Portland is known for being environmentally friendly partly due to the city wide waste management program, but commonly overlooked are the individual efforts of the people. Over the past year, five North Portland residents have devoted their time to creating a small community garden.
Born and raised in Portland, Mary Jackson came up with the idea after her husband Dwight retired two years ago. It began as she decided to expand on her current vegetable garden to keep her husband occupied.
The couple, who have been married for 47 years stopped relying on the local grocery store for fresh produce, and began to use only what they were able to grow.
However, the yard work and the household chores became too much for the two to handle.
After enlisting a few of their neighbors and friends, the garden expanded into what it is today.
The fenced in area contains radishes, rhubarb, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, lettuce, peppers, an apple tree, and even a few pumpkins for Halloween. All of the produce is divided amongst the five individuals, and provides enough to last an entire year.
In addition to the fresh vegetables, some of the berries and other items are canned and turned into jam or pickles. Alan Porter, one of the five gardeners is unable to constantly check in on the garden, so he does his part by doing all of the canning.
“I have a yellow thumb. I’ve never been good at gardening. My forte is making jams, jellies, butters, pickles, you name it,” said Porter.
The progress this group has made encouraged all of them to rely solely on what they harvest in terms of produce. They hope to expand the garden further and in the future provide enough for their small neighborhood.