Greg Baartz-Bowman loves living in Milwaukie, and he wants to keep spreading the love. That’s why he founded the Milwaukie Film Festival several years ago and the reason he wants to keep bringing fun, family-friendly activities to the city.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Donna Smith, middle, tells Greg Baartz-Bowman and Robyn Streeter about the benefits of growing kale.From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 19, the Milwaukie Film Festival will present Yard to Table, showing attendees how to dig, plant and harvest during a series of afternoon workshops. That evening will bring Community Film Night to town, featuring a group of short films around the theme of yard to table. All the Saturday activities will take place in the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge, across the street from Milwaukie City Hall.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Karin Power holds Louisa Lim, one of her chickens named for female NPR correspondents.The fun continues from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Easter Sunday, April 20, with Tour de Coops, a tour of Milwaukie-area chicken coops.

“This is the town I want to live in, and I want it to have culture and livability. I also want to help the community have an active Main Street. This is the type of event the city deserves,” Baartz-Bowman said.

Although the entire day’s events are free, donations are always welcome, and they will help fund similar activities in the future, he said.

Grow a garden

The first workshop starting at 2 p.m. will feature Donna Smith and Robyn Streeter who own Your Backyard Farmer.

“Someone who has not had a garden space or has a current one that is neglected, we will show them how to get one up and running so they can grow their own vegetables,” Smith said.

The two women will talk about the differences between growing produce in raised beds vs. in-ground beds.

Baartz-Bowman said that he met Smith on a bike ride for Bike Milwaukie, a group he co-founded with Matt Menely in the summer of 2011.

The biking group rode to Smith’s home at Harvey Street and Southeast 37th Avenue in Milwaukie, where the participants saw the Urban Farm Center in action.

“A lot of people walking through the neighborhood want to know what this is about. It looks residential, but in the back it is all farmed, and Robyn and I do it together,” Smith said.

The two women said Your Backyard Farmer has four purposes.

“We teach classes and do home consulting, and we also have a Community Supported Agriculture program,” Streeter said.

“Along with our CSA we sell produce to restaurants, including Cha Cha Cha in Milwaukie,” Smith said.

What Streeter likes best about an event like Yard to Table, is the fact that it is something for the entire family to do.

“Kids can be involved and, after all, everybody eats. Food is the one thing we all have in common,” she said.

Check out their website at

Planting tips, seed exchange

Next up on the agenda will be a workshop taught by Sarah Smith, a landscape designer based in Milwaukie.

Her talk will focus on growing “ornamental edibles,” which she described as “plants that are not necessarily grown just for their calorie and vitamin content. My talk will appeal to the novice gardener just getting started with growing their own food, all the way through to an experienced gardener looking for a way to squeeze even more edibles into their existing gardens.”

She also will offer tips on lower-maintenance edibles, and growing veggies and herbs where one would traditionally grow annual flowers. She will share her favorite shrubs and trees with delicious fruits, and give tips on how to choose what to grow.

Smith added, “Growing vegetables and edible plants can be a lot of work. I want to share my experience with making the growing of food easier and help new gardeners to be more successful and experience the true pleasure in growing, harvesting and eating homegrown fruits, herbs and veggies.”

Read her garden blog at, and visit her community garden website at

Gwenn Laubach Alvarez will present a workshop about harvesting at 4 p.m., speaking about planting native species and environmental harmony, Baartz-Bowman said.

Several activities will be concurrent with the workshops, including a seed share and seed exchange from 2 to 4 p.m. and weeding and planting veggies in the raised bed under the flagpole at City Hall.

“We need lots of kids and young people to show up for the planting,” Baartz-Bowman said. He added that local artists have donated artwork that fits with the theme of yard to table, and he will be selling raffle tickets for those artworks throughout the day and into the evening.

Film festival

The evening portion of Yard to Table will offer short films at the Masonic Lodge. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the free film festiva begins at 7 p.m.

The highlight of this event will be the debut screening of a 20-minute portion of “Plant This Movie,” from Portland filmmaker Karney Hatch, and featuring Smith and Streeter.

“He traveled for two years all over the world, brought the imagery back, and put the film together to show what urban agriculture is in all countries. This is a very important film, as he shows people working in urban agriculture, from rooftop gardens to full-fledged farms like ours,” Smith said.

She added, “People need to see that this is really happening. When we started our farm in 2006, people thought it wouldn’t last.”

“And the reason it has lasted is because people like you wouldn’t stop,” Baartz-Bowman said.

Tour de Coops

Karin Power is the host for the community film night and said she was thrilled when Baartz-Bowman asked her to emcee the event.

“One of the things that drew me to Milwaukie was our large yard sizes, perfect for gardening and growing your own food, yet only 15 minutes to downtown. I’ve just started a backyard garden this year, so I’m looking forward to learning more from our resident Milwaukie pros, Donna, Robyn, Sarah and Gwenn, and then getting together in the evening to watch ‘Plant this Movie’ and other shorts,” she said.

Power is also behind the Tour de Coops, taking place Sunday, April 20.

“We’re excited to feature some terrific neighborhood chicken coops across town. Our tour will feature a range of coop types and sizes — everything from small backyard coops to larger coops and chicken runs that supply multiple neighbors with a steady stream of eggs. If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll be sure to find it,” Power said.

Power grew up in a family that preserved fruits and vegetables, so she is no stranger to the world of yard to table. She also has some advice for beginning gardeners.

“Go with things that are exceptionally tasty fresh from your yard that you and your family love to eat. Think strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, as well as cucumbers, tomatoes or peas. Then work your way up from there. It’s great fun to watch your strawberry patch ripen a little more every day in June. And you don’t necessarily need a raised bed or anything fancy — all you need is some good dirt,” she said.

The map to local chicken coops is available online at

Yard to Table

What: Farming/gardening workshops and films hosted by the Milwaukie Film Festival and sponsored by the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge

When: Saturday, April 19; 2 to 4 p.m. workshops;

7 p.m. film festival screenings

Where: Masonic Lodge, 10636 S.E. Main St., Milwaukie

Details: Free; suitable for ages 12 and up. The event is made possible by a grant from Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs.


Plan ahead: “Upriver Downtown,” the Milwaukie Festival of Short Films will take place Saturday, May 10. A family-friendly screening is at 7 p.m., followed by a showing of films for mature audiences from 9 to 11 p.m.

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine