Grow Portland helps Irvington Village grow
(09-2022) With Grow Portland’s help and generous donations from the Portland Clean Energy Community Fund, AARP, and East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), participants living at Providence ElderPlace PACE Irvington Village built an outdoor community.
ElderPlace Irvington Village has multiple social rooms throughout its 104-unit, 3-level building, offering the residents who live there many opportunities to get out of their studio apartments and congregate. Whether reading or talking quietly in the library, watching a movie on a big screen TV, or playing a competitive game of Bean Bag Baseball, these social rooms gave the residents a chance to connect.
When the pandemic shut these social rooms down, Life Enrichment Coordinator Aley Hasson saw a need. She knew the residents needed an outdoor space where they could hang out, get fresh air, and a reprieve from the isolation of quarantines, but Aley wanted more than benches on a patio.
“I wanted a space for participants where they could invest their time and create meaning by nurturing plants and working together to feel good about creating something beautiful,” says Aley.
That they can now eat the fruits of their labor is icing on the cake.
Aley’s search led her to Grow Portland, a non-profit focused on “fostering connections to food, nature, and each other.” Grants from the Portland Clean Energy Fund, AARP Oregon, and EMSWCD provided the funds needed to launch their project: helping the residents build an accessible, multi-season, holistic natural garden. A garden tended by any interested residents and enjoyed by all.
Several months after volunteers cleared the courtyard to make room for the garden, Irvington Village residents are reaping the rewards. The space, now bordered by beautiful, raised beds, is green with healthy plants bearing ripening vegetables. The accessible beds allow residents to tend the gardens and harvest the produce themselves. Weekly educational programs by Grow Portland teach them what it means to grow a holistic natural garden, what grows best in their area, and how to harvest and plan the next season’s crop. Best of all, it has created a welcoming spot for residents to gather outside, socialize, and enjoy Portland’s beautiful summer evenings.
What PACE participants have to say about the garden:
“It’s enjoyable, I’m just glad to be a part of it.” Patty Rauch
“it’s very generous for them to come every week.” Michael Moll “Our grow Portland community garden is letting us thrive here with their education and weekly support sessions.” Julie Goss