St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Eugene, Oregon

The Grassroots Garden

Located behind St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the GrassRoots Garden is turning out vegetables at full capacity.

GrassRoots began in 1991 when the church donated 2.5 acres of vacant adjacent land for the creation of a community garden, for which the church continues to pay for all water and electricity expenses. The next year, FOOD for Lane County got involved and hired a coordinator to run the garden and help spur its productivity. Now, GrassRoots donates all produce to FFLC.

Throughout its years of operation, the garden has seen a more prolific harvest each year. Master Gardeners toil side-by-side with landscape architecture students from the University and Lane Community College, while contingents of local high schoolers earn their required volunteer hours beside ex-convict serving out the remainder of their parole and probation sentences.

The garden depends entirely upon the generosity and astuteness of its regular volunteers to perform a long list of necessary chores.

On a particularly productive day, it is not uncommon for more than 100 pounds of cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and other earthly treats to be harvested from the garden’s 40 to 50 different plant varieties and then washed, weighed and boxed-up for transportation to FFLC’s processing warehouse. There, some ingredients are made into soups and casseroles and flash frozen into individual portions.