This project, funded through District “FISH” and community garden grants, involves a number of community partners; Friends of Portland Community Gardens, Hillsdale Community Church/United Church of Christ, and others. Dubbed the Crossroads Community Garden, it will be located in part of the back parking lot of the Church. While the garden will be open to all, the coalition is especially interested in empowering low-income residents to grow their own food. This vision was driven by the newly remodeled low income housing development, Stephens Creek, which is located next door to the Church.
The Church is also enthusiastic about developing an adjacent planting strip into a significant natural habitat for birds and other pollinators, flowering plants and native flora. Both the garden and the native habitat area will be entirely organic, thus reducing chemicals in the environment, and will help reduce runoff and soil erosion into Stephens Creek, a tributary of the Willamette River. The habitat area will serve as a native plant demonstration garden for all residents of SW Portland.
Before opening in the spring of 2016, work will include soil testing, irrigation installation, soil preparation, fence installation, raised bed creation, garden paths, creation of a bioswale between the garden and parking lot to filter runoff, developing educational signage, and native plant identifying tags. Plans call for recruiting a minimum of 12 residents of Stephens Creek Housing Development and the newly opened Habitat for Humanity development (located a few blocks away from the project), and 12 members of the surrounding neighborhood to work with volunteers in planting and harvesting vegetables for themselves and their families.