Zenger Farm celebrates ten years of urban agriculture

How do Friends of Zenger Farm celebrate a decade of service, here in outer East Portland? With tours and, of course, great food! See how they celebrated, right here …

Welcoming their guests are Friends of Zenger Farm board member Joanne Morrissey, Executive Director Jill Kuehler, and board member Kyrie Kellett.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Friends of Zenger Farm – and their friends – celebrated the farm’s 10th anniversary with a grand event on September 12, at this working, educational farm in outer East Portland on SE Foster Road.

“Zenger is an historic dairy farm,” said Executive Director Jill Kuehler, as she greeted us at the front gate. “It’s been here almost 100 years. The city purchased the property in 2001; and we’ve operated it as a nonprofit organization since 1999.”

(From our front page) Zenger farmer Sarah Cogan leads a tour, during the farm’s 10th Anniversary event.

Since that time, the organization – with a lot of support from the community – has completely rebuilt the ramshackle farmhouse into an office and learning center – replete with a solar-power-generating patio roof.

In simple terms, Kuehler said, “Zenger is about growing great food right here in the city – and at the same time educating over 3,000 youth about where our food comes from, and about the importance of growing food locally.”

Bon Appetit Catering assistant Jessica Kendall stands by, as chef Joe McGarry prepares a fresh salad dressing.

Guests were first led on tours of the farm. Then, they were treated to a barbecue picnic dinner prepared by Chef Joe McGarry of Bon Appetit Catering, who made good use of veggies fresh from the Zenger fields.

Afterwards, a movie entitled “Fresh” was projected in the barn, with a hanging sheet as a screen. “It’s a documentary tribute to farmers, and it’s about the importance of eating locally-grown food,” Kuehler explained.

Guests mix and meet, as the scent of fresh BBQ chicken cooking on the grill wafts through the air.

In all, 180 attended the dinner, and the event raised $2,600 for the organization. “But, the real purpose was much more about celebrating our tenth anniversary than about raising money,” assured Kuehler.

Zenger Farm also offers classes for adults. We list ’em all in the East Portland News Community Calendar; be sure to check them out! Or to learn more, see their web site by CLICKING HERE.

The Friends of Zenger Farm say they hope you’ll come visit their unique educational facility.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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