University of Portland will host the first annual Spring fundraising event for the local nonprofit group Village Gardens. The evening will include food from James Beard Nominee Cathy Whims of Nostrana, community participant presentations, brief videos highlighting program successes and a silent and live auction. The event will be held from 6 – 9 p.m. in the Bauccio Commons on campus, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., and is open to the public. Tickets are $40 each and can be purchased at www.villagegardens.org. Event sponsorships and table sponsors are still available. It is recommended to purchase tickets soon, as the event is expected to reach capacity.
The fundraiser will celebrate the accomplishments of Village Gardens as well as bring awareness of its work of creating a more just and healthy food system in Portland. The organization features individual and family garden plots in low-income areas of Portland, employment opportunities for adults and teens, after-school and summer activities for children and homework clubs. Other programs include an emerging livestock project, a Community Health Worker program, a youth-run entrepreneurial business growing and marketing specialty salad mixes at local farmers markets, and a community healthy corner store project called Village Market. The organization also runs Food Works, a farm on Sauvie Island.
“We are excited to celebrate the successes we have had this year as well as cultivate new relationships with community members,” said Jason Skipton, Village Gardens community programs supervisor. “Everyone is going to have a fun time, eat some great food, and learn about what we are doing.”
Funds raised at this event will be used to further the work of Village Gardens. In 2013, Village Gardens plans to focus on “Growing a Neighborhood Food Hub From Seeds to Sales” by supporting families to launch small market garden and farm businesses, creating a community incubator kitchen in partnership with the Village Market community-run health corner store, and establishing a seasonal community street farmers market in New Columbia. The project will support the development of a full-system, comprehensive approach to ensuring a just and thriving neighborhood food economy by supporting vibrant sustainable farms and gardens, healthy people, and strong community relationships.
Sponsorships for the event include University of Portland, and its School of Nursing, Bon Appétit, Nostrana, Portland Nursery, and New Seasons Market. Partners for the dinner include Columbia Distribution, Deschutes Brewery, Widmer Brewery, Casa Bruno, A to Z Wineworks, Alpenrose Dairy, Dry Soda, and Batchpdx.
“We have had such a huge outpour of support,” Skipton said. “It has been very humbling to see the support the University of Portland and all of the sponsors have given for this event.”
For more information about the event, please go to www.villagegardens.org