Tuesday, December 05, 2017

A Community Kitchen That Will Build Community

Stacey Givens has a vision for her community of a place where people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from every corner of our city can gather and share their stories through the food they grow and make.

She started The Side Yard Farm in 2009 on a couple of lots in the downtrodden Cully neighborhood for just that purpose. A short summary of its work would include providing 20 local restaurants with organic local produce, giving space to schools to teach kids about farm to table, offering the farm's outdoor dining area to beginning pop-up chefs trying to get their foot in the door, donating large amounts of produce to organizations, providing space for instructors to teach classes, and hosting The Lost Table, a grief group for those who've lost loved ones. This year Givens' "Welcome Refugees" supper series benefited refugees here in Portland and gave attendees a chance to hear their stories.

"The Side Yard has become family to many chefs, artisans, instructors, kiddos, beginning farmers, aspiring chefs, grief group folks and people from all over that world who are interested in learning more about the seed to plate movement," Givens said.

And she's not stopping there.

To celebrate the farm's 10th year in business, Givens is planning to expand to build a Community Supported Kitchen (CSK) in her neighborhood. With a $175,000 price tag to build out a new kitchen space in the former Delphina's Bakery on Northeast 42nd Avenue, she's asking for help with a Kickstarter campaign (video above) dedicated to purchasing equipment for the new kitchen.

"We have been searching for a suitable kitchen for more than 5 years to allow growth in a shared space with other like-minded culinary entrepreneurs," Givens said. "When we heard that a spot was opening up right down the street from the farm, we grew excited about the possibility of building deeper connections through education and visibility of hyperlocal farming and sourcing. The CSK will exist to provide other local businesses with a holistic model that prioritizes the flow of local produce from the farm to the kitchen to the consumer."

As of today, Givens is almost halfway to that goal with slightly more than $22,000 raised. But she'll get none of it if you don't chip in to help before the deadline of December 22nd. Please consider doing so!

Go to The Side Yarm Farm Community Supported Kitchen page on Kickstarter for more information and to donate.

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