Haven’t blogged in forever! Well let me get you readers updated! The Nurture Your Neighborhood event was a major success! We all couldn’t believe how many people were so willing to show up and support us. We had lots of delicious foods, wonderful refreshments, classy silverware, good entertainment, fabulous guest speakers and many more! Thank you again State Farm for presenting us with a gigantic check! $50,300! Can you believe it!? We always thought big checks were presented on T.V., but I guess not! We also would like to thank the Royal Blues for performing and keeping our audience entertained; you guys have lovely voices. Thank you Ms. Orlen, Mr. Street and our other important guests speakers for being our speakers and for making all this happen, our class most definitely couldn’t do it without you guys! And our audience, thank you for clearing your Saturday to help support us and making our event happen! And Royal Blues, thanks for keeping our audience entertained, you kept our audience alive! Because the Nurture Your Neighborhood event went really well, we’re taking charge and building our garden right now! We hope our garden will last for a long time even after we all graduate. We’re ready to get this garden growing! Thanks again for everyone who showed up!
Today is the day! We have been waiting for this wonderful event! We are proud to present this fantastic event to all of our neighbors and speakers. We’re having lots of delicious treats, entertainment and much more! Please come and stop by to support us and let’s not forget that State Farm presented us with $50,300! We are very honored. Nurture Your Neighborhood is going to make a difference and we would really appreciate it if everyone would attend! Hope to see everyone there! 🙂
Several members of the Grant Gardens Committee were lucky enough to sit in on and speak at the Grant Site Council’s September 21st meeting. Council members reiterated their support for the project, and declared, as expected, that there remain no conflicts regarding the garden’s use of PPS land.
On September 20th the Grant Gardens Committee met with Nancy Bond, head Resource Conservation Specialist at Portland Public Schools (PPS), Laura Neimi, director of Portland Community Gardens, our new AmeriCorps volunteer, and our new PPS site manager.
We discussed our plans to go forward with the Grant Learning Garden–we will break ground sometime next week!–and in doing so, made some minor adjustments to our original architectural plan. (Pictures of the new plan will be posted soon.)
We also talked about the future of the proposed Grant Community Garden. After reading the Gardens Committee’s most recent proposal, both Bond and Neimi appeared confident that the Community Garden will soon become a reality.
Last week, the Grant Gardens Committee ran booths at both the Hollywood Farmers’ Market and at Grant High School’s Back-to-School Picnic. The community’s response at both events was excellent! As Garden Committee members answered questions, many people felt compelled to offer their services to the project. It is truly amazing to discover what amazing talents our community collectively possesses!
Members of the Grant Garden Committee met earlier this week with Susan Wiencke, who oversees goings-on at the Madison Gardens on NE 82nd Avenue. The Madison Gardens will serve as a helpful point of reference for the Grant Gardens Project, as they are the only high school learning-community gardens, and are thus most comparable.
Susan had no shortage of great ideas and tips for the Grant Gardens, including:
- Naming numerous local groups who have historically helped with the construction of community and school gardens.
- Having a raised bed in the Learning Garden with “control” and “experimental” sections, for science projects in Grant’s “Intro to Sustainable Agriculture” classes.
- The importance of a greenhouse — an addition that she says is also relatively inexpensive.
- Building a covered area made of cobb so that classes can be more easily taught outside during the cold, rainy winter months.
- Suggestions for a comprehensive, low-maintenance, space-conscious composting system.
- Potentially having high schoolers mentor younger students from Hollyrood and Beverly Clearly Schools in the garden.
- The importance of having a timed, security-conscious irrigation system.
- The importance of incorporating student artwork — from Grant, and potentially from Hollyrood, Beverly Clearly, and/or the neighborhood — into the garden.
- The importance of having a classroom at Grant specifically designated for garden materials.
- Suggestions regarding necessary equipment.
- How nice of an addition an outdoor kitchen can be for a sustainable agriculture course.
- Potentially selling starts as a way to make money for the garden.
- The importance of building a movable shed. She also noted that sheds can be built incredibly inexpensively.
- Potentially utilizing a cistern.
- And much, much more!
The Grant Gardens Project will be hosting an event called “Nurture Your Neighborhood” on October 1st from 2pm-4pm. The event will be in the future garden — on the school’s front green, just south of the main parking lot. Speakers will include Country Chair Jeff Cogen. One will also enjoy the music of various Grant bands and vocal ensembles. Everyone is welcome. We’ll see you there!
Great news: Portland Public Schools has just approved the Grant Gardens team’s proposal for a school learning garden! As you may know, yields from the garden will be prepared and served in the Grant cafeteria, which provides 10 free or reduced-price meals each week to some of the the school’s most impoverished students. The garden will be maintained by students from Grant’s “Intro to Sustainable Agriculture” class and the Special Education Department during the school year, and by various gleaner nonprofits over summer vacation. We celebrate this news, and look forward to being assigned a PPS site manager, who will aid the garden team in establishing the garden. Check back soon — there will will be much more news to come!
After several hours of discussion with the Grant Gardens team about functionality, regulations, cost, sustainability, and aesthetics, landscape architect Robert Wood and city planner and architect Julia Haykin created a basic design for the GHS Learning Garden for submission to Portland Public Schools. PPS will assess the design and give feedback that will, in turn, be addressed by the team. After these fundamentals are agreed upon, greater design specificity may be sought.
July 29th’s meeting with Grant Principal Vivian Orlen brought several new ideas to the table! We now seek to build a relationship with pioneers of the Madison Community Gardens, as our potential learning garden will be quite similar to it. Such a meeting will yield ideas for our garden and will be a great source of potential resources. We will additionally seek relationships with the neighborhood associations of communities that draw to Grant High School, as they historically have been great proponents of Grant programs and activities. We also heard word that Grant health teacher Norman Scott has offered to organize one of his wildly successful and highly-attended themed dances to benefit the garden initiative. After a 50’s Barn Dance and a disco, we can only guess what to expect next! Upon Mrs. Orlen’s suggestion, the Grant community can also look forward to a community event in early October aimed at providing information to those interested in the Grant Gardens Project. Attendees can expect both great speakers and delicious food. There will soon be more information, but for the time being, make sure to keep your calender open!