Spring delivers fresh start at PSU’s community garden

The clouds have parted and the sun has returned after its long, dreary absence. With the return of light and warmth comes the desire to create, and the Portland State Community Garden is ripe for the sowing.

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The clouds have parted and the sun has returned after its long, dreary absence. With the return of light and warmth comes the desire to create, and the Portland State Community Garden is ripe for the sowing.

“Most of the fun stuff happens in the summer,” said Lindsay Peterson, the community garden coordinator.

Located at Southwest 12th Avenue and Montgomery Street, the garden is open to all PSU students and consists of 40 plots. There are between 30 and 35 plots reserved for individual students at any given time; the remainder are reserved by groups.

Peterson said that no prior gardening experience is required for students to get a plot in the garden.

“It’s a community garden, so we try to help each other with gardening questions,” Peterson said. “We have quite a few people who really know what they’re doing here, and a lot of people who don’t know what they’re doing.

“It makes it really fun to work together and figure it out.”

Peterson said the only requirement for having a plot is that students participate in a work party at least once a term. The work parties are monthly community events designed to keep the garden maintained.

“Even though people don’t have plots, they can still get involved,” Peterson said. “They’re still welcome to come to the work parties and any programs that we have up here.”

Students looking for a more structured environment may wish to get involved with one of the groups that have a reserved plot in the garden. The Environmental Club, the Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability and the Village Building Convergence all have plots of their own.

“The summer is an amazing time,” said Amber Wagoner,co-creator and co-leader of the Food Action Collective, another group with a plot in the garden.

“I’m going to spend a lot of time out in [the garden] just relaxing, but there’s something to be said for just getting your hands dirty and making life happen. That’s what we’re doing. We’re growing life and it’s just amazing.”

The FAC has been running its Healthy, Easy, Affordable, Local program, which means numerous trips to the garden to learn skills like planting and harvesting. The program itself was born out of a student suggestion within
the group.

“It was actually one of the first FAC meetings that I went to,” said Cho Heide, who founded the HEAL series with fellow FAC member Erik Tupper. “I was thinking in the meeting that it would be really cool if we did a whole series of workshops with planting and cooking and shopping for healthy, affordable, local food.

“I proposed it to the group, and everyone thought it was a great idea.”

Students who want their own individual plot in the garden can fill out an application online at the Residence Hall Association website at pdx.edu/rha/community-garden. For more information about the Food Action Collective, email Wagoner at [email protected]