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Save our Community Gardens - Updated Take Action Info

Write your letters, call Tom Potter and Zari Santner (Dir. of Parks and Recreation).
Attend the public meetings.
Don't let the Community Gardens get shut down.

Link to full coverage of the issue:  http://www.nwrage.org/modules.php...
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IDEAS FOR KEEPING THE COMMUNITY GARDENS PROGRAM ALIVE AND WELL ... . SURVIVING THE 2005-06 BUDGET PROCESS

Portland Parks & Recreation proposes eliminating the Community Gardens Program which has served Portland for 30 years. Friends of Portland Community Gardens is working to prevent program closure! We need the help of each person in the wider community who feels strongly about community gardening. It's time for a groundswell of public support.

WHAT CAN I DO?

Right now, the single most effective step is to write a personal note to both Mayor Tom Potter and Zari Santner, the Director of Parks & Recreation.

Your letter will be most helpful if it includes personal stories, reflections, or photos which show what the gardens mean to you or how gardening enriches urban life. Be candid. Be direct. Be persuasive. Be real.

Write postcards; write letters; write again and again. Include a snapshot or two. Weave a story. If you don't garden a CG plot, but cherish the program, let these folks know why!

Mayor Tom Potter Zari Santner
City Hall 1220 SW 4th St Director of Portland Parks & Recreation
Portland Or. 97204 1120 SW 5th Suite 1302 Portland Or. 97204


OTHER POSSIBILITIES:

Letter writing is very important! Do it now and often.

Some other ideas which you, your neighbors and friends could undertake now.

Put up a sign on your lawn or window saying "Save Community Gardens"
Put up a sign in your vehicle: "I love community gardens --- save 'em"
Create and wear a button about community gardens.
Write a letter to the editor stating the importance of community gardening.
Attend each of the public budget hearings (look for announcements in the media) and speak publicly about community gardening.
Go to the nearest community garden and attach a love letter to its fence.
Garden Managers: create a huge banner to hang on the fence of your garden, in
co-operation with the neighborhood. Attach colorful ribbons or eye-catching decorations to bring attention of drivers and passers-by.


SOME FACTS TO HELP YOU IN STATING YOUR CASE:

3,000 people directly work the gardens each year; over 900 plots were worked last season; all 32 garden managers are volunteers; 12,000 pounds of produce were donated in 2004 through Produce for People; the monetary value of all produce raised in 2004 is estimated at $500,000; 310 families are currently on the waiting list for garden plots; the Parks Department 2020 Vision Report of 2001 stated "there are too few community gardens to meet citizens'needs."

(Sponsored by Friends of Community Gardens, February 1, 2005)

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The facts of the garden programs

The Community Gardens Program is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year

3,000 people directly work the gardens each year
1/3 of the 3000 people served by Community Gardens are Youths

60-120 children enrolled in summer and school programs (varies from year to year)

Over 900 plots were worked last season
310 families are on waiting list for garden plots, 30% over available spaces

All 32 garden managers are volunteers

12,000 pounds of produce were donated in 2004 through Produce for People

The monetary value of all produce raised in 2004 is estimated at $500,000

The Parks Department 2020 Vision report of 2001 stated "there are too few community gardens to meet citizens' needs.

The garden fees for 2005 have increased 28% from 2004

7,400 volunteer hours were logged in the gardens

Many of the gardeners are low-income and represent the diversity of the neighborhoods in which the gardens are located.
Gardens provide approx. 15 acres neighborhood open space.
Gardening provides active exercise, healthy food, outdoor community gathering center.

The community garden program is good for Parks - Our program is known nationally as one of the best
Program is supportive and an example of healthy, sustainable living

What the city council thought about Community Gardens in 1975:
The 1975 city ordinance (ordinance #139598 March 13, 1975) creating the Community Gardens program declared a state of emergency and stated that that it is being passed " for the immediate preservation of the public health, peace and safety of the City of Portland."

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HERE ARE SOME FACTS TO HELP YOU IN STATING YOUR CASE:

Basic facts:

29 gardens

3,000 gardeners

996 plots

76 raised beds for disabled gardeners throughout the city

310 families are on waiting list

All 32 garden managers are volunteers

60-120 children enrolled in summer and school programs (varies from year to year)

Friends group has been in support role for 25 years. Raises $10,000 per year for the Children's Gardening Program.

7,000 volunteer hours/ year in the overall Community Gardens program


Gardens benefit the community:

Program directly involves approximately 3,000 gardeners each year

Approximately $500,000of food value was grown in 2004.

Over 12,000 pounds of produce are donated through Produce for People to local food banks last year. (Double the amount donated the previous year.)

Gardens provide approx. 15 acres neighborhood open space.

Gardening provides active exercise, a remedy for the current obesity epidemic.

All of the gardens are organic and provide learning opportunities for safe, environmentally-friendly growing processes.

Gardeners stay within the City because of the gardening opportunities, rather than fleeing to the suburbs due to lack of open space for growing food.

Gardens provide quiet recreation and stress reduction.

Community gardeners generate good will among the neighborhood and relationships often lead to a broader interest in local civic life, as well as neighborhood improvements.

Community gardens have been shown to lower crime rates in their areas through active civic involvement and more "eyes on the street".

Gardens provide healthy community gathering spaces

Gardeners are of all ages, abilities, incomes and ethnic groups

The Children's Gardening program provides school and summertime educational opportunities in a healthy, fun environment


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Attend the Public Budget Meetings!

From the Parks and Rec website:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Will there be public meetings as part of the FY 2005-06 budget process?

A: There is a public budget meeting on Portland Parks & Recreation's budget scheduled on Tuesday, March 8, 6:30-8:30pm. The location for the meeting is still to be determined, but the details will be posted on our website as soon as they are available. There are also two Council Work Sessions scheduled on March 9 & 10, 2:00-5:00pm, in the Rose Room in City Hall. These meetings will be open to the public, but there will probably not be opportunities for public comment. There will likely be opportunities for public comment later in the budget process; details on those meetings will be available at www.portlandonline.com


Click the link below to see the Portland Parks and Recreation 2005/6 Budget Process Findings.

Under Service Priorities please note that alll 3 groups ranked Community Gardens as a lower priority.
 http://www.parks.ci.portland.or.us/Budget/Budget.htm

homepage: homepage: http://www.nwrage.org
phone: phone: 503.239.6841
address: address: POB 15289 Portland OR. 97293

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