Initiative: Cultivating food security on the south Oregon coast through gardening
Business: RedSpiralHand is a consultancy that creates custom websites & marketing strategies for vacation rental business owners.
Description: The Oregon coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world to live and work and the vacation rental industry is thriving here. But many families & seniors living in coastal communities are low-income and struggle just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Local food pantries and other community resources exist to aid low income households and individuals but they have limited resources and much of the food they provide needs to be shelf-stable so items tend to consist mostly of processed, convenience foods and dry goods with little or no fresh produce. Individuals and families who would like to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets but are on fixed or low incomes find it difficult to do so.
One way families can become more self-sustaining is by growing their own food. Limited space in urban settings can make growing food a challenge; community gardens provide the needed space for urban gardeners and also serve as centralized gathering places for workshops, demonstrations & community events.
RedSpiralHand contributes hands-on (dirt-under-the-fingernails) hours to the local community garden and donates public relations, marketing & web expertise to help foster community awareness and support for garden projects. We also plan to help organize and promote garden-centric events like seed exchanges, plant start swaps and garden workshops. We’ve supported community garden projects for over 10 years in several north coast communities and are just getting started on the south Oregon coast.
Currently we are active with the Gold Beach Community Garden, helping to model intensive, small-space, organic gardening methods. The garden is in the city park so this makes it a very visible showcase for the public. Currently there are 12 small raised beds that are tended by 9 gardeners and enough donated materials to create a few extra high raised beds for those with mobility challenges. The city contributes the space and our water and other resources and community volunteers help with building projects.
We’re starting simple and small but the collective dream is to grow enough food to share the abundance with the local food pantries, soup kitchen and senior center and to provide resources (seeds, organic plant starts, compost, raised beds & education) and outreach to low income home-based gardeners, too. To achieve these goals we will need to expand the current garden space or find another ancillary space, so that larger scale food production can happen.