Food and Opportunity in Central NE Neighborhoods
Today as part of the Hands on Portland MLK Weekend of Service, I had the chance to volunteer in the learning garden at NAYA (the Native American Youth and Family Center) not too far from my home in the Cully Neighborhood. In addition to some beautiful sunny time digging in the dirt and meeting new friends and neighbors, I enjoyed the chance to visit NAYA for the first time and learn about their gardens and other programs. Here is a lovely article by Elizabeth Hoover with background photos from this past growing season, plus information on an emerging project, the Intertribal Gathering Garden which will be over 36,000 square feet of the new 25 acre Cully Park being built near NE 72nd Ave. north of Killingsworth.
This is just one of the many exciting things going on in this part of Portland. On December 10th, a few Kitchen Commons folks attended a visioning session for the Living Cully Plaza, which thanks to the efforts of a coalition of neighborhood nonprofits and a successful crowdfunding campaign will be transforming a former strip club into a community resource. At the event, we brainstormed ideas for business and services we’d like to see in the building, including ideas for healthy food and community kitchens.
Kitchen Commons also recently learned that we will be supported in bringing a multi-lingual community kitchen to the Cully Neighborhood this summer, thanks to a grant from Central Northeast Neighbors. We will have at least three cooking sessions over the summer and fall, supported by produce from the Oregon Food Bank Learning Garden and volunteer language learners from People Places Things. Sound like fun? We are looking for community leaders for the group and anyone who wants to cook, eat, learn and share together. The grant will also support the Accessible Cooking Group at the Hollywood Senior Center.
I feel honored to be part of such an engaged neighborhood with many people and organizations coming together to create a healthy and vibrant community for all, including through celebrating and reconnecting with the history, plants and people of the land where we live. I know I have a lot more to learn and many people to meet as we work together in the garden, the kitchen and beyond.