Friday, September 28, 2007

Field Trip to Portland, OR

A few weeks back I visited Michelle Ratcliffe, Urban Sprouts’ co-founder, at her home in Oregon. Michelle is an inspiring crusader in the world of school gardens, farm to school, and family farm life! She showed me around her world in and outside of Portland.

First stop, straight from the airport, she whisked me away to the Learning Garden Laboratory, a project of Portland State University. Students from local public schools visit this urban farm and even have their own garden plots they care for throughout the year. In one very inspiring project, the garden offers paid internships for students’ adult family members. The family members cultivate a garden plot using traditional methods from their home countries in order to share their techniques with others. Family gardeners from Africa and the Caribbean had sown crops like hibiscus, okra, and squash, not in straight rows, but in curvy beds that spelled out the word L-O-V-E.

Next stop, we visited Jean's Farm, an urban farm tucked away in a residential Portland neighborhood. We turned from the city street down a dark, green tunnel of trees, only a small circle of light at its end. We emerged into a lush farm, surrounded by trees, with beds of diverse crops, a cooking area, and a cob oven!

Michelle also showed me around her rural life – living with her husband and baby on farm land about 20 mins outside Portland – and her urban life – working at Ecotrust in Portland’s hip and fun Pearl District. In her position as Farm-to-School Manager for Ecotrust, Michelle has been working to pass state legislation supporting school gardens and farm-to-school throughout Oregon. They’ve won lots of support, especially from the state Department of Agriculture. Also, she’s the Western Region contact for the National Farm-to-School network, so if you need support she’s a great resource!

For more photos from my trip, click here!




3 comments:

One Economy Intern said...

What a visionary program you have for afterschool learning! One Economy's Ziproad.org and TheBeehive.org may also be of help to supplement online what you are teaching outdoors in regards to botany, science, and so on. Please check out www.ziproad.org and www.thebeehive.org for more information!

Thanks
Taylor Dixon
Marketing Intern
One Economy Corporation

marguerite manteau-rao said...

Hello Urban Sprouts,

Happy Blog Action Day! In honor of Blog Action Day, I just started this new section in my blog, called Blogacts, for blogging + activism. I would like to invite you to be a guest blogger on my blog, and write about one of your blog acts, something you did or are planning to do, involving both writing in your blog, and following up with some kind of activist gesture in your community. Of course, I would link the post back to your site!

let me know if that is something you would like to do, I would certainly feel honored if you did.

marguerite
http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com

ahmet can said...

Thanks Best Regards
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