Archive for Latest Digs

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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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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Growing Gardens’ Latest Dig: Milk Debates and Garden Tips

Many thanks to volunteer Katharina Steinmeyer for collecting these news bits and garden tips from all across the World Wide Web:

  • Get the scoop on the flavored milk debate: This article questions if encouraging kids to drink milk by adding sugary flavorings to it really is better than them drinking no milk at all.  And 15 teaspoons of sugar in our kid’s school breakfast? Getting sugar out of schools means getting it out of milk too, says head of Harvard nutrition.
  • Finally, a garden journal provides a year-to-year record. Now is a good time, while gardening has moved into low gear, to start a gardening journal to reflect on what happened in 2010 and to begin planning for the coming season.

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