October 19, 2012
By Sophia Kecskes
This 5,000-square foot piece of land was a paved parking three years ago, until the school teamed up with community partners Depave and the East Multnomah County Soil and Conservation District to transform the area. Now, two-thirds of the Vestal Community Garden is for community use, while the rest is reserved for the school.
The garden is maintained by Vestal's Garden Club, which has 24 members this year. Vestal School is one of the most diverse schools in the Portland Public Schools district. In a school of only about 420 kids, 21 languages are spoken by students. To embrace the various cultures of its student body, the garden features a spice garden, Korean squash, Vietnamese coriander, curry, and a salsa garden with tomatillos.
The garden is popular among students. "As the kids harvest more and see more things growing, the garden is gaining momentum," said Gretchen Rowland, a kindergarten teacher.
Photo courtesy of The Oregonian
Larry Bingham in The Oregonian