significant funds during 2010 from others- from individuals, foundations and the business community- we have much to be thankful for.

Individual Giving- $32,000

Foundations- $84,000

Organizations- $12,000

Government- $3,000

Businesses- $30,580

High Yields

Harvests were abundant at GROWINGGARDENS this year. Here are some highlights:

Youth Grow Clubs- 4 year-round clubs/283 students

  • I love coming out to the garden and I wish Garden Club was every day”
  • I can’t wait to have a garden at home, too!”
  • Garden Club students at Faubion, Humboldt, Shaver and Vernon increased the types of fruits and vegetables they like to eat by 17%.
  • 75% of Garden Club students tried new foods from the garden including collard greens, kohlrabi, and beets.
  • 87% of children at Garden Club schools are from low-income households and over 50% are of ethnic minority.

Youth Grow School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training-2 Trainings/44 attendees

In 2009, Caitlin recruited an expert advisory panel and created the first of its kind certificate program for school garden educators. The program is a huge success and this fall, students taking the course were able to get PSU continuing education credits.

  • This is the best training I have ever taken.”
  • I am so glad I can get continuing education credits at PSU for this program.”
  • Program graduates are facilitating garden activities for more than 1,000 students!
  • Over 100 applicants are on the waiting list for the next training.
  • People traveled from as far as Pilot Rock, Grants Pass and Olympia!

Home Gardens 200 total: 1st Yr- 72; 2nd Yr- 66; 3rd Yr- 62

This year we supported 200 households with gardens- reaching over 700 individuals directly. Gardeners continue to inspire us every year!

  • My three year old got up every morning to go see what she could eat out of the garden. She measured the eggplants by to her little hands to see how they were growing.” Home Gardener 2010
  • I was inspired by one of your volunteers to apply for the Horticulture Program at Clackamas Community College. I just finished my first quarter, and am going for the two-year Associate Degree. Your program has been a great way for us to get back into gardening and we have been able to share the wealth with our friends and neighbors.” Home Gardener 2009
  • We’ve given food to the neighbors and they’ve been really happy. This has really brought me out of the house a whole lot more. I have a tendency to be a couch potato. I think this has improved our quality of life.” –Maxine HG10

Learn & Grow Workshops- 34 workshops/436 attendees

We increased our workshop offerings by more than 25% this year and still had standing room only!

  • Rodney’s Vermiculture Workshop was perfect! I learned so many things and want to attend more!”
  • Slugs & Bugs Workshop was great. I learned what to do with my soil to prevent pest problems. I loved the discussion and small group.”




What’s the Forecast for 2011? Here’s a sneak preview….

We will start 2011 with significant grant funds in the bank from Hoover, Irwin, Swigert and Oregon Community Foundations in addition to Meyer Memorial Trust, Spirit Mountain Community Fund.  Our end of year giving through the Willamette Week Give!Guide 2010 and our own Harvest Campaign are on track to meet our revenue goals as well.

These funds make it possible for us to continue to provide important programs, move to a larger office, add a couple temporary program positions, and explore new sources of revenue.

Our Home Gardens Program will initiate the Growing Huertos program, providing professional interpretation and translation of program workshops and materials.

Youth Grow will add two new schools to our Garden Clubs program. The School Garden Coordinator Certificate program will increase the number of trainings offered and begin a placement referral system for graduates.

Learn & Grow will continue to offer a variety of do it yourself garden workshops as well as hold the annual Tour de Coops City Tour in late July.

AND, thanks to a very generous end of year gift…. you’ll be seeing us around town in a new vehicle!

Stay Tuned!

Thank you for your support this year.

Here’s to a bountiful 2011.



Executive Director


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The People Behind the Gardens: Meet Our Fall Youth Grow Volunteers

This fall, the Youth Grow program has been lucky to have four wonderful Garden Club volunteers. The volunteers commit 2-3 hours a week to help lead Garden Club activities and they have been doing an excellent job. Molly Jenkins and Heidi Schrimsher have really made Garden Club at Humboldt K-8 exciting and fun for the students, and Gabrielle Macrae and Jenni Sinclair have done an awesome job at Shaver Elementary keeping everyone focused and loving Garden Club!

Gabrielle Macrae

Gabrielle Macrae grew up in Portland and recently moved back to town after living in North Carolina for a few years. She enjoys farming and gardening, playing music, working with kids and riding bikes.

Jenni Sinclair

Jenni Sinclair is a student studying in the fiel d of Environmental Science. She chooses to volunteer for Youth Grow be cause she believes that teaching our children to eat nutritious foods will have many benefits in the future that lie ahead of them.

Molly Jenkins moved  here in September from Seattle, where she was attending graduate school and was volunteering with Seattle Tilth in their Children’s garden.  In June Molly will graduate from Montessori Institute Northwest in Southeast Portland with a certification to teach children ages 2.5 to 6.  She hopes to have a classroom with a worm bin by this time next year!

Molly and Heidi

Heidi Schrimsher  is originally from New Orleans. She has a Masters degree  in landscape architecture and wrote her thesis on children’s outdoor education. She has worked with kids and gardening extensively and was previously the director of education at a botanical garden.

Thanks to all our fabulous volunteers!

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GG Latest Dig: Our Partnership With the Humboldt Learning Garden

Humboldt K-8, located on N. Alberta St. in the Humboldt neighborhood, is Youth Grow’s newest school partner. We are excited to partner with this vibrant school community, and to support the Humboldt Learning Garden for the next three years. The garden at Humboldt has been in the works for over 10 years, and was created through partnerships with  Oregon Solutions, Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership (LCREP),  and Oregon Tradeswomen. This past year, students grew a bountiful crop of collards, lettuce, and tomatoes. The collards were cooked and served by one of the teachers, Mary Peake. She and Sean Waller have been driving forces behind the garden program. This fall, they both participated in Growing Gardens’ School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training. Willie Poinsette, Humboldt’s new principal, is also an active member of the garden committee, and a big supporter of the garden.

Last spring Mr Waller engaged students in raising money for the garden through an plant sale, selling three different types of Echinacea as well as mustard and collard greens. The sale was part of an ongoing partnership with Dig to Be Dug Nursery, and the students learned “How to make a dollar out of 15 cents.” Through the new partnership with Growing Gardens, this year Humboldt has a weekly garden club for k-2nd graders, and a plan for a garden club for older students is in the works. Garden Club this year has planted lettuce and garlic, and sowed a cover crop to get ready for next spring. We have tasted fresh salsa (made from tomatoes from the garden), chard, beets, apples, sunflower seeds, and several other delicious veggie snacks. The Alberta Co-op generously donated a big box of pumpkins for our fall celebration, which the kids painted a rainbow of beautiful colors.

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