Tips gleaned from Portland trip influence plans for new community garden

VCU studied gardens at Portland Community College and Portland State University for ideas for the new Monroe Park Community Garden. Photo courtesy of Hasan Alkhairo.

Hasan Alkhairo and Alexandra Little (B.S.’14/B) recently returned from Portland, Oregon, an urban city where a modern food problem is being combated in an old-fashioned way. Parts of the city are considered food deserts, areas without ready access to supermarkets. Residents in those areas, which are typically low-income neighborhoods, must travel to other parts of the city to locate healthy eating options, such as fresh produce and whole foods.

In response, two higher education institutions in Portland have created community learning gardens that grow large amounts of food in a small space for the benefit of the local community while also providing opportunities for experiential education.

Virginia Commonwealth University already houses such a community learning garden on its MCV Campus. Thanks to the tips and knowledge Alkhairo and Little brought back with them, the university plans a second garden, this one on the Monroe Park Campus, by the end of the year.

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