At Independence Gardens, we are committed to each other, our families, our community, and our environment. These commitments influence how we do what we do in many ways.
Our values shape the way we choose what to purchase and from whom, which products and services to offer to whom, and our short- and long-term goals. You’re welcome to read up on our People, Partners, and Community pages and/or read the following Summary to get a pretty good idea of where our priorities lie.
Independence Gardens donates products and services to many Portland-area schools and charitable organizations, including Friends of Family Farmers, Friends of Portland Community Gardens, Growing Gardens, Indigo Rescue, NAYA (Native American Youth and Family Center), the Portland Public Schools Pioneer Program, Sabin School, and Skyline School. Owners Karen Wolfgang and Isabel LaCourse (and several of our employees) also contribute over 400 hours each year volunteering as members of Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue.
Whether one-on-one in our clients’ garden spaces or in groups in workshops and classes, with youth or adults, we provide programs, information, and services that help people incorporate sustainable edible gardens into their lives.
The gardens we help people build promote improved personal, economic, and environmental health.
We use products that contain fewer or no toxic chemicals, such as TimberPro sealant and stain (which is also locally made and sold!).
We source products—from the t-shirts we use for our Doo Tees to our soil amendments—that are organically grown/produced.
Independence Gardens is a member of the Portland Area Business Association (PABA); it is a founding member of the Professional Sustainable Gardeners Guild (PSGG) and is a signatory on the original Foster Green EcoDistrict MOU. The owners also participate in the Portland Farm and Garden Educators Network (PFGEN).
We support local, green businesses by purchasing products and services from sustainable sources and local merchants whenever possible. For instance, we purchase local, green web hosting from Canvas Dreams Web Hosting; organic cotton t-shirts screen-printed in Portland at EvolTwin Printing; Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood, whenever possible, from Parr Lumber or reused materials from the ReBuilding Center; soil amendments from Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply; and a host of other products that protect our air or water by using less to operate, manufacture, and/or transport.
As often as it is practical, we build our garden structures with people power, and limit use of gas-powered machines in our work.
Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling
We use and reuse products that contain post-consumer material or waste material from the manufacturing of other products. For instance, our first business cards were printed on cardstock purchased at SCRAP (the School and Community Reuse Action Project), and many of our projects incorporate materials left over from previous jobs. We also encourage and facilitate composting and recycling onsite in the gardens we build.