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

Meet the Founders - Contact Us

Llyn, with pie pumpkins 2012
Chris Burns











 Llyn Peabody and Chris Burns 
"Sharing Gardens" Coordinators
664 Orchard St.
Monroe, OR 97456
(541) 847-8797
ShareInJoy@gmail.com

"Home" for 3 and a half years. Main trailer on right. Guest room and storage on left.
In the Spring of 2009, at the same time we were getting the Alpine "Sharing Gardens" started, we decided to seriously downsize. We were spending about $800/month on rent and utilities (not to mention all the other costs of running a household). Our house was way too big for our needs and we felt disheartened at seeing all that rent money being spent for nothing tangible that could grow in any meaningful way. We put up some posters around town advertising for a new place to live. The first people to respond had the perfect situation: An 8' x 40' travel trailer - hooked up to plumbing, sewer, and electricity, in a little grove of trees overlooking 400 acres of farmland. It was a place we could rent for a small fee and several hours a month of work-trade. Free from the stress of meeting such a big monthly financial obligation we could slow down our pace of living and devote our energies to the "Sharing Gardens" and other service projects.
Our home as of Dec. 2012
We lived in that trailer for the first four seasons of the project and in Fall of 2012 we were given the opportunity to move into a 5-bedroom house, rent free. This allowed us to continue focusing our energies on growing food to share, instead of working at regular jobs. The new house is within walking distance of the Monroe gardens which means we spend less money on gas for transportation.

In the winter of 2010 we expanded from our Alpine site to a large piece of land in Monroe. Perfectly situated between the town's grade-school and the church that hosts our local food pantry, the site came with several out-buildings, fertile ground and a deep, delicious well that flows at over 40 gallons per minute. The owner, Chester Crowson loved our project and paid to have the pump in the well fixed and then covered utility costs. He allowed us to stay on the land rent-free with a season-to-season agreement that, if the land sold, we'd have till the end of the season to close down and find a different site. We weren't too concerned about the land selling because he was asking over $300,000 and, in these economic times that was a lot to ask for 3 and a half acres. Chester passed away in winter of 2012 and at first we wondered if we'd have to move but his grown children who live nearby were all in support of us continuing the project as long as possible.

Then, in summer of 2013, we were approached by Chester's oldest son, Jerry, who said that they'd taken care of everything else in their Dad's estate and, though they'd held off as long as possible, it was now time to sell off this last piece of land. Our hearts fell because we knew we couldn't afford to buy it, even with the significant inheritance left to us by Llyn's father. But we also knew that we'd been supported and guided along every step of the way with this project and, if it was time to move on that another door would open. Imagine our delight when we discovered that they were dropping the price by $180,000 making it possible for us to buy it outright.

The land comes with a farmhouse built in 1875 (the second oldest house in Monroe). At first we thought we'd just use it as a work-shop/studio as it had been abandoned for over seven years and vandals and weather had taken a heavy toll. But as we began to clean it up and fix the floors and roof, we found that it's "bones" were still really solid and we have since shifted into a full-scale renovation and expect to be able to move into it in Spring of 2014. The Sharing Gardens will continue but now we'll be able to feed even more people as we'll be on the land full-time and can put in orchards and berries and other perennials. Update: July 2015 -- We've been living on the land for a year now. We've thoroughly renovated the farmhouse inside, and out. Fruit and nut orchards have been planted and we've added a third greenhouse (made mostly from salvaged materials). Life is good!


The renovated 1875 farmhouse - Spring 2015

A rear-view of the farmhouse.
Our newest greenhouse - the Ark; built almost entirely from salvaged materials.
We live a simple life. We rise early and spend time with our spiritual studies; acknowledging all we have to be grateful for, getting quiet inside so we can listen for guidance. Most mornings we choose a simple project, preferring to get one or two things accomplished without haste or pressure, rather than facing a huge list of tasks that can never all get done in the time allotted. On any given day, we may not get much done but, like the Tortoise, we find that - "Slow and steady wins the race." Reflecting back we can see just how much we have accomplished unaccompanied by the sense of hurry and pressure that so many people experience, engaged in the usual busy, modern lifestyle. Afternoons usually include a nap, or at least a rest-time; a pause before taking on an afternoon project, going for a walk, computer-time or other household maintenance tasks. We have no TV but do enjoy watching DVD's on our lap-top as a way to unwind in the evenings.

Chris cutting up apples for applesauce. Vegetable juice cooling on railing.
We are ovo-lacto vegetarians, eating plant-foods, eggs and dairy products, all 'organic' - whenever possible. This is not a religion for us but we notice we feel better eating this way and know it helps us live lighter on the planet (and easier on the pocket-book!) Through the "Sharing Gardens" we are able to grow a high percentage of our food. Mid-August through Thanksgiving are the busiest times for us as we convert the harvest into stored goods that will see us through to next year's garden-season. In Autumn we also fill our pantry with gleaned fruits and nuts and wild mushrooms foraged in the woods near our home. We keep our two food-dehydrators going almost non-stop during this time and 'can' a variety of foods and juices.
Llyn with cabbage - now that's a lot of cole slaw!
These times we're living in are calling for people to develop the many basic skills our grandparents took for granted: growing and storing food, repairing things instead of just getting new ones, making and mending clothes and taking care of each other in a spirit of family, "neighborhood" and community. We are creating a welcoming home/school where people  teach and learn these kinds of skills and develop friendships based on the meaningful exchange of information and service. So far we have been happy to live in a "community of two" but now that we are settling into our forever-farm are open to having others come join us. If our life-style sounds like something that calls to you, please be in contact.

Llyn Peabody and Chris Burns
"Sharing Gardens" Coordinators
664 Orchard St.
Monroe, OR 97456
(541) 847-8797
ShareInJoy@gmail.com
www.thesharinggardens.blogspot.com/
Sharing Gardens - Mission Statement

Come be a part of the Sharing Gardens family!

6 comments:

  1. Hi, Karol in Eugene. I'm a member of the Eugene Area Gleaners and saw a mention of your group on their FB page. It's great what you're doing! I hope to do something similar in the near future.

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  2. Glad to hear from you, Karol. We didn't know we were linked to the Eugene Area Gleaners. It looks like 2013 is going to be a great year for apples, pears, plums and hazelnuts! Gleaning is such an important practice to keep all that amazing food from going to waste! Eugene Friendly Farmers has a garden that is similar to the Sharing Gardens; you might join their efforts till you get around to starting your own. We'd be happy to help, once you do decide to stick your shovel in the ground. Just be in touch! Llyn and Chris

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  3. Your work is making a lot sense not a lot$.

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  4. It is of great importance of this insensible world of human creation. We would love to learn from you and do our part in reversing the chaos in our body, our society and our planet.

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  5. We heard about you from Rob, guy with a basket of veggies hanging in front of him. We met him at Portland Saturday Market. Great guy, very warming personality.

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    1. Hi Jian - thanks for your comments of support. Yes! small actions done by many people around the planet can begin to turn the tide back to a more sustainable relationship between people and the Earth. If you haven't seen it already, you might enjoy this video-interview with us by Peak Moment TV. LINK: http://tinyurl.com/qgynsnc Be well - Llyn and Chris

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