Sunday, September 15, 2013


Blue House Greenhouse Farm is getting some press! It's pretty exciting. Check out our new press link for other stories.

We were mentioned in a graphic piece (a piece that is a graphic not that the content is graphic) in the September issue of the Portland Monthly! You can buy this mammoth magazine at many local retailers and the online version will be available next month. For now, I took a couple photos for you to check out.

It's an interesting piece. It's about the "growth spurt" that North Williams Ave has been experiencing in the past year: New Seasons, mixed-use buildings, cute shops. It also mentions why North Williams has all these vacant lots and empty storefronts and it briefly notes that it was a vibrant hub of African American culture and community before the demolition and displacement of most of this community (so brief, it was in parenthesis).

This neighborhood has had an dense history of displacement and gentrification following very clear racial lines. For a complete history of this area, read this paper. Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940-2000. This article from a few years ago from The Skanner gives a good overview. Portland Gentrification: The North Williams Avenue That Was- 1956.

The Portland Monthly piece also mentions that the farm is part of this "re-making" of North Williams. I have mixed feelings about this claim. It wasn't my intention to be a part of the gentrification of this neighborhood. My intention was rather single minded- to find a piece of land in the city to grow food and sell it to our local community. I didn't think of what it could mean for the culture of the neighborhood: a young white woman selling foods for people who care (and can afford to care) about local food.  I think the ignorance I had was the same as many young white people, unknowingly moving to affordable areas making them less and less so for the people who originally live there. I also know that this very "re-making" that the farm is a part of will eventually be the un-making of the farm. It is a prime piece of real estate and will most likely end up as another mixed-use building.

As I said, I have mixed feelings- I do think that this neighborhood needs reinvestment. I believe in dense urban housing. I am glad that the New Seasons opened a block away from the farm, because that's where I shop (and the farm now sells to them too, which is exciting). Also it's pretty incredible that an urban farm is seen as reinvestment. But how to "reinvest" without displacing even more of this neighborhood's original community? As you can tell I am confused about this issue and the role of the farm and my own role in this neighborhood. I am open to any thoughts.

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