Zenger Farm adds classes for grown-ups

Take a look and see what you can learn at the outer East Portland working farm and food education center …

Zenger Farm’s Community Involvement Coordinator, Prairie Hale, takes to the streets in the Lents Neighborhood handing out leaflets promoting their new classes with help from volunteer Jon Wagner, and Hazelwood Neighborhood’s Arlene Kimura.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For years, we’ve brought you stories about Zenger Farm. It’s a unique, working urban farm on SE Foster Road that promotes sustainable food practices, kids’ education, environmental stewardship, and community and economic advancement.

When we saw their community involvement director, Prairie Hale, distributing flyers in the Lents Neighborhood, we stopped to find out more about their current mission.

More than kids’ classes
“We want everyone in the neighborhood to know about Zenger Farm and how we are a great resource, right here in their neighborhood,” Hale told us. “We have people coming from all over the city to participate in our programs and would like more people from outer East Portland to check out what we offer.”

One of the volunteers handing out flyers was Arlene Kimura, the chair of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association, a few miles to the north of the farm. “Zenger Farm is a great resource for our community,” she told us. “I’m helping out because I want to encourage more connections between neighbors and the farm. And, it’s a wonderful day to get out and get some exercise!”

Zenger Farm, located on SE Foster Road at SE 117th Ave. provides food education for thousands of kids every year.

Back at the farm …
Jill Kuehler – you’ve seen here at East Portland News as the director of the Lents International Farmer’s Market – has also become the executive director of Friends of Zenger Farm, the nonprofit organization that supports the farm’s activities.

“It’s true; we’re offering some great new adult classes in organic gardening and farming, fruit tree pruning and keeping your own worm bin for composting,” Kuehler told us as they prepared for a class in the farm house educational center.

“These classes are open to everyone and residents of the Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhoods qualify for a 15% discount,” she added. “We always keep a scholarship spots available in each of our classes for those who cannot afford it.”

Connecting people with their food
Zenger Farm is important, Kuehler said, because it helps adults and children stay connected two where their food comes from and how it grows.

“Individuals, and as many as 3,000 Portland-area students attend our educational programs,” Kuehler noted. “We’re always ready to make new friends.”

Cooking class starts next week
Now is a good time to pre-register for the new Zenger Farm Cooking Classes that start on February 26.

Learn to cook delicious, quick and nutritious meals from a well-stocked pantry! Katherine Deumling, regional governor for Slow Food USA, is leading this three-week series on concepts, techniques and easy combinations to cook with what you have on hand. Classes will be interactive and include hands-on participation and demonstration.

“They’ll serve a full meal and copies of recipes and additional materials are included,” noted Kuehler. “The class is appropriate for a wide range of experience levels.”

The class objectives include learning how to stock your pantry for quick, everyday meals, becoming comfortable cooking without specific recipes, creating vegetable/grain/legume-based meals with meat used as a condiment, and using in-season produce year-round.

Classes will be held at Zenger Farm on February 26, March 5, and March 12 from 6 until 8:30pm. The cost is $140 for the three-part series.

Limited scholarship spots are available – contact Prairie Hale at (503) 282-4245 for a scholarship application.

To register e-mail contact Katherine Deumling at deumling@easystreet.net.

To find out more, visit the Zenger Farm website by CLICKING HERE.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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