Fresh food still abounds at ‘Learning Garden Lab’

Looking for just-picked, fresh-from-the-garden food? Check out this ongoing resource in outer East Portland that helps support local students’ agricultural education

Here, in this garden, fresh food is being grown – right now! Crops are picked at their peak of freshness, and packaged for those who come by to pick up a weekly “Harvest Share” at the Learning Gardens Laboratory.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

One of the lingering effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has been that, once again this season, the Portland State University (PSU) “Learning Gardens Laboratory” (LGL) did not open their Farm Stand, at which they sold fresh-from-the-garden vegetables to passers-by.

However, not wanting to disappoint the families who’ve enjoyed their fresh produce, grown in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, they’ve continued the “Harvest Share” program they started in 2020.

Tending the garden set aside for growing the produce is Harvest Share and Plant Sale Coordinator Liv Carmody.

“Our Harvest Share is similar to a ‘CSA’ (Community Supported Agriculture), except that people don’t sign up for an entire growing season – buyers simply sign up for a ‘share’ of what we harvest in our dedicated garden on a week-by-week basis,” explained Harvest Share and Plant Sale Coordinator Liv Carmody.

The first week this year was in mid-June, and the Harvest Share program continues through the end of October.

Bringing up Harvest Share containers PSU Leadership for Sustainability Education graduate program student Shevawn Armstrong.

“In their weekly Harvest Share, participants are receiving bundles of kale, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, and a variety peppers – as well as squash, cucumbers, potatoes, radishes, and a variety of herbs,” Carmody explained. “When the weather starts getting a little bit cooler, we’ll be distributing harvests of broccoli, cauliflower, and collards.”

In her view, an important facet of the Harvest Share program, “Is that it allows people to source their food locally, from right here in their neighborhood – instead of purchasing food that may have been grown thousands of miles away.”

Ready for another weekly harvest are Harvest Share gardeners Zeke Zager, Eric Benedon, and Liv Carmody.

If you’d like to try it out, just buy a Harvest Share on the Monday of a particular week’s distribution, which is done late afternoon on the Thursday of the same week.

“We offer 15 Harvest Shares per week, on a first-come, first-purchased basis from those who sign up online; so, we suggest buying your share on a Monday, before they’re sold out for the week,” Carmody advised. “Remember, there’s no obligation to buy a share every week.”

This neighbor, picking up his Harvest Share, is Jon Dickinson.

Interested? CLICK HERE to see their webpage and to learn more; then scroll down to see the current and upcoming Harvest Share events.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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