On-site community garden allows for healthy outlet through stress relief, healthy food and neighborly connections

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Monica McAllister, Nadaka Nature Park coordinator, and Adam Kohl, Outgrowing Hunger executive director, co-hosted a green coffee event Wednesday morning, May 30.Nadaka Nature Park and Outgrowing Hunger teamed up to host a coffee hour for sustainably-minded Gresham business and community leaders, where they showcased the green practices being done at one of the city's most popular parks.

Nadaka Park, 17615 N.E. Glisan St., has 10 acres of forested area, a community garden operated by Outgrowing Hunger, picnic area and the only nature-based play area in Gresham.

"The community support we have is what makes Nadaka really special," said Monica McAllister, park coordinator.

The coffee hour was part of a series through the Gresham Resource Efficiency Assistance To (GREAT) Businesses program, of which Nadaka has been a certified member for two years. GREAT helps conserve natural resources, protect the environment and supports the bottom lines of businesses that have committed to the cause. They offer consultations and free resources.

"It's been a great partnership with the city," McAllister said.

Nadaka Nature Park hosts community workshops on vegetable gardening, native plants, pollinators and bird identification.

The garden also partners with businesses and schools on educational and volunteer opportunities.

Surveys conducted at the park showed about 18 languages are spoken by visitors.

Outgrowing Hunger operates six community gardens in Gresham that can be rented by those whom live and work in the city for $25. It is a way to connect members of the community through a shared passion of gardening.

"People can grow food for their families, churches and neighbors," said Adam Kohl, executive director of Outgrowing Hunger. "Different cultures can share unique food they have cultivated with one another."

The community space at Nadaka has 60 garden plots.

"People tell us the garden is their health center," Kohl said. "They go to reduce stress, meet with other gardeners, and grow healthy food."

Those interested in gardening can attend a class hosted by Outgrowing Hunger at Nadaka Park. From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 21, learn about weeding and how to control pests.

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