New community garden takes root in Rosewood

Here’s another example of how neighbors are doing more than simply talking about building a sense of community – and reducing crime – in this far outer East Portland neighborhood …

Volunteers use a garden tractor to rototill the grassy lawn at the Lynwood Friends Church, as the Rosewood Neighborhood Community Garden project breaks ground.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Rosewood Initiative – a non-profit organization dedicated to making the 15-block area around the intersection of 162nd Avenue and E. Burnside Street a desirable place to live, work, and play – has taken another step from the theoretical to the practical, as they introduced a new project not long ago.

See other stories East Portland News has covered on the Rosewood Initiative: CLICK HERE.

The latest project is the creation of a community garden space. They broke ground – literally – when they turned over sod at the Lynwood Friends Church property, on SE 162nd Avenue near SE Alder Street, on the afternoon of May 8.

Outgrowing Hunger” Executive Director Adam Kohl holds a board, to help the tractor driver rototill neatly-laid-out garden beds.

As more than 20 volunteers prepared garden beds, Adam Kohl – Executive Director of Outgrowing Hunger – paused for a moment to speak with East Portland News.

“This garden is the result of years of interest from a lot of organizations and people in this area,” explained Kohl. “It’s the result of an overlap of interest, need, desire, and availability that has all come together, at the right place, and at the right time.”

Volunteers further turn the soil, mixing in amenities.

Kohl referred to himself as the “point of contact”, and his organization as the “convener” of the project.

“We’re the energizers, the visionaries,” Kohl said. “Specializing in gardens, we try to get ‘existing movement’ of people and groups pointed in the same direction, to create something that will benefit the community, that may or may not otherwise happen.”

Rosewood Initiative board member Rex Hollingsworth of Rex Heating & Air Conditioning, said the working with Outgrowing Hunger was a natural fit.

“People in this community have been trying to find pace to grow fresh vegetables,” Hollingsworth said. “Many of the people who live in this area are low-income; some of them nearly starving. This garden won’t solve hunger here in mid-County, but we think this is a real and meaningful step in the right direction.”

Rosewood Initiative board member Rex Hollingsworth and director Jenny Glass watch the garden come into existence, along with Adam Kohl.

Hollingsworth commended Kohl’s efforts; getting together folks from the church, other volunteers, and management and residents of the Stark Firs Apartments located immediately to the north of the garden space. “The apartment complex will provide water for the garden.”

The project is starting off with 5,000 square feet of planting space, Kohl said. If successful, the church will allow the project to expand.

Garden fees are reasonable, organizer say, and until all spaces are reserved, no one will be turned away for inability to pay.

Unlike other community gardens, this project offers “sliding scale garden fees” ranging from $30 to $120 per full season to pay for water, compost and other direct expenses. “But, nobody will be excluded for a lack of money,” Kohl said

If you live in the Rosewood area, and want a garden plot – sign up right away, before they’re all reserved. Register online at the Outgrowing Hunger’s website: CLICK HERE.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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