Springdale Job Corps: Growing Gardens and More

Springdale Job Corps: Growing Gardens and More

Portland is a hotbed of culinary delights.
These culinary delights come from world-renowed chefs, top bakeries and patisseries, pubs and breweries, coffee producers and much more.

However it arrives at a Portland foodie’s mouth, however, it comes from one place – a garden or a farm.

In addition to being rich in, well, everything else – Portland metro area has a beautiful agricultural businesses that grow and flourish. How does Springdale Job Corps fit in, you ask?

Springdale Job Corps students have access to fruit trees, berry bushes, and farmers markets. On their center, they’ve taken it a step further and partnered with the OSU Master Gardner’s program and the local community colleges to develop their own garden in which to draw from.

Everything from herbs to veggies to composting – students are taking control. They built a composting bin and are learning how to lay soil so it is most fertile as well as till, plant and maintain a working garden, year round.

To assist the community and learn a little more, students and staff assisted the Sauvie Island Center, a nonprofit center located on the idyllic Sauvie Island in Portland, OR which is owned and operated by the Metro government as a park and nature reserve. The organic farmers that live next to the land and were prior owners used to provide their home and farm for education, but it became too much and they bequeathed that land to the nonprofit. Staff plant, weed and provide year-round education on food to farm economics as well as teaching low-income children where food comes from and about nutrition.

Springdale students gave an afternoon to help in the grow lunch garden, where kids get to plant and learn. They weeded, laid path, and helped compost waste. More got done in one afternoon, said the staff, than the week before. Students were able to sample fresh tomatoes, bachelor’s buttons, basil, and fresh carrots. At the end of the day, dirty, tired and full – all students reported having more fun than they had in a long time, and wanting to come back again!

One student reported gaining a better understanding of where her salad comes from, what it takes to get it there and how important nutrition is.

Our culinary delights at Springdale are more than just good food – they are good nutrition, good decision making and hard work.

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