Growing Gardens April 2017
by Heather Bowman and Pat Mahoney…
compiled by Don Barney, community service director

On a rainy Earth Day morning, 25 Rotarians and friends gathered at Columbia Park in North Portland to prepare for a day in the mud–the spring Dig-In with our community partner Growing Gardens. Rotarians gathered with several other teams from around Portland to socialize, enjoy donuts and learn how to build a good garden bed.

Team Rake Superior (Don and Jo Barney, Matt, Fiona and Leo Lillard, Pat and Deanne Mahoney, Jack Bradley, Diane Brandsma and Perry Swanson) traveled to the home of Heather Rivas and family to build two garden beds in their backyard.

Growing Gardens volunteer and team leader Jessica Gutsgell provided clear and simple instructions that the Rake Superior team executed remarkably well. Heather Rivas and her family were active participants in building the gardens. With cooperation from the weather, plenty of laughs and some real honest work, the Rivas family gardens were constructed of the highest quality, on schedule and within budget.

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The Pearl Onions (Katja Gluhr, son Emmerich and husband Emory, Alanna Miel, Adam Creighton, Janet Young, Jim and Heather Bowman, Nancy Fowler, Casey Hazlett and Seth D.) traveled to Northeast Portland to build two garden beds in the home of a young family. The mother, Gabriela, pitched in to help build garden beds, with her two daughters, Addy and Lucinda.

Under the direction of the Growing Gardens volunteer team leader, Adam, the Pearl Onions quickly got to work, dividing into two teams to dig two garden beds. The teams raced to complete construction, and despite so many hands and tools working in a small space, no injuries were sustained. The team uncovered lots of worms, to the delight of Addy and Lucinda. Gabriela shared her delight over the garden beds, saying that she had wanted to start gardening for a long time, and was excited by the support she was receiving.

The new raised garden beds came together quickly, and the teams returned to Columbia Park for a pizza party, happy in their labors.

Each of the Portland Rotary teams also raised $1,000 for Growing Gardens as part of their participation in the Spring Dig-In.

Growing Gardens’ mission:

Promote home-scale organic food gardening to improve nutrition, health and self-reliance while enhancing the quality of life and the environment for individuals and communities in Portland, Oregon.

Pearl Rotary camaraderie

Pearl Rotarians are used to building bonds, two members together (delivering Meals on Wheels), in small teams (feeding men in transition at Bud Clark Commons), in groups raising funds for good causes in the community and in social get-togethers.

But this was a new chapter in camaraderie: bending their backs and getting their hands dirty, together learning new tricks of an age-old occupation, and joining in the joy of preparing for a literal harvest of good food and good will.
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