A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gallery of Givers

Below is a picture gallery of volunteers who have been helping us grow the gardens this season and a list of others who have contributed time or materials in the last month. We do our best to acknowledge everyone who helps. Please forgive us if we forgot to mention you. Everyone's contribution makes a difference. Llyn and Chris

Gratitude goes out to:
  • Sheri who brings us grass clippings every few weeks to the Monroe site
  • Renee Duncan who has adopted the perennial garden beds at Alpine and will be filling them with flowers from her own nursery
  • Gary Weems and his heavy equipment for assistance in maintaining the Alpine Park and all the ways he helps fill in around the edges to keep the park looking great.
  • Gene Boshart brought us seven tons of spoiled hay, helped us unload it and wouldn't even accept gas money
  • Guy Urbach brings us home-picked cherries and other treats when we're working in the gardens and we're still grateful to him for covering the cost of the porta-potty at Alpine
  • Gary Watts and Jack Jones (from Alpine Pump) for fixing the broken pipes at the Alpine bathroom (so we won't need the porta-potty anymore!) Also, Gary did another full-park mowing job this month.
  • Steve Rose for pepper plants and onion starts
  • Cathy Rose brought us onion starts
  • Evelyn Lee for forwarding all these emails out to the local community through the list-serve
  • Rae brought us a big load of primo oat-sraw to mulch the Alpine garden. It was truly the champagne of hays! Flaked evenly, fluffed up nice...mmm...mmm.
  • Loren Bowman donated brand new hoses and three stands for rain-bird sprinklers 
  • Mylrea Estell and Ray Kreth for providing us with a safe, comfortable and affordable place to live that enables us to be able to do this project
  • Well, we thought we'd had just about everything that we needed donated...and now we know its true because Larry and Germaine Hammon recently gave us (that's right folks) their kitchen sink! (We'll use it to wash produce etc at the Alpine site.) 
What follows is a "gallery of givers". A short pictorial tribute to the many helpers who have been giving of their time to grow food for those in need. We sure appreciate you! 

A team of volunteers at the Monroe site
Clearing the old perennial bed at Alpine
George planting tomatoes that Steve Rose donated
David Urbach preparing tomato mounds
Steve Rose tilling the Monroe site
Chris and Phil-one of our main grass clippings donaters in Alpine
Rann-fence building
Steve N. - digging holes
Eva - transplanting raspberries
Jesse - transplanting sunflowers
Rae - thanks for the hay donation!
Cindy rolling up baling twine
Jennifer and Chris after unloading hay
Robin transplanting grape vines
Ishmael "Mi" gathering mulch
Seven tons of Hay donated!
Gene Boshart - unloading his donation
Evelyn and Danielle gathering grass-mulch
Jack fixing our mower
Danielle and Cathy Rose harvesting kale
Now doesn't Dorothy look like she's having entirely too much fun!
 One of our volunteers, who also receives assistance from the Monroe Food bank to support his family's needs wrote us the following note:
"Thanks! It's a great thing the two of you have started here.

I look forward to the camaraderie and friendship that is developing amongst all of us at the same time that we are enjoying useful endeavors."
Our gardens would not be possible without the sponsorship of the Alpine Community Center. Through them, we have applied for all our grants. They have included us under the umbrella of their insurance policy and they found funding to run the pump at the Alpine Gardens. You can see the other projects they support, and get involved at: www.alpinecommunity.net/

Saturday, July 24, 2010

When to Harvest in the Sharing Gardens

This post is addressed to volunteers and anyone who is harvesting directly out of the Sharing Gardens for their own use.

Volunteers Cathy, Danielle and Llyn with bouquets of kale

With the warm, sunny weather, the Sharing Gardens are poised to burst into high productivity! The cool-weather crops: broccoli, peas and lettuce are just about done. We've already begun harvesting yellow summer-squash, zucchini and slicing cucumbers from the Monroe garden and have picked a few ripe pickling cukes and tomatoes from the Alpine garden. The modest trickle we're experiencing now promises to become quite a big harvest in the days and weeks to come.
Alpine Garden - August 13, 2009
Soon, the gardens will need to be picked at least twice a week to keep up with them. (Just to give you an idea of the volumes we're looking at, we have close to 200 tomato plants, about 20 summer squash/zucchini and over 30 cucumber plants!) 

We would appreciate it if all volunteers and anyone else harvesting from the gardens, would do their pickings on the weekends.   

This way, the gardens will be picked twice a week and we'll be sure we have enough produce to take to the Food Bank on Thursdays.  

Food Bank harvest - July 2010    
Good news: We've begun having conversations with the United Methodist Church about the possibility of having some canning parties in their commercial kitchen.  We'll keep you posted.

Our contact info is in the upper right-hand corner of this website.

Much Gratitude!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Monroe Food Bank Hours

This post covers the Food Bank hours in Monroe. 
Please consider sharing the surplus from your own garden.

2009 Tomato Harvest

Fresh produce is greatly appreciated by the people who come to the Food Bank. As your own gardens come into high production, and you find yourself with surplus, please consider dropping it off at the Food Bank. You can leave it under the carport, behind the church, Wednesday evenings or any time Thursday mornings.

Food Bank Hours:
Thursday mornings 10:00 - noon
Except 3rd Thursdays: 4:00 - 6:00 pm 
(followed by a free community dinner hosted by the Methodist Church - all are welcome)
Where:  648 Orchard St., behind the United Methodist Church, in Monroe

A special thanks to Loren Bowman for his many years of selfless service in support of this local effort to ease the lives of our neighbors in need.

(Volunteers enjoying a cookie break at the Monroe garden - above - Thanks Joanie!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Giving Blooms in Rural Gardens

By Bennett Hall, Gazette-Times reporter
Printed in the Corvallis Gazette Times - July 13, 2010

The Garden Next Door

WHAT: Alpine Sharing Garden
WHO: Run by Llyn Peabody and Chris Burns, with lots of community donations and volunteers
WHY: To provide a place for organic gardening and serve as a resource for people in need
FIND OUT MORE: www.thesharinggardens.blogspot.com
Chris Burns and his wife, Llyn Peabody, plant amaranth between rows of popcorn and sunflowers in the sharing garden they created in Alpine. (Scobel Wiggins/ Gazette-Times)

ALPINE — Community gardens have cropped up all over the place in recent years, allowing frustrated city dwellers to lease little patches of real estate where they can cultivate their green thumbs.
In rural south Benton County, they do things a little differently.

“We prefer to call it a 'Sharing Garden' rather than a community garden,” explained Llyn Peabody, who started the Alpine Sharing Garden in April 2009 with her husband, Chris Burns, and some of their neighbors in this Coast Range crossroads town.

“When people hear the term ‘community garden,’ they think of little plots you can rent,” Burns said. “This is one big plot, and everybody takes according to their need and gives according to their ability.”

They also call their 80-by-100-foot plot of land in community-owned Chapel Park a “stone soup”garden, after the folk tale about a traveler who cooks a hearty meal out of donated ingredients.
“Somebody might have some old tools they can bring or a tractor to do some tilling,” Peabody said. “Everybody puts something into the soup.”

The total operating budget for the first year was $1,300, with funds contributed by the Lions Club, the Corvallis Evening Gardening Club and other groups and individuals. The fencing material was donated, as were seed and vegetable starts and the labor to till the ground and plant the crops. Once people in the Alpine area heard about the project, Burns said, they were deluged with offers of help. “People just started coming out with stuff.”

Despite an unusually wet and cool spring, the garden has already produced an abundant harvest of early-season veggies this year, including broccoli, savoy cabbage, rainbow chard, kale, snap peas and iceberg lettuce.

Garden Bounty!
Other crops growing now for later harvest include tomatoes, potatoes, beets, basil, chili peppers, pole beans, sunflowers, pickling cucumbers and buttercup squash. The garden is all organic, and many of the plants are heirloom varieties. After harvest, some plants are allowed to bolt, producing seeds to be saved for next year.

This spring the couple expanded their idea to Monroe, where they launched a second sharing garden on donated land.

All the food is shared among the volunteers who contribute to the garden and its upkeep, as well as local people in need. No one is asked to pay for food, and any surplus is donated to the South Benton Food Bank.

“It’s terrific to get fresh produce because so much of what we get is canned or frozen,” said Mike Gibson of Linn Benton Food Share, which coordinates the network of emergency food pantries in Linn and Benton counties. “And it’s expensive to go to the store and buy that stuff. As a result, low-income people typically don’t get a lot of fresh produce.”

The need for food assistance has spiked since the recession began, Gibson said, with the number of people coming to mid-valley food banks up 16 percent over the last two years. The South Benton Food Bank currently serves an average of 30-40 families a week, up from 20-25 last year.
The sharing gardens, Burns and Peabody believe, can help in two ways — by donating surplus produce to folks in need, and by helping people learn to grow some of their own food.
“It’s tough to know where we’re going with the economy,” Burns said. “We need to build some self-reliance.”
Burns and Peabody have a blog, www.TheSharingGardens.blogspot.com, where they post news about the gardens and offer tips on organic gardening. Their latest project is trying to organize a community canning operation to help people preserve food for long-term storage.

“This is really our passion,” Peabody said. “Ultimately, we’d like to attract a benefactor to set up a permanent center, like a school, for organic gardening. “It’s kind of the Johnny Appleseed thing,” she added with a laugh. “(We want to) get these things started all over Oregon — and then the world!”

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Lettuce" Be Thankful

Summer weather has finally arrived and with it the garden is growing exponentially! We have an abundance of lettuce in Alpine and the earlier plantings are starting to bolt. Please come share in the harvest, keeping in mind that the gardens are feeding many people -- only take what you know you can use. The "Sharing Gardens" are grown "for those who have contributed in some way and for local families in need".

You may harvest any of the lettuce in Alpine, with the exception of the heads we are allowing to "go to seed." The seed lettuce is clearly marked with a small tipi made of bamboo (see picture to right).

If your own garden is beginning to produce surplus that you cannot use, please bring it to the Monroe Food Bank behind the Methodist Church -- 648 Orchard St in Monroe.

Food Bank Hours:
10:00 am to Noon on 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Thursdays
5:00 - 7:00 pm on 3rd Thursdays

Thank you!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Alpine Park Clean-up Day Re-scheduled

Since the weather was so damp for our clean-up day earlier in the spring, we didn't get as much done as we'd hoped so we're going to have another one.

 Alpine Park Clean-up
Saturday, July 31, 2010
8:30 - 12:30

We've come up with a list of projects and would appreciate it if you would let us know what you'd like to do so we are sure to have the right tools/materials. If you think of something that's not on the list, that would be great too.

Projects for the Park
  1. Prep and paint picnic tables
  2. Prep and paint bathroom door
  3. Prep and paint trash cans
  4. Re-hang basketball hoop
  5. Re-vitalize horse-shoe pits
  6. Clean bathroom (we're hoping it will be working again by then)
  7. Seal up starling nest-site above bathroom door
  8. Weed the fire-ring
  9. Chainsaw the log from last year's fire (you can take the wood home with you!)
  10. "Scalp" grass at base of fruit trees, lay down road-cloth and mulch 
  11. Bring a string trimmer or hand-mower to edge around trees, fences, buildings (We'll have one or two industrial mowers doing the bulk of the park)
If you are inspired to "just show up" I'm sure we can plug you into a project. Be sure to bring gloves, sun-hat, drinking water, snacks  and good cheer!

Though the "Sharing Gardens" coordinators are organizing it, this is about giving some TLC to the park itself, not the vegetable gardens.
Please contact Chris and Llyn 
(8:00 am - 8:00 pm) - (541) 847-8797

Restoring Alpine Chapel Park sign
P.S. Potluck Picnic in Alpine Park is on the following weekend - Sunday August 8 - 6:00 - sundown