Monday, October 22, 2012

Africa House Garden Work Party

The Intergenerational garden at EPCC isn't the only one IRCO manages. The Africa House  is having a work party to restore and rejuvinate the vegetable garden for next spring. We'll have African music, food, and a chance to meet people from this wonderful community.

When: Friday, November 9th from 10AM until 1PM
Where: 631 NE 102nd Ave
We will provide some food potluck style, any that is brought by volunteers is greatly appreciated.
Any work gloves or gardening tools that you may own.
Wear clothes that can get a little dirty, and make sure you plan for cold and wet weather!

We will primarily be cleaning out and tilling up the raised beds and placing cover crops in the existing soil. Additionally, we have some raspberries to plant in the ground, general garbage to pick up, and we're hoping to put mulch down in between the raised beds to help prevent weeds and make the garden look uniform and beautiful.

If you'd like to take part in the event, let Lori Rooney ( or Abby Noon ( know via email. The more the merrier, and anyone is welcome to come out.

See you there!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photos From the Garden

There are still some flowers adding color to the native garden!

Collard greens and a cabbage that are almost ready for harvesting. Last week the kale, arugula, and swiss chard were harvested with cover crops popping up in the empty beds this week.

The garden basking in sunlight and a fresh watering.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Autumn Update

Hello! I'm Abby Noon, your new Volunteer Coordinator for the Intergenerational Garden at East Portland Community Center. I became involved with IRCO through Student Leaders for Service, a student department at Portland State University. I'm a double major in Economics and International Development there, with a long history of working in gardens up in Alaska, where I was born and raised.

I'm excited to be part of this project and see it blossom over the winter. The last few weeks I have worked on general maintenance in the garden: watering, weeding, and beginning the process of extracting fallen leaves from the plants in the native garden. My hope is to gather more volunteers and work on beautifying the garden space over the winter. Murals on the raised beds and multilingual sign posts for each different plant are just two ideas. The possibilities are endless as we take this garden through its first year.

I will be working in the garden every Wednesday from 1-3pm. Everyone is welcome to come by and help, munch on some arugula, or simply chat while enjoying the plants.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Construction photos

Garden site before construction. Utilities are marked (always call 811!).

Removing the grass...

Machines help...

Grass almost gone!

Scooping out the path.

Rolling and flipping sod.

Starting to lay gravel...with raised bed materials staged and ready to go.

Raised beds installed, and gravel dumped and ready to spread.

Ta daa! A Path!

Beds filled with soil; native plants installed.

 Construction and native plant-planting complete. Let the maintenance begin!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Community Watershed Stewardship Program info

Over the past year, I've had the pleasure of working with IRCO on the intergenerational garden through the organization I work for, the Community Watershed Stewardship Grants Program, which aims to improve Portland’s watershed health.

Improving the quality of water in Portland’s rivers requires us to improve the health of the whole landscape, from the river’s edge to our neighborhoods, community spaces, and backyards; and it requires us all to be involved.  That’s why IRCO and IRCO’s participants are such important partners, bringing together people from all generations and all backgrounds and bringing some amazing energy and creativity for the work they do.
Our grants can be used for many different types of projects to achieve many different community goals.  Here are a few ideas:
  • Remove asphalt and concrete from your community place, and plant native plants, trees, or bark chips for children to play on.
  • Create a native plant learning area at your school or community garden, with plants, trails, and information about the plants and which animals use them for food.  
  • Organize a bike tour for your community group to learn how to get to their local natural areas.
  • Take groups on field trips to parks, natural areas, and rivers to learn about wildlife, fish, plants and nature. 
  • Take youth to city natural areas to plant trees and plants with city workers and learn about natural history.
For more information on Community Watershed Stewardship grants, and project planning services we provide, please visit or call Rebecca Hamilton at 503.823.7917.

- Garrett Phillips, CWSP Program

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How the project began

I began planning a garden on my first day as Manager of Cherry Blossom Loaves & Fishes in the East Portland Community Center. It simply seemed to be an obvious first task.

After all, every community center needs a garden. It is a natural extension of the mission of Portland Parks & Recreation to enhance the neighborhood by providing opportunities to grow the joy and benefits of a healthy and communal lifestyle. Likewise, it is a natural progression of the Loaves & Fishes vision: no senior goes hungry or experiences social isolation. These complimentary goals are firmly rooted in the soil of a garden. Our lives are made stronger by healthy foods and sharing.

Many hands make light loads.

I turned first to Steve Bergeron, President of Willamette Lodge #24 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union. In the past, the union had sponsored a pancake breakfast – but I needed a deeper commitment…and a bunch of burly men with pickup trucks. Steve was just the choice! Right away he understood the importance of the project and promised that the union would do all they could to help. With this first step, I began building the consortium that became the nucleus of what is certain to be a great venture…

- Robert Bradley, Cherry Blossom Loaves & Fishes

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Design team perspective

Shortly after graduating from the Master of Architecture program at the University of Oregon in Portland I was given the opportunity to share some of my knowledge with a small group of students from the Art Institute. While helping to develop the course syllabus with the primary course instructor, William Taylor, we were brainstorming ideas about how to add greater value to the course. Our solution was to investigate the City of Portland's "green" initiatives and attempt to find a way that we could use the class to support their endeavors.

After sending out some e-mails to various city officials, we were put in touch with a focus group from the Bureau of Environmental Services. This is where we learned about the Water Stewardship Grant program, Independence Gardens, and the East Portland Community Center Intergenerational Garden. When this project was put on the table we jumped at the chance to participate.

Helping to design and visualize a garden that would allow seniors and refugees to provide for themselves and make connections with the community at large couldn't have been a more perfect fit for the type of project we were looking to do. Not only did it incorporate ideas about a more sustainable way of life; it also addressed rich social aspects. Could there be any greater cause?

It has fascinated me that even during the worst of times gardens act a centers for growth and regeneration not only for plants but also of mental and physical well-being of the people maintaining them. Food is a universal need that can be used to bring people from any background together.

Our class focused on these topics helping to develop preliminary design concepts, using advanced computer visualization techniques to generate diagrams and realistic renderings of what the garden could potentially become. Although the physical space is small, there are large implications behind this type of work.

A more sustainable way of living is not accomplished in one move at one time, but rather takes small steps in the right direction. It has been an honor to be able to participate in such an exciting project.

- John Hutton, Art Institute project team