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Springwater Sprouts of Hope, Food is Free projects connect community members with produce and seeds at no cost

COURTESY PHOTO - Members of the Springwater Sprouts of Hope project team prepare to distribute garden kits at an event earlier this summer.

Springwater Presbyterian Church is sowing seeds of community support through a new program.

Members of the Springwater Seeds of Hope project hosted their first garden kit giveaway earlier this summer, and they'll host another one on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the church at 24553 S. Springwater Road. The event will focus on plants that grow well during winter, including kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and a variety of herbs.

"That's Springwater's personality. They are a nurturing church," said Susan Graham, pastor at Springwater Presbyterian Church. "(The project) came out of their DNA. They're really close to the land and wanting to see people fed."

"In times of uncertainty when so much seems to be out of control, there is something healing in even just a pot of soil and a few good green things," said Naphtali Renshaw, a member of the project's team. "The simple relationship between gardener, sprout and soil is mutually beneficial as the gardener finds joy in nurture; and nature, in turn, returns the gardener's nurture by creating good things to taste and see."

Along with Springwater Seeds of Hope, another opportunity for community members to connect with locally grown food is facilitated by Estacada resident Rhiannon Sundberg.

In April, Sundberg began coordinating Estacada's chapter of the Food is Free project. The program started in Austin, Texas, and encourages participants to connect their neighbors with locally grown produce. There are participating gardens across the world.

COURTESY PHOTO - Rhiannon Sundberg's son Wyatt shows off a few of the items available from the free community food pickup event in Estacada.

Every Sunday, those interested can pick up produce from Sundberg's front yard at 591 N.E. Caden Court. The items are grown by Sundberg and her neighbors.

"Especially with COVID, it's a hard time for everyone. If we can get a bit of local help for families in need, that's my goal," she said in a previous interview. "(The best part is) the fact someone who really is in need can access the garden goods. If I can share with people who might not have the access or the budget, that brings me so much joy."

Back at Springwater, Graham noted that the team hopes gardening leads to excitement for the whole family.

"It's a fun thing to do together," Graham said, noting that many in-person classes and summer activities have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "It's fun to see the delight of kids as they're watching things grow."

Those who wish to pick up a gardening kit at the Aug. 15 event can sign up for a socially-distanced time slot by contacting program coordinators 503-630-5480 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Times will be available starting at 10 a.m.

"We're hoping it will build and grow, and also we're hoping that it will continue over and it will be kind of a regular ministry part of the churches in next spring as well," Graham said. "There is so much good in the world, and we want to be a part of helping grow that."

COURTESY PHOTO - Garden kits are distributed at an event hosted by Springwater Sprouts of Hope.

Learn more

For more about Springwater Presbyterian Church's latest project, check out "Springwater Sprouts of Hope" on Facebook, and for additional details about the Food is Free project, visit the 'Estacada Food is Free' group on Facebook or foodisfreeproject.org.

Additional resources

Along with the Springwater Seeds of Hope and Food is Free program, community members can also acquire food resources from the Estacada Area Food Bank and St. Aloysius Catholic Church's St. Vincent de Paul program.

  • The Estacada Area Food Bank is open to community members from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays for families with a student in the Estacada School District and 4 to 6 p.m. for all. Customers will check in outside and have their orders taken using a checklist of items before a volunteer brings their items to them. For more information and online ordering, visit estacadafoodbank.org.
  • Community members can receive food from the St. Vincent de Paul program at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 192 N.W. Third Ave., on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. For more information, visit mjaparishescluster.org/contact-st-aloysius.

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