Give the power and joy of food this season!

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Growing Gardens
Service Member Carla leads a classroom cooking lesson at Scott Elementary.

Growing Gardens

Established in 1996, Growing Gardens’ mission is to promote home-scale organic food gardening to improve nutrition, health, and self-reliance while enhancing the quality of life and the environment for individuals and communities in Portland, Oregon. We organize hundreds of volunteers to build organic, raised-bed vegetable gardens in backyards and schoolyards. Through our Lettuce Grow program, we provide educational and gardening experiences to people who are incarcerated in the state of Oregon. Our Youth Grow program develops on-going partnerships with low-income school communities to build strong school garden programs that will encourage the next generation of veggie eaters and growers to be healthy. Our programs improve nutrition and decrease the risk of food insecurity by teaching children lessons about where food comes from, the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, and how to grow food through fun, hands-on activities. We offer schools technical support and resources as well as in-class garden experiences, after-school garden clubs, and summer camps.

In past years, having a FoodCorps Service Member helped Growing Gardens reach students and communities in ways that our staff could not do. Today, we have increased our grant funding and developed our programming to allow us to provide hands on education and community involvement to more schools than we had in previous years. For this reason, and because of FoodCorps’ refined service model of incorporating more intentionalized work in the cafeteria, we’ve re-envisioned the ways that FoodCorps’ mission and programming brings value to Growing Gardens. During the coming school year and beyond, we envision that having a FoodCorps service member will allow schools that are new to partnering with Growing Gardens the opportunity to have a FoodCorps service member help the school to focus for 2-4 years on a schoolwide culture of health that they otherwise might not have the bandwidth to work on. We envision carefully selecting schools that are motivated and interested in participating in and supporting the FoodCorps service member to help the school community do this exploration.

The FoodCorps service member at Growing Gardens will be serving in depth at 1 school. During the 2022-23 school year, they will serve at Harvey Scott K-5, a dual immersion, Spanish-English school. At Scott School, the service member will work with the school community to meet the needs and interests of community members there as they relate to FoodCorps’ and Growing Gardens’ missions. This will be the 5th year with Scott school. The service member will continue with school day, after school and cafeteria based (if possible) programming. In addition they will also work with Harvey Scott School staff to identify a plan moving forward to assess their readiness to graduate from having a FoodCorps service member there. Our goal at Scott will be to have the service member work to help the school integrate the garden and healthy meals even more into the school’s own culture and to assess what sort of programming the school would like to take on and continue after graduating from having a FoodCorps Service Member. In addition, we plan to utilize the service member’s time and talents to support the Youth Grow program’s nutrition based programming in general. This might include tasting tables either in the cafeteria, or food pantry at Scott, cooking demos using a combination of fresh garden produce and food pantry staples, or the support of production of take home cooking kits for families.

Preferred Qualifications

  • A love of working with children and some experience doing so (doesn’t need to be in the classroom)
  • A comfort with speaking in Spanish and English (preferably fluent in both)
  • Community building
  • Good at listening to and connecting with a diverse array of people
  • Commitment to being an anti-racist in their service
  • Basic gardening knowledge
  • Openness to learning and being mentored to develop and increase teaching skills

Established in 1996, Growing Gardens’ mission is to promote home-scale organic food gardening to improve nutrition, health, and self-reliance while enhancing the quality of life and the environment for individuals and communities in Portland, Oregon. We organize hundreds of volunteers to build organic, raised-bed vegetable gardens in backyards and schoolyards. Through our Lettuce Grow program, we provide educational and gardening experiences to people who are incarcerated in the state of Oregon. Our Youth Grow program develops on-going partnerships with low-income school communities to build strong school garden programs that will encourage the next generation of veggie eaters and growers to be healthy. Our programs improve nutrition and decrease the risk of food insecurity by teaching children lessons about where food comes from, the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, and how to grow food through fun, hands-on activities. We offer schools technical support and resources as well as in-class garden experiences, after-school garden clubs, and summer camps.

In past years, having a FoodCorps Service Member helped Growing Gardens reach students and communities in ways that our staff could not do. Today, we have increased our grant funding and developed our programming to allow us to provide hands on education and community involvement to more schools than we had in previous years. For this reason, and because of FoodCorps’ refined service model of incorporating more intentionalized work in the cafeteria, we’ve re-envisioned the ways that FoodCorps’ mission and programming brings value to Growing Gardens. During the coming school year and beyond, we envision that having a FoodCorps service member will allow schools that are new to partnering with Growing Gardens the opportunity to have a FoodCorps service member help the school to focus for 2-4 years on a schoolwide culture of health that they otherwise might not have the bandwidth to work on. We envision carefully selecting schools that are motivated and interested in participating in and supporting the FoodCorps service member to help the school community do this exploration.

The FoodCorps service member at Growing Gardens will be serving in depth at 1 school. During the 2022-23 school year, they will serve at Harvey Scott K-5, a dual immersion, Spanish-English school. At Scott School, the service member will work with the school community to meet the needs and interests of community members there as they relate to FoodCorps’ and Growing Gardens’ missions. This will be the 5th year with Scott school. The service member will continue with school day, after school and cafeteria based (if possible) programming. In addition they will also work with Harvey Scott School staff to identify a plan moving forward to assess their readiness to graduate from having a FoodCorps service member there. Our goal at Scott will be to have the service member work to help the school integrate the garden and healthy meals even more into the school’s own culture and to assess what sort of programming the school would like to take on and continue after graduating from having a FoodCorps Service Member. In addition, we plan to utilize the service member’s time and talents to support the Youth Grow program’s nutrition based programming in general. This might include tasting tables either in the cafeteria, or food pantry at Scott, cooking demos using a combination of fresh garden produce and food pantry staples, or the support of production of take home cooking kits for families.

Preferred Qualifications

  • A love of working with children and some experience doing so (doesn’t need to be in the classroom)
  • A comfort with speaking in Spanish and English (preferably fluent in both)
  • Community building
  • Good at listening to and connecting with a diverse array of people
  • Commitment to being an anti-racist in their service
  • Basic gardening knowledge
  • Openness to learning and being mentored to develop and increase teaching skills