Clackamas County gardens keep growing despite coronavirus
While schools and stores shut down across Clackamas County, community gardens are planning to stay open during the COVID-19 crisis.
Gov. Kate Brown has ordered emergency measures to limit citizens' exposure to the novel coronavirus, but she recognized that people still need fresh food in order to stay healthy. Brown's orders keep grocery stores and farmers markets open, providing people can keep a 6-foot distance from others in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
One of the oldest and largest community gardens in the metro area, Gladstone's gardens
cover nearly 5 acres and comprise 134 separate garden plots. City Administrator Jacque Betz noted that Gladstone officials lease the property to the Gladstone Garden Association, which is urging people to keep at least a 6-foot distance from one another when working on the Meldrum Bar Park property this year.
"We agree that people need to engage in outdoor activities that provide a sense of purpose, connection and a release from stress," Betz said. "It is also a sustainable opportunity for those who have been financially impacted."
Lisa Lashbrook, who volunteers to help manage three community gardens for the city of Milwaukie, appreciated that the governor's orders recognize the value of locally grown produce. In addition to a small demonstration garden at City Hall, Milwaukie has two large community gardens, at the former Campbell Elementary School and on the grounds of St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 11600 S.E. Linwood Ave.
"I imagine more than ever, folks will see the importance of not relying completely on grocery stores," Lashbrook said. "Plus, it's a positive way to get outside, and garden-fresh tomatoes are the best."
In Oregon City, there's slightly less than an acre available for public use at the Clackamas Community College campus.
"We understand the important place that gardens hold in families' lives, and we hope that all who are able will continue to utilize that resource," said Michelle Baker, the college's garden coordinator. "We ask that when in the garden, please follow social-distancing guidelines in order to protect yourselves and others."
Gladstone: An application form is provided at gladstonegarden.org and must be sent to Gladstone Garden Association, PO Box 756, Gladstone, OR 97027.
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