Going beyond school gardens

A new Portland-area nonprofit called Schoolyard Farms launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo this month to raise money for a pilot farm at Candy Lane Elementary School in Milwaukie.

Schoolyard Farms hopes to go beyond the school garden movement by planting small farms of one acre or more on school grounds, raising food to serve in each school’s cafeteria. “Childhood obesity is at an all-time high and, yet, children are going hungry in Oregon,” says Courtney Leeds, director and founder of Schoolyard Farms.

The new group hopes to raise $17,000 over Indiegogo by Dec. 6.

After the startup phase, the organization hopes to generate revenue by selling produce grown on the farm and host programs such as summer camp, after-school cooking and gardening classes.

For more information:

Enjoy the savanna

The local Sierra Club chapter is leading an outing to the White Oak Savanna in West Linn on Saturday, November 16.

A major citizen campaign has resulted in the preservation of 14 acres at the site, and the nonprofit Neighbors for a Livable West Linn hope to raise $1 million to acquire another 5.7 acres. That would allow the “daylighting” of Bernert Creek, which was channeled underground in 1975, a project that should attract more vertebrate species to the savanna.

To join the outing, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out the for details.

Calling all ecopoets

Nature writers of all levels are invited to a poetry workshop in the Tillamook State Forest on Sunday, November 17th.

Local poet and writing instructor Oscar Oswald will lead the workshop in the Wolf Creek Conservation Area, focusing on poetry and “ecopoetics.” The workshop will feature reading and writing, offering participants a chance to share their work with other creative minds, and discuss the work of Gary Snyder and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The event is sponsored by the North Coast State Forest Coalition. For more information or to register, email coalition organizer Chris Smith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Industry-friendly alternative to LEED wins federal blessing

Portland’s Green Building Initiative scored a coup for its industry-financed alternative to the LEED green-building rating system. In late October, the U.S. General Services Administration formally recommended that each federal agency choose either the Leadership in Energy and the Environment (LEED) system, or Green Building Initiative’s rival Green Globes system to certify new green buildings or retrofits of existing buildings.

In the past, the GSA only recommended LEED to guide and certify environmental improvements at federal facilities.

Now GSA is recommending that agencies choose LEED or Green Globes, and stick with that system for their facilities.

That should be a huge lift for Green Globes, a small nonprofit. The timber, chemical and plastics industries have funded and nurtured Green Globes, viewing it as more favorable to use of their products than LEED, which is run by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Environmental groups accuse the Green Building Initiative of greenwashing, and say it is less rigorous than LEED.

(For related story, see p. 4.)

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