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Volume 15, Issue 6
June 2017


PCC bird sign
PCC sign

Learning to garden at PCC Rock Creek
By Mary D. Edwards

The Learning Garden at PCC Rock Creek, now in its 12th year, has firmly taken root and is ready to branch out to the community beyond the college. “In the past four or five years, says its director Elaine Cole, “it’s really coming to fruition.”

Fruition, indeed. The 3.6-acre garden has a mixed fruit orchard, blueberries, kiwis, and grapes. In row crops and raised beds, veggies, and flowers thrive—all organically grown and fed with homegrown compost. The garden grows enough produce to sell to students, faculty and the community each Tuesday on campus during the growing season. It also donates hundreds of pounds to food banks and needy PCC students. 

This year for the first time, the public will be allowed to park free while shopping at the garden’s weekly farmers market. Named Portlandia FarmStandia (chosen by a student vote), the market opened for the season on Tuesday, April 18. It will be held Tuesdays through October, 11:30 am to 3 pm, between Buildings 5 and 9. It will be inside Building 5 if it rains. Parking is in the gravel lot on the west side of Building 9. Cash, credit/debit, checks, and SNAP/EBT (Double Dollars) are accepted.

PCC bulb shed
PCC Rock Creek

The Learning Garden is the hub of the school’s sustainability program with courses for PCC students on ecosystems, nutrition, health and even garden art. It’s a model of sustainable gardening, employing a closed-loop system in which veggies are grown with composted plant matter from the garden and campus eateries. Its tread-lightly approach is manifested in harnessing solar energy for the irrigation system, catching and storing rainwater, and using bicycles for hauling. Two specially-built bicycles power blenders for making smoothies from the garden’s crops. 

Honeybees and other pollinators have a healthy, pesticide-free home in the Learning Garden. In fact, PCC was certified last year as an affiliate of Bee Campus USA, an organization that aims to aid pollinators through the efforts of U.S. colleges and universities.

Garden staff are spreading their message to the next generation through their Springville K-8 Partnership. Students can walk to the garden, get hands-in-dirt learning about how it works, and taste the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.

Community members may work in the garden and earn credits to spend on produce at Portlandia Farm Standia. Sweat equity earns volunteers $5 to spend for every hour worked.

PCC spring greens

For much more information about PCC Rock Creek’s Learning Garden, Portlandia FarmStandia, courses, beekeeping, recipes, gardening tips, and sustainability program, go to:

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Published monthly by Pioneer Marketing & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2017