It’s time! This Saturday is the big day: the grand opening of Helensview Community Garden at Helensview School. Let’s celebrate!
Here are the details about the event itself, and how to sign up for your own community garden plot.
Where: Helensview School, 8678 NE Sumner (map)
When: Saturday, March 9, 2013, at 12 noon to 2 PM
What: At noon we’ll have some food & socializing, while gardeners who have placed their reservation online will be invited to select their plots. At 12:30, there will be a few speakers, including City Commissioner Nick Fish. Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who helped at one of our work parties last fall, will also join us. At 1 PM, Oregon Tilth will provide a gardener training.
Caption: Final design and location of the Helensview Community Garden within the Helensview schoolyard
How to reserve a garden plot
It’s not too late! The approx 90′-by-125′ garden has enough room for about 30-40 plots available for rent by the public, including raised bed plots. Part of the garden — about 800 sq ft — is set aside for use by Helensview School and their students. About 20 gardeners — mostly from Sumner neighborhood itself — have already signed up online. Here’s how you can too:
- Go to the Garden Plot Request Form on the Portalnd Community Gardens website.
- Fill in the requested information, and then in the 1st Community Garden Selection field, select Helensview.
- Click Submit.
No payment is required when you reserve a plot online. Payment is handled at the garden opening or by mail after that. Garden rental rates range from $10 per year for a 5′-by-10′ plot up to $85 per year for a ‘double plot’ (20′-by-20′). Financial aid scholarships are available from Portland Community Gardens for those who qualify, and Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) has also approved $105 in scholarship funding to help Sumner residents who want to garden at Helensview.
Caption: Our November work crew in one of two raised beds
But wait, there’s more
Thanks to a tip off from Sandra Lefrancois at Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN), SAN has also obtained 50 packets of organic seeds for all gardeners at Helensview Community Garden, including the students of Helensview, from the gardening and CSA non-profit Grow Portland. Everything from Arugula to Turnips. (That’s right, no zucchini.) You can see a list of the seeds (PDF) on the Grow Portland website.
Next Saturday, March 16, will be the official orientation by Portland Community Gardens for Helensview gardeners. They will answer your questions, including information about how we can best design and fund the social area included at the north end of the garden. Several ideas have been floated already, including fruit trees, covered meeting area, and trellises for grapes and other climbers.
And finally, an avalanche of thank yous
This project moved much much faster than our neighborhood association ever dreamed. The stars aligned There are so many people to thank, so let’s get started:
- Kris Persson and Helensview School for setting on the right foot by being fair and open in setting their conditions for use.
- Superintendent Dr. Karen Fisher Gray and business manager Mary Larson at Parkrose School District, for encouraging the project, affirming their conditions, and then following through by negotiating terms.
- Parkrose School Board for their explicit approval in October 2011.
- Laura Neimi, director of Portland Community Gardens (a unit of Portland Parks and Recreation).
- Emily York in Commissioner Nick Fish’s office, coordinator for the 1,000 Gardens program.
- Lissa Adams of the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, and their grant approval committee.
- Lora Price and Friends of Porland Community Gardens, who offered guidance and reassurance, and then also provided a grant of Ames gardening tools.
- Susan Novrotsky, of the new Sumner Street Community Garden (nearby at NE 47th and Sumner), who let us ‘borrow’ wholesale from their grant application.
- Erica Martin, our intrepid steering committee chair, and steering committee members Isabel, Katana and Rochelle.
- Everyone who came out to help at the two work parties last fall, including Holly from Hands On Portland, and our ninja work party coordinator Kathy from Portland Community Gardens.
For further background about this project, see the previous articles: