We just finished our eighth season, have a core group of 6-10 sharegivers who help us in the garden, deepening relationships with our neighbors, and we're still sending close to 5,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce -- free of charge--to two local food pantries. That's in addition to the sizable harvests our sharegivers take home each week to feed their families and can/dehydrate for winter-use.
Our website continues to have anywhere from 3,000 to 9,000 visits per month from all over the world from people interested in how our project works and how to grow food in the methods we use.
Oregon State University, with their commitment to 'service-learning' has sent us close to 75 students in 2016 for volunteer time in the gardens. Here's a delightful video made by Trent Toney, one of the OSU students, that gives you a glimpse into a typical service-learning day at the Gardens. Enjoy! LINK
This post highlights many of the people and organizations who help us be in service to the world. Enjoy!
Gradually, people in our small town are beginning to see the Sharing Gardens as a place to share their surplus - whether that be building materials, canning and garden-supplies, yard "waste" or fruits and veggies.
|Leaves, a renewable natural resource.|
|Grass, donated by neighbors, increases garden fertility.|
|Chris and David Crosby - unloading a composted horse manure delivery.|
|Michelle and her partner, Al convinced the people they do yard-work for, to buy this large wheelbarrow so they could bring us grass clippings once a week from a block away.|
Much of the organic material we receive is placed directly on the soil as a top-dressing or mulch. This feeds the worms, bacteria and fungi below. With the surplus, we build compost piles. The finished compost is used for planting in the spring. (Deep Mulch Method: LINK)
|Llyn layering grass and leaves in a compost-ring. Minimum 3-foot diameter.|
|Service-learning students help to turn our compost piles.|
|Finished compost can be added to potting soil, mixed into planting holes or used as mulch around plants.|
It takes a village...
There are many ways people support the sharing gardens. Here are some of this year's donors:
Our neighbors Donna and John Dillard have been very generous this year donating apples and pears, metal roofing, welded-wire fencing and all the firewood we could handle off a huge oak tree cut down in their yard. That will keep us warm for several winters!
|Eva (above), also brought many bushels of apples gleaned from her neighbor's tree.|
John Kinsey (left) has a backyard worm farm. He feeds his worms food scraps and coffee grounds. The worm-poo (castings) provides excellent soil-fertility. John donates worm castings and surplus coffee-grounds he collects weekly from a local coffee-shop. (Pictured with garlic seeds).
Steve Rose (right) has made many generous donations over the years --tomato starts, hundreds of gallon pots, bamboo, and more. This year he's provided us with spores from the Wine Red Stropharia mushrooms with which we have successfully inoculated a wood-chip pile. Delicious! Here he is giving a lesson in grafting fruit-trees. Steve is a fountain of knowledge and a real local treasure.
Monroe's United Methodist church had a long stretch of fence-boards they wanted removed. Here's Chris (above) de-nailing them for re-use as bird-houses and fencing around the gardens.
This year we extended our wire fence to encompass almost the full three acres of the property. We ran into some problems in late winter because the ground was too wet to pour cement for wooden corner posts. The gardens were open to local deer and we suffered some significant damage to our fruit-tree saplings and new spring crops. Our dear friend Rob (left) came to the rescue. He put in several long sessions with Chris, pounding metal posts and hanging the fence once we got the corner posts in. It was a huge help!
A recent student group leader wrote:
"Thank you so much for having us participate in the Sharing Gardens. Our group appreciated everything you and Chris taught us today! I want to thank you for everything you do in helping to make your community better each and every day. We had a blast today and we want to also thank you for welcoming us into your home and passing your knowledge to us!"
|Llyn's mom, Judy Peabody continues to make a large cash donation each year. Thanks, Mom! Sandy and Andy (not pictured) have also made annual donations for several years in a row.|
Lest we give the wrong impression that the Sharing Gardens is successfully supported by our community, financial donations in 2016 were $950. The balance of costs to run the garden come entirely out of our own funds. If you're inspired by what we do and wish to see it thrive and grow, please be generous. All donations are tax-deductible. (See our wish list for info on donations - Wish list LINK).
|Kat, Chris, Jim, Cindy and Rook. Just look at all those tomatoes!|
|Jim, Llyn, Chris, Rob, Sabine and Doreen surrounding part of a week's harvest. (Elisa, not pictured).|
|Sweet Meat squash. great for pies!|
|Striped German tomatoes (left) and Black Krims (rt.). We grew 87 plants this year - all Heirloom varieties so we can save our own seed.|
|A very good year for peppers!|
|Thank you for your support of the Sharing Gardens!|