Spotlight on Colleen Owen – Urban Farming Magic!

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The edible landscape at Pringle Creek Community – the blueberry patch, our orchards filled with a variety of fruit trees, and community gardens both inside our glasshouses and outside – thrives due to the efforts of Colleen Owen, with the help of our groundskeeper, Paco Sanchez.  Colleen’s tireless work has significantly increased the productivity of the vegetable gardens and she has at least doubled the capacity of the glasshouses since 2014.

pringle creek community - staff (Colleen)Peppers 2015

fruit basket 2015 plum1 bounty 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The renovated, historic 1940s Lord & Burnham glasshouses at Pringle Creek Community (PCC) are a jewel all on their own.  They are a remnant of the gardening and maintenance grounds of the former Fairview Training Center campus that were preserved by PCC to benefit residents, giving the community the opportunity to increase the gardening season and the types of plants that they can grow.  Colleen’s efforts have increased the capacity of the glasshouses and made them especially productive.

John Muir Circle-41 glasshouse bounty 4-2014

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen started working full-time at PCC in December of 2013.  Since then, she’s built numerous raised beds in the glasshouses, both deep ones for root crops and regular, shallower beds and she added an automated watering system.  She organically grows food for our (CSA) Community Supported Agriculture members – both in the glasshouses AND in the outside beds during the regular growing season.  Both residents of PCC and local neighbors receive a yummy share of the crops she raises each week during the long growing season. She offers surplus produce to Marion Polk Food Share and, as a volunteer, hosts an annual plant sale to benefit the Sustainable Living Center, a nonprofit organization.  Colleen also moved and revitalized our beehives and became a beekeeper after taking classes from the Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association.  She tends to our flock of chickens and ducks, and teaches the Urban Farming classes for the Sustainable Living Center.  Colleen is an amazing, tireless, positive presence at Pringle Creek Community.  She is also a wonderful ambassador, smiling and waving to people who walk through our urban oasis, and sharing the joys and benefits of the community with interested home-buyers.

Peppers and squashes 2015      Bees Colleen with frame

ducks1 White chicks

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, winter is a slower growing season, giving Colleen time to plan and coordinate all of these activities.  Successful organic gardening, especially for a CSA that accesses an increased growing season due to the use of glasshouses, demands organization and rigorous, solid planning.  Colleen takes advantage of the season and works hard on seed selection, bed preparation, and maintenance.  She also puts the final touches on her Urban Farming classes that start in February.

You can take advantage of Colleen’s experience and wisdom, as well as that of other gardening experts, through participation in her Urban Farming class that starts February 6th.  Room is still available!  Connect with Colleen through email, colleen@pringlecreek.com, or calling 503-315-1055 to reserve a spot.

Soil lesson urban farming class