The Bakers' Back Yard: BCS Teaching Garden
- July 10, 2012
Story by Abby Warren
The Bakers, a family of 6 devoted to caring for people and the earth while sharing knowledge and bounty, have created a space that does just this.
When they moved into their new Proud Ground home in Parkrose a few years back, Casey and Angela Baker planned to turn their weed-filled lot into a sustainable permaculture garden. Through the garden, they wanted to assist people in learning how to grow their own food while helping to provide fresh produce to working families.
With only 400 dollars, Angela Baker coordinated building efforts using recycled materials, donated seeds, and natural soil preparation methods. Now, the transformed lot is filled with a plethora of edible plants including tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, peas, beets, and squash. Fruits like blueberries, huckleberries, marionberries, and raspberries provide tasty treats for kids while their parents help out. Newly planted apricot and apple trees will someday be part of a small orchard, and chickens curiously peck around before retreating back to the coop.
With the help of volunteers, who plant, weed and harvest April through November, the fertile garden produced 1,600 pounds of food last year and will hopefully provide 2,000 pounds this growing season.
In addition to providing fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables to working families, the garden also offers a place to learn. Angela Baker hosts a number of creative gardening workshops throughout the growing season in exchange for work in the garden. BCS Participants learn how to start seeds, compost, organically control pests, and put their gardens to bed. Participants leave with what they need to get their own garden started in their yards or in containers.
BCSI runs other Giving Gardens with the help of volunteers and Vedura Culinary Gardens; Riverbend Organic Garden in West Linn and now the Sunderland Garden on Brian and Julie Sunderland's property in Gresham. All of the food grown in the gardens is donated to the Birch food pantry.