For the past month Rory and I have been volunteering at the unique, working urban farm, Zenger Farm which is just down the street from where we’re staying. I randomly came across the farm when we first arrived in Portland and I was itching to check it out. I found out about a garlic harvesting party coming up and I jumped on the opportunity and I’m glad that I did because I’ve been going back every Tuesday and Friday since.
They have a great thing going at Zenger. The farm is a working urban farm on the outer SE side of Portland on 6 acres of farmland bordered by 10 acres of wetlands. They have a large educational component to the farm as well. They hold workshops, farm field trips and summer camp programs to teach youth and adults about the importance of food, farming, wetland conservation and environmental stewardship in fostering healthy urban communities. On Fridays they hold their Friday Afternoon Work Parties to get your hands dirty after the long week of working. They also have their Green Farmhouse that is solar powered, made of reclaimed materials and green building components and have rain water cisterns that they use for potable water in the house.
The farm is pretty cool but as always the people make the place and I have to say there are some pretty awesome people running the show at Zenger. I’ve been working with Farmer Chris & Sarah as well as the lovely Prairie & Sarah that are working on the farm through an Americorp program. Prairie was the first person I met at the farm and she is fantastic! Full of life, love and positive energy. She’s making it happen. Everyone else is excellent too – making it real easy to spend time there, basking in the sunshine, harvesting the fruits of labor and of course every farmer’s favorite – weeding. The trade works out well too – we can to take home fresh veggies twice a week!
Lastly, here’s a cool article featuring Zenger’s director, Jill Kuehler.