2018 isn’t over yet, but with the year preparing to turn, you and those close to you may have started to think about what 2019 might hold. For the Food Share, 2019 means making use of the new kitchen for educational programming covering topics such as food preparation and preservation—by members, for members. For me, it means continuing to put down roots, invest in community, and participate in initiatives I believe in. In addition to the tasks, goals, and dreams on your 2019 bucket list, I’m hoping to encourage you to consider including growing some of your own food.
You do not need to have a yard, experience, or a large amount of money at your disposal to join the local gardening scene. Portland is home to a growing community garden network. While plots do come with a cost, there are scholarships available. Between hobby gardeners, master gardeners, and individuals striving to use the gardens as a primary food source, it can be tough to get a spot. People interested in joining the community garden are sometimes forced to choose between a 3 year wait at a garden close to their place of residence, or a long commute to a garden with immediate availability. Those of us living in the St. Johns area are in luck! Currently, there are more plots available for the 2019 gardening year than there are people on the waitlist!
If starting a garden seems like a daunting task, you need not fret. There are numerous resources for new and returning gardeners: The Oregon Food Bank hosts regular Seed to Supper classes, which last 6 weeks and are free to the public; Oregon State University Master Gardeners/Extension have a plant hotline, offer online resources, and host regular (free!) gardening talks. If all else fails, there are always your fellow gardeners, ready to answer questions and/or lend a hand.
The Johns Community Garden is an invaluable resource, not only to those actively tilling the soil, but to the greater community. Flowers support pollinators and other wildlife, and excess summer produce gets donated to the St. Johns Food Share through the city’s Produce for the People program. If you are looking for a hobby that will put food on your table, get you outside and active, and strengthen your ties to the St. Johns neighborhood, consider applying for a community garden plot! I hope to see you in the garden.
Kassia Rudd is a local gardener committed to furthering community and environmental health through sustainable food systems education and outreach.