A Visit to Zenger Farm: Reflections from Our Summer Intern
One of our Summer Interns, Nathaniel Berger, recently paid a visit to Zenger Farm, in Southeast Portland, where he participated in a volunteer project and learned about urban agriculture. Nathaniel hails from Atlanta, Georgia and is a rising Junior at Duke University. He came to us through the DukeEngage Summer Fellowship, which places students in civic engagement-oriented organizations around the world. Learn more about their experiences here.
When I first arrived at Zenger Farm, I was amazed by the contrasts that were immediately evident. I saw the bright red raspberry bushes and the herb garden in front of the barn where the cattle were once housed. I saw the gorgeous ten acres of wetlands. However, this oasis was surrounded by industrial buildings and residential neighborhoods.
I have interned at 1000 Friends of Oregon for almost three weeks now, and Zenger Farm is just another example of things I had never heard of, before I came to Portland. In the past three weeks, I have learned so much about the benefits that land use planning brings to Oregon. A month ago, the term “UGB” would not have meant anything to me. Now, I have read about urban growth boundaries extensively and biked along the Portland region’s UGB, and saw the vast differences between the two sides. Oregon’s urban growth boundaries protect wetlands, family farms, old growth trees, and the immense green landscape that Oregon possesses. Urban growth boundaries enable farmers to travel fewer miles to farmers’ markets and urban residents to have fresh, locally grown produce.
Until I went to Zenger Farm, I never would have thought about combining the words “urban” and “farm,” but now I wonder why there are not more places like Zenger Farm and cities like Portland throughout the United States. It has motivated me to learn more about the role of urban farms in our cities, and what strategies might work to encourage practices like these back in North Carolina.