Food Bank garden feeds community

August 16, 2017 - garden totes

The garden behind FISH Food Bank on Tucker Road, subsequent to Spirt of Grace Church, fulfills a simple, nonetheless important, mission: To yield clients with equal entrance to fresh, healthful furnish and learn a village how to grow their possess food.

And a garden has stretched extremely over a years interjection to Spirit of Grace’s joining as a assemblage to tackle craving in a Gorge.

During final week’s FISH house meeting, Garden Coordinator Susan Randolph, volunteers Dan Ball, Dennis Carlson and Becky Montgomery, and Spirit of Grace Pastor David King took house members on a debate of a garden to explain a mission, flourishing techniques, training opportunities and a continual need for some-more help.


Photo by Trisha Walker

FISH Garden Coordinator Susan Randolph conducts debate during a Food Bank garden.

Randolph pronounced that surveys uncover one in 5 Gorge residents skip meals; FISH Board President Marianne Durkin pronounced a 4 food banks in Hood River County — located in Hood River, Odell, Parkdale and Cascade Locks — see a total normal of 400 families any month, and a food bank garden helps accommodate demand.

Randolph common statistics from a garden’s 3 years of prolongation in and with FISH: In 2015, approximately 500 proffer hours harvested 2,581 pounds of food from a garden; in 2016, some-more than 1,000 proffer hours brought in 2,131 pounds, and so distant this year, over 300 proffer hours have so distant brought in some-more than 400 pounds of food — “but we’ve frequency harvested anything yet,” she said.

What’s grown in Hood River’s FISH garden reflects a needs of clients.

“Everything we grow goes to a food bank,” Randolph said, gesturing to a 800 block feet space. “The clients unequivocally are a customers. We grow food for them.”

Staples like onions and potatoes are renouned though mostly in brief supply, so volunteers grow those staples. There was also a ask for “greens and salad stuff,” Randolph said, so they’re also flourishing tomatoes, peppers, kale, chard, broccoli and cucumbers, mostly interjection to a seed concession by a Rockford Grange this year.


Photo by Trisha Walker

Fresh furnish lines a shelves of a FISH Food Bank.

Another benefit: Everything harvested is delivered directly to a food bank shelves.

“Growing furnish right here on site means we don’t have to ride anything; we can collect accurately when it’s ripe, and can brand a food clients like, what’s prolific for us to grow.”

Ultimately, Randolph envisions a garden with “lots of perennials and produce, (where) people come and graze and see how easy it is to grow their possess food.”

The garden and food bank kitchen also offer as preparation centers. It’s now an OSU Master Gardener project, as Randolph recently finished training. This will move some-more volunteers into a garden, she said, as good as yield one-on-one training opportunities for those wishing to enhance their possess flourishing skills.

Everyone from propagandize groups to medical professionals have come to a garden to learn about a module and work. Ball pronounced immature people are quite encouraged.

“Fewer and fewer people are concerned in agriculture,” he said, “and it’s good to know where food comes from.”

Plus, younger appetite “adds to a fun. But they’re also training something valuable,” he added. “We yield uninformed furnish for a community, though we learn a lot, too.”

Randolph pronounced that harassment control has been an phonetic though outrageous aspect of her job.

“I’ve schooled a lot about gophers, slugs and aphids this year,” she said.

The garden’s furnish grows alongside flowers in an bid to revoke chemical use, Randolph said, as good as to attract pollinators. It’s operative — so distant this year, she’s usually had to request “a little bit of fatty water” to keep pests during bay.

Buckwheat also takes adult a entertain of a garden, another healthy harassment controller that also feeds a soil, pronounced Carlson.

“I’m perplexing to be as on-going as we can (in a garden),” pronounced Randolph. “It’s also because people are meddlesome — we’re all training together, and we can barter ideas.”

While a garden gets most of a attention, a food bank kitchen also plays a purpose in education. Any hunger-focused organisation can use a trickery — kitchen and assembly room — for free, pronounced Spirit of Grace Pastor David King, indicating to a OSU Food Preservers program, that meets during a food bank on Thursdays, and 4-H groups.

Randolph’s position is paid for by Spirit of Grace, who also donated a land on that a new FISH building sits. The garden is most comparison than a 3 years it’s been used in and with a benefaction food bank, though it’s strech is most broader interjection to a updated food bank facility.


Photo by Positive Negatives

FISH Food Bank house members and garden volunteers debate a garden, led by Garden Coordinator Susan Randolph, distant left, on a new summer day. Volunteers and donations to a garden are acquire and needed.

The garden is a method of Spirit of Grace, explained King; a assemblage has done craving issues their emanate and has grown food in support of FISH for a past 10 years. It’s what led to a concession of land for a new FISH site, pronounced Randolph, and because a church continues to work behind a stage in a garden.

While a FISH house concentrates essentially on collecting and distributing food, “as a church, we find ways to assistance addition that,” pronounced King.

FISH and a garden work in tandem, nonetheless with their possess sets of helpers. Garden volunteers come frequently to lift weeds and collect produce, with Spirit of Grace “keeping it all together,” Randolph said.

They combine with a accumulation of organizations, including The Next Door, Klahre House, OSU Master Gardeners, Arts in Education in a Gorge, and church and propagandize groups — from all over a state.

“It’s unequivocally cold to see all of this come together in 3 years,” she said. “It started with organizations all doing their possess thing, and we feel like we’ve all come together to emanate a aloft purpose.”

Randolph calls a work in a garden “a incessant goal to feed people,” and as such, she has many wish list equipment and ubiquitous needs. FISH has an online giving system, pronounced King, though those who wish to give to a garden are asked to mail checks — designated to a garden account — to Spirit of Grace Church, 1140 Tucker Road, Hood River, OR 97031 or FISH Food Bank, 1767 12th Street No. 147, Hood River, OR 97031. Gardeners with additional furnish are also speedy to dump off donations in a receptacle box located in front of a food bank.

Those meddlesome in volunteering or donating equipment on a garden wish list should hit Randolph during 339-368-0233 or

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