|Llyn, slicing Ropreco tomatoes for dehydration.|
The title of this post refers back to an entry we made in July of 2009
quoting our dear friend - Lodie as she remarked on how we at the
Sharing Gardens were, "real people, doing real things."! Well Lodie,
we're still going strong! Here's a newsy update about how some of our
partnerships with other agencies are faring; our property-tax exemption
appeal and an uplifting "Gallery of Givers"!
In June, of this year, the Sharing Gardens had its day in court,
building the case for a full exemption of property taxes for the land
and farmhouse that host the gardens. We needed to demonstrate that we
are a legitimate charity, serving the public. We are very pleased to report that we received a 50% exemption!
Magistrate Tanner was very honoring in her written "decision" and,
though she did not feel that the farmhouse qualified for exemption, all
of the land containing the Sharing Gardens, the orchards and
outbuildings was included. Thank you to the dozens of people who wrote letters for us to include in
our court materials. We feel that your heart-felt support really tipped
the scales in Tanner's decision. she said:
"Plaintiff's charitable work through the Sharing Gardens was well documented by Peabody's testimony and numerous written statements from local beneficiaries of the Sharing Gardens' output. The overwhelming community support for the Sharing Gardens is evidence that Plaintiff's principle of generosity is more than an aspiration; it is practiced."
Connecting with other agencies
: As we have mentioned in recent posts, our connections with other agencies is expanding and deepening. Here are some updates:
|OSU students transplanting starts.|
Oregon State University (OSU) Service Learning Projects
As many of our readers already know, the Sharing Gardens has been
offering opportunities for OSU students to complete class requirements
to do "service-learning" projects in the community. We began hosting one
to two groups per term in 2012 and have expanded our offerings to four
groups (of 4-6 students) every Fall, Winter and Spring! These students
can get so much done in the four hours they're here that we often have
to discourage our regular volunteers from coming for a week or two ahead
of time to be sure we have enough to keep them occupied! We bring students for service-learning from two classes : Geo 300
and Soil Sciences
June, we were approached by OSU's Soil Science class to see if we would
like to partner with them in submitting a grant proposal. The funds had
to directly benefit a project related to service-learning. All we had
to do was give the writer (Deanna Lloyd) some details about our project
and a list of how the money would be spent. She filled out the forms.
We got it!
|Koltavary GH, before dismantling.|
The grant went through without a hitch.
The $3,445 will cover the materials' costs for re-erecting a 50' x 30'
professional-grade greenhouse on SG grounds. The greenhouse framework
was donated by our neighbors - the Koltavary's. With the help of
volunteers we have already dismantled and moved the frame to our site.
The grant will cover the cost of the plastic "skin", lumber,
screws/fasteners, cinder-blocks and soil for raised beds. In short -
everything we need to expand the garden's capacity to grow food
year-round and provide "indoor" classroom space for rural-arts classes.
|Watering plants for sharing. The Sharing Gardens typically gives away over half of the 'starts' we grow.|
Calapooia Food Alliance:
|Cindy helps Bella with her gloves.|
A few weeks ago we were invited to give a
slide-show presentation at a neighboring town's "Munch Night". The CFA
coordinates a Farmer's Market and community-garden that combines your
typical "pea-patch" (separate family plots) with a sharing-type plot
that grows food collectively with several volunteers. The slide-show was
a big success -- the largest turn-out they'd ever had. Don Lyons,
president of CFA said, "Your visit was informative and inspiring. We
hope to continue to learn from you and that your visit will spread a web
of Sharing Gardens through the valley." We hope so too! Thanks to Gini
Bramlett who invited us to be presenters. Over the years she's been a
fairy-god mother of networking for the SG; helping us spread the word to
diverse and widespread communities of folks here in the Willamette
valley. Link to CFA
Monroe Health Clinic, Benton County Health Dept., Dr Kyle Homertgen and the Behavior-Change Class for Pre-Diabetics:
Monroe was host to its first series of classes to help participants learn and adopt
healthier lifestyle habits. Topics included: shifting to a more
plant-based diet, increasing exercise, drinking more water and weaning
off of diet- and regular-sodas. Participants were weighed and had
blood-pressure checks at each session so they could track their own
improvements. Each session also included time for them to share amongst
themselves about challenges and successes.
The final session
|"Detroit" beets. Yumm!|
was held at the Sharing Gardens. We gave them a brief tour and provided
the lettuce for a potluck salad bar. When Chris was asked how we deal
with pests in the garden he drew a metaphor between plant health and
human health. He said, "
We don't use any pesticides or herbicides in the
gardens. We nourish our plants from the ground, up; feeding the soil
using mulch and compost. Plants raised on a healthy diet are able to
withstand and resist invasions from bugs and diseases. This is as true
for people as it is for plants. A healthy diet creates a healthy body
and a strong immune system."
Dr. Kyle Homertgen, DO
is a family medicine physician who focuses on
plant-based nutrition for the prevention and reversal of chronic
disease. Dr. Kyle encourages all of his patients to eat a local,
nutrient-dense, plant-based diet. He tells his patients that they can
"pay the farmer or pay the doctor," and that their most important form of
health care is what they decide to put into their bodies.
To borrow from
Michael Pollan, it should be whole, not too much, and mostly plants.
If you are curious to learn more about Dr. Kyle Homertgen and his philosophy of medicine, here is a link to his site.
|Sabine, Chris and Cathy weeding.|
Ten Rivers Food Web (TRFW):
|Now, doesn't that look nice?|
partnership that has begun to take root and blossom is with Ten Rivers
Food Web. This is a local non-profit agency that works as an advocate
between small-scale, local farmers and consumers
markets, their annual Fill Your Pantry event, and Oregon’s Fruit and
Vegetable Prescription Program (providing coupons and support to connect
low-income folks with fresh, local foods). Their website
has many links to resources for locally produced food.
Another great season of giving.
After our volunteers (share-givers) have harvested the food, and taken
what they can use for their families, the rest is distributed weekly to
(primarily) two local food pantries: the South Benton Food Pantry and
Junction City's Local Aid. We don't have the season's total from SBFP
but we delivered 1,592 pounds
to JCLA. We are very grateful to Dave Cook for faithfully driving our delivery to them each week.
Gallery of Givers:
2015 season is basically done. We're still harvesting a trickle of
tomatoes from our greenhouse plants each week but that too will soon
end. It's been a great year.
|Sifting manure to add to potting soil and transplant-holes.|
|Adri and Sabine planting beans.|
|Seed-planting with OSU-Sam|
|Maiya weeding in the greenhouse.|
|Potato planting in Spring.|
|...and Fall potato harvesting.|
|Sabine and Elisa transplanting melons.|
|...which grew into these beauties! 2015- A great year for melons.|
|Adding lots of straw-mulch...|
|...leads to bountiful harvests and fewer weeds.|
|Heather - our summer intern from OSU and Calla in the beet-patch.|
|Gini making compost "tea".|
|The McDougals (Chris' daughter and family) enjoying garden-time together, potato-hunting.|
|Re-purposing gallon pots to use as collars around young plants.|
|Chris with grand-daughter Calla, picking beets.|
|Guys in the potato-field.|
|Gals in the beet-patch|
|OSU students "turning" compost piles.|
|OSU gals picking Scarlet Runner Beans|
|Students, shelling beans.|
|Picking flowers is a favorite task for young and 'young-at-heart'.|
|Elisa and Maiya bring the bounty to the Food Pantry next door.|
|Fruit smoothies with kale at snack-time. Even the little kids liked 'em!|
|Llyn picking tomatoes in our newest greenhouse. The canopy is formed from the leaves of just two gourd plants held up with netting. Better than "shade-cloth", this natural covering kept the greenhouse from becoming too hot on those record-setting, scorcher-days in July and August. We'll make rattles and bird-houses from the dried gourds.|
We are grateful for another wonderful year. Hard to believe that we'll be starting seeds again in about ten weeks! We're glad for the slow-down of winter; time for indoor-creativity and a slower pace. Thanks to everyone for your participation and support. Llyn and Chris
The Sharing Gardens is a non-profit and tax-exempt
organization. We exist entirely
through donations. If you have found benefit from our project or our
site, please consider making a donation through PayPal. (Click