Wisdom Gardens | Restoring native food systems

Wisdom Gardens is a communal garden in which Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. provides free space and plant starts for families and individuals that self-identify as Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander, or other indigenous peoples of North, Central or South America. The purpose of Wisdom Gardens is to train Native families in organic vegetable gardening so they can grow and have access to nutritious and fresh produce. Wisdom Gardens also serves as a learning garden for traditional “First Foods” cultivation of Native Northwest plants and berries.

As a communal garden individual plots are not assigned to gardeners. Instead, complimentary crops are paired and rotated yearly from plot to plot. Gardeners share in the work of planting, watering, weeding and maintaining the garden. Gardeners can harvest crops throughout the season. Gardeners are encouraged to harvest produce when fruits and vegetables are ripe, taking what they need and leaving extra produce in the containers provided on the back patio for other gardeners to pick up or to be donated to local food pantries.

Gardening workshops and volunteer work parties will be scheduled throughout the summer on Sundays. Wisdom will also hold two open houses in the summer and fall. Check Wisdom of the Elders’ Facebook page and your email for workshop updates.

Wisdom Gardens is at two locations: The main garden is located at the Kelly Butte House on private property at Wisdom of the Elders, Inc., 3203 SE 109th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97266. Wisdom Gardens also leases a 20’x20’ plot at Earl Boyles Community Garden on SE 110th Avenue and Francis Street from Portland Parks and Recreation.

To become a gardener at Wisdom Gardens for the 2017 season, please read the garden guidelines and contact Valerie Goodness at valerie@wisdomoftheelders.org 

Wisdom Gardens Guidelines:

1. Wisdom Gardens is open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM during the growing season (April-October) for gardeners, their families and guests. The garden is accessible from the south-side gate. The garden includes a common work area under the cover back patio and a garden tool shed.

2. Please sign-in yourself, family and guests when you are working in the garden. Information and Wisdom Garden Sign-In sheets: There is a bulletin board on the back patio where gardening tips, garden tasks and information on upcoming events are posted. The Garden Log sheet and Watering Log sheet will be located there as well. Gardeners and their guests are required to sign in and out in order for Wisdom to track the time that is spent at Wisdom Gardens by the community. Also gardeners and volunteers will need to record where and when they watered in the garden to prevent over and under watering any areas.

3. Gardeners and volunteers may use the Kelly Butte House restroom. Gardeners and volunteers will have access to the office restroom during business hours 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays. Access to restrooms is not guaranteed after business hours or on weekends. If needed after hours, please knock on the front door for Rose or Wisdom staff.

4. Children are welcomed in the garden with adult supervision.

5. Promote organic gardening. Synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers are not allowed. Please check with the garden coordinator before adding any soil amendments or OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute) products to soil or plants.

6. Keep common work areas and garden tidy. Please do not leave garden tools out after you are finished, beware of leaving the water hose in paths, and place trash in the garage bin under the cover patio.

7. Compost garden and plant waste. Gardeners can dispose of weeds and other organic waste in the compost bins located on the hill above the raised beds.

8. Maintain the vegetable garden. This includes harvesting and weeding vegetable plots, fall clean up and mulching.

9. Remove weeds from paths and Native plant and berries beds. Gardeners must give 6 hours of garden maintenance during the growing season (April-October) that does not include watering or maintaining the vegetable garden

10. Conserve water. Gardeners must be in the garden while watering. Conserve water by using mulch and hand watering plants. Log where and when you watered. Please notify Wisdom staff of any leaks and breaks as soon as possible.

11. Please do not plant illegal or invasive crops. Do not plant trees and invasive or fast spreading plants, such as mint, bronze fennel, comfrey, lemon balm, horseradish, ivy, holly, lesser celandine, and marsh marigold.