East Portland’s ‘Learning Garden’ hosts Spring Fest

Take a look, and you’ll know why folks from all over outer East Portland came to this ‘Earth Day’ themed event …

Guests are welcomed to the Earth Day Spring Festival event held at the Learning Gardens Laboratory, in Brentwood-Darlington.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Supporters – and the simply curious, who saw the sign promoting the festival – headed into the Learning Gardens Laboratory in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood on “Earth Day Saturday”, April 25.

Plants were already sprouting in many of the garden beds. And, in the meadow area, canopies gave shade to exhibitors in the “Village Market” section of this Earth Day Spring Festival. Shoppers selected from offerings in the plant sale; food samples were plentiful; and live music filled the air during the day-long event.

Guests tour the Multnomah County Master Gardener Demonstration Garden.

“This is a festival with many different things happening,” smiled Learning Garden Fundraising and Events Planner Irene Bailey.

“In our ‘Village Market’ section is the Community Connections Center and our Kids Activities Center,” Baily told East Portland News. “Within those areas are activity tables where people can learn about organizations in the Portland area, and here locally, in the community.”

Sampling and snacking on garden-fresh foods is a delicious part of the Earth Day celebration.

The Earth Day celebration is important to the mission of the garden, Baily said, “Because it’s a good way to bring the community into our space, and allow our garden to be accessed by everyone. We work with about 160 sixth-grade students in our Garden-based Education program.

“But, sometimes it feels like we need to get more people into this 12 acre site, so we can get more folks familiar with what we offer,” explained Baily. “For example, we also have family garden plots available. And there are many ways to get involved, be it volunteering, gardening here, or coming for some of our other events later in the year.”

Isabelle and Benjamin Beaujault are busy creating “fence art”, at the Earth Day Spring Festival at the Learning Gardens Laboratory in East Portland.

As more people get to know about this unique urban garden, Baily said, it increases the diversity of people who can grow food for their families, or collaborate with other people.

“We welcome everyone to come see our wonderful space,” Baily said. “It enriches everything that we do here.”

Nancy Hales and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales take a tour of the Learning Gardens with Educator Brynna McCarter.

Just then Nancy Hales and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales arrived for a tour of the site.

“I think this is a great example of community self-help and expression,” Hales said. “I love the connection between agriculture and people living in the city. Just because we live in the big city doesn’t mean that we can’t benefit by being connected to nature.”

Adults talked, kids played, and it appeared as if the Learning Gardens Laboratory’s celebration was successfully meeting its goal.

To learn more about the Learning Gardens Laboratory, see their website: CLICK HERE to open their home page.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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