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Become an urban farmer

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Become an urban farmer

Break some asphalt, plant a garden
The clouds have lifted, the sun is out, and the sunscreen has been unearthed from the medicine cabinet. This is a great time to rip up a parking lot according to Montavilla Neighborhood Association Vice Chair Brian Wong. Vestal Elementary School, 161 N.E. 82nd Ave., has received a grant to pull up some asphalt and plant a community garden. Your help is needed to help clear the broken up asphalt and get the area ready for a garden. Bring your gloves to the school at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8. For more information, please call Pam Lytle at 503-477-5802.

Zenger Farm offers variety of workshops
Zenger Farm, an urban farm and wetland in Southeast Portland, offers a wide variety of adult workshops related to food and farming. All classes take place in the Zenger Farmhouse, 11741 S.E. Foster Rd.

On Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m., the farm will focus on preserving local harvests with workshops on making jams and pickles, preserving herbs and canning tomatoes.

Learn how to raise your own backyard flock of laying hens from the experts of the Zenger Farm Eastside Egg Cooperative. Instructors will cover the basics of raising chicks, shelter, feed, municipal regulations, and which chicken is right for you. The class will be offered Tuesdays, Aug. 4 and 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.

There will be a six-week workshop series, at which you will be introduced to practical organic agriculture skills through hands-on learning and small group instruction at Zenger Farm's farm and garden fields. Topics include garden planning, soil fertility, irrigation, vegetable cultivation, cover crops and fruit trees. The series kicks off Aug. 15 and runs Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through September 19.

Learn to make your own cheese using standard kitchen utensils and ingredients. Two one-day workshops will be offered on Saturday, Aug. 1 and Sunday, Aug. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m.

For an introduction to the farm and urban farming, drop in any Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. to explore the farm fields and wetlands, meet the chickens and honeybees and learn about programs and opportunities to get involved. There is a suggested donation of $5 for this tour.

Visit or call 503-282-4245 for workshop pricing and registration information.

SnowCap gardeners anticipate harvest
“It all starts here,” according to SnowCap greenhouse gardener Joan Willie.
Green and growing are the terms used to describe the expanded community garden at SnowCap Community Charities.

Twenty families are taking advantage of the opportunity to grow fresh vegetables to supplement their food budgets. “Gardening can make us all more food secure,” according to SnowCap Executive Director Judy Alley. “It can become a family friendly project,” she added. “It's a joy to see children working with their parents in their own garden spot.”

SnowCap has provided raised beds with good soil, water, plant starts and strategies to grow an abundant crop in a small area.

Joan Willie, in charge of the SnowCap hothouse, raises vegetable plant starts to insure healthy stock for community gardeners.

The garden was expanded to 20 beds in time for spring planting and gardeners are leveling ground to make four more beds for the summer harvest. Crops raised in five of the garden's beds are designated for pantry use. “Our goal is to provide a garden that will produce healthful nutritious food for low-income families, especially those with children,” Alley said. “More and more parents are concerned about chemicals that are added to food they buy in stores. Buying organic is prohibitive for many families.”

The SnowCap garden beds are an effective, efficient way to reduce hunger and learn how to grow food in a friendly family-oriented environment. Gardeners are asked to donate 10 per cent of their harvest to the SnowCap pantry. The fresh produce is included in the food boxes distributed to other low-income and disadvantaged families and individuals.

Participants were provided a seasonal head start with gardening lessons and workshops.

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