In A Nutshell:
A progressive program accomplished in a supportive and loving environment for adults of all mental diversities that aims to establish careers and expression in farming, and the arts and to provide a place for community.
Why They Rock:
- North Portland Farm: urban organic farming that operates a bike-delivered CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Raise chickens for eggs, goats for fiber, vegetables for sale, provides community garden space for rent, and hosts workshops.
- Monthly events include lectures, concerts, and workshops that are establishing the studio and farm as an cultural center for the community.
- The artists and farmers of Project Grow do earn paychecks from art sold and contributions to the farm.
Goats, pottery, music events – Project Grow casts a huge cultural net providing options for adults with developmental disabilities to flourish and create a sense of community…50Give enjoyed the goodness of the their number one program: the people.
The open-minded and joyful Emese (Community Leader) started the day with a staff and participant meeting which allows everybody to have an equal say on all topics, and we were informed with startling news – the raccoons got in the duckie cages (close your eyes), although the last of duckies eggs were used to bake a wonderful coffee cake (circle of life)! I was ready to get dirty and was sent to help the hard-working volunteer Peter move mulch on the Annex Lot Farm (check out the cool plot renderings). After dominating with a wheelbarrow in the morning sun, Peter showed me a great spot for lunch…I bought a tasty sandwich for only $3 (I need to hitch this local sub shop to my Honda Element)!
Following a relaxing meal and talking life with Peter, I headed to the studio to assist with art projects. Kind Jen (Art Specialist) let me help a participant artist get her exercise with her walker, who then should me the ropes on her sewing project. The day was coming to a close and I got worked in a fun game of Skip-Bo…makes UNO look very JV.
Portland hospitality started back with my connections at McMinnville, Oregon – years ago I coached with my buddy Eric at Linfield College and his generous parents Peter and Harriet provided an awesome bedroom and Charlie – coolest dog that can camouflage into carpet (photos tell the doggie tail). I was a street away from great eats that included: Cha! Cha! Cha! Mexican Taqueria (whole wheat shredded chicken burrito bliss), Jim and Patty’s Coffee (coffee cakes stuffed with sour cream), and Bagel Land (double cheese with loads of pepper). I also was able to squeeze in a run in at gorgeous Washington Park which ended with tranquil meditation in their green lush amphitheater.
The name Project Grow is a great description of what they really do: ongoing support moving people forward in a positive manner – farming, art, and events are the side-show. The staff has cultivated a loving atmosphere which is the key ingredient to keep this beautiful organization growing.
“Now I look beyond what I can’t do and focus on what I can.” Robert M. Hensel