Improvements seen at Zenger Farm as their ‘Farm Summer Camp’ season approaches

Through the hard work of its dedicated volunteers, see how Zenger Farm’s building program is progressing ‚Äì and learn more about their unique urban farm summer camp program for kids ‚Ķ

Zenger Farm board members Michelle Peterman and Eileen Brady are two of many volunteers who work to make this unique urban farm into a showplace teaching facility. Read on, and learn why Zenger is so important to them.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Those who have followed our reporting know of our fascination with Zenger Farm.

For those who don’t, Zenger is a combination of a working, urban farm, community garden, wetland reclamation project ‚Äì and agrarian learning center for kids.

Teaching kids were food comes from
Why do hundreds of folks, and their companies, volunteer to improve Zenger Farm and keep it running? The best answers come from their volunteer board members:

“I’m passionate about kids and food,” is how Michelle Peterman explains her interest. “I want kids to learn how they get their food. Ask kids where their food comes from, they typically say, ‘from the grocery store’. Kids learn how to make better choices about the food they eat, when they know where their food comes from.”

And, as another Zenger Farm board member, Eileen Brady, puts it, “You know your doctor and dentist, but do you know your farmer, fisher, and rancher? These people are producing the food we put in our bodies. We had 2,000 kids at the farm last year. We’d like to get every child in Portland to, at least, touch the soil on a farm. As we increase transparency from farm to table, it helps people build connections between their health, nutrition, and ecology. It strengthens the urban/rural partnerships and regional food economy.”

Farm reception is good

Melissa Peterson, owner of Wild Plum Catering ( serves up tasty dishes for friends of the farm at a June reception. The hit was her Vegetable Strudel with roasted eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, fresh herbs, local goat cheese. “Summer is just a great time for cooks who love farm-fresh vegetables,” she says.

We caught up with Zenger Farm’s director, Wisteria Loeffler, at a spring reception during June. Hundreds of adults and kids swarmed over the nearly-completed farm house renovation.

The Cole Family Band plays traditional tunes, filling the air with music during the spring farm reception.

“As the growing season begins,” Loeffler tells us, “This is a fun event; opening the farm to the families and friends of our supporters. We’ve been under construction for a couple of years and we’re about ready to move into our next phase.

Farm Summer Camp about to begin

Do kids like coming to learn about agriculture at Zenger Farm? Frances McClain and Lilly Rogers certainly do!

The theme of the 2006 Zenger Summer Day Camp series is “Connecting kids to the food they eat”.

Kids will have the unique opportunity to:
> Spend a week on a working urban farm learning where their food comes from;
> Get their hands dirty working in the Kids’ Garden and helping our farmer tend her fields;
> Pick snacks from heirloom fruit trees and harvest vegetables for lunch;
> Learn how to make nature journals and go on a field trip to a farm outside of the city to see how other farmers grow their food
> Make lunch, with help from a professional chef, from ingredients they harvested themselves. A nutritious snack and lunch is provided everyday

Spaces are filling fast! Call now to reserve your child’s spot.

Session 1
Boys & Girls, ages 6-8
Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, July 17 – Friday, July 21

Session 2
Boys & Girls, ages 9-12
Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, July 31 – Friday, August 4

The cost is $200/session. Note: A limited number of need-based scholarships are available. The camps are located at Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Road.

To Register, or for more information, or to register your camper today, contact Sara Cogan, Education Coordinator, at (503)282-4245, or

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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