The Seedlot is a volunteer-run educational gardening project in the Clinton neighborhood of Southeast Portland, Oregon. Our aim is to model a hands-on space for neighborhood learning opportunities in the edible, botanical and horticultural arts.
As a community learning garden, The Seedlot is the pilot site for an even bigger project yet–Project Beet Generation. PBG is founded on the notion that everyone should have the right to grow up with their toes in the dirt and real food in their bellies–and that community-based gardens and their intrinsically bounteous resources provide the most realistic means of achieving universal access to such fundamental learning opportunities.
Now entering my 8th growing season as a garden-based educator, I am convinced more with every day that there is no more important work I could be doing. And I am thrilled to discover that many others agree and support my efforts. Yet as school gardens grow in number across the city and country, even the best-established programs are subject to the ever-evolving fundraising capacities of PTAs and volunteer committees. Full-time positions in this field are extremely rare (and tend to involve little actual teaching time), and there is no formally recognized or credentialed post-bac degree in Garden Education (if I’m wrong, please let me know!). Even here in Sustainable Portlandia, there is as yet no organization that is dedicated to creating real jobs for experienced garden educators (i.e. not perennially part-time, temporary, and seasonal, with no benefits or chance of raise or promotion), nor to ensuring that all children (particularly low-income children in urban areas) are guaranteed consistent access to quality learning opportunities of this kind. How can anyone expect to meaningfully teach about sustainability if their own job is unsustainable?!
Thus, my mission: Project Beet Generation. The Seedlot is my trial site, and if I can get this to launch anywhere, it’ll be right here in Southeast Portland.
I would love for you to participate, please be in touch.
With Love and Squalor,