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A major goal for PCRI’s Healthy Food Access initiative is to enable any resident who wants to garden, to garden. Since many residents live in multifamily units without the space to garden for themselves, we were able to hook up with the local (and amazing) Albina Cooperative Garden to give some residents a chance to garden right away.
James and Tim are spearheading the Albina Cooperative Garden and both also work at other urban farming projects around Portland. Their goal is not to have you work for the garden, but for the garden to work for you. That said, they have made it as easy as possible to get in, get dirty and get fed.
The Albina Cooperative Garden uses a different model than most community gardens: everyone works towards the same goal and shares the same produce. There are no specific “plots;” rather, when someone volunteers to help, they simply do what needs to be done, be it weeding, watering, or harvesting, and when it IS time to harvest, well, everyone gets a box full of the same fresh goods.
Some of the produce will be sold to local restaurants in order to sustain the garden and keep it free for members (but don’t worry– there will be more than enough for everyone). Experienced gardeners will be available to provide a built in support network for those less experienced. Plus, all the necessary tools will be provided, including an on-site wash station to clean fresh veggies and even a picnic table so the space can be used for community gatherings as well.
Ultimately, the garden aims to educate and empower its gardeners, giving them the tools and knowledge necessary to inform others and maybe begin a home garden. Interested in volunteering two or so hours per week in exchange for free produce? The garden will be ‘staffed’ every Saturday from 11-4 (approximately), and sign up is simple: if you’re interested, just show up.
Albina Cooperative Garden is located about 200 feet west of N. Vancouver on N. Russell St., adjacent to the Emanuel Hospital property. Someone is there most of the time, but definitely every Saturday from 11-4.