Save the Date - Village Market celebrates 8 years!


We are celebrating Village Market's 8th Birthday with a block party on May 4th! It is going to be a fun day of celebrating with all the folks who make our work possible - our market customers, our community and neighbors, our partners and friends. 

Come and enjoy food, a plant sale, face painting, lots of great raffle prizes and more surprises.
Mark your calendars and tell your friends! Everyone is welcome.

By shopping at Village Market and donating to Village Gardens, you make a difference to this neighborhood and community. And now it's time to celebrate together.

If you are interested in sponsorship or volunteering please get in touch!

Thank you for an amazing 2018!


Oh my having a moment to reflect on our past year, we take in a deep breath of gratitude for our community, volunteers, customers, staff and donors. In the midst of facing changes and challenges, we also dug in a little deeper to who we are and who our community wants us to be.

We scaled back, relied on each other and took time to vision for a strong 2019. We are so excited to show back up on our Sauvie Island farm next year, the gardens and orchard are resting now in preparation for a bountiful season, we have an amazing Advisory Committee who will continue to support and hold us accountable, and Village Market continues to put Good Food first.

Here are some highlights from 2018:

  • Neighborhood youth have snacked on 24,054 free apples, bananas and oranges from Village Market.

  • SNAP and WIC eligible customers at Village Market have gone home with $17,765 of free fresh produce from points earned through our Good Food program. 

  • Over 80 youth and adult gardeners grew  XXXXX pounds of vegetables and harvested XXX pounds of fruit to share with North Portland families.

  • 96 volunteers have provided 1,450 hours of care and love to support Village Gardens programs. 

  • A 6-month process to elevate a community vision for the future of Village Gardens is bringing us back to the Sauvie Island farm. To deeply care for the farm - youth leaders, adult gardeners and a farm partner will collaborate to grow food for North Portland neighbors. 

  • Along with 8 other potlucks, gatherings and community celebrations, we hosted Village Market's 7th birthday party and neighbors came out to celebrate and raise $7,500. 

We so appreciate everyone who had our backs this year and helped make this all happen.
We literally couldn't (and wouldn't) do it without you.

With appreciation,
all of us at Village Gardens

Winston cooks and tells

Thank you to all the Seeds of Harmony Community Leaders and Gardeners who have made this such a successful season. 

Winston, was one cook at our end of season potluck, who supported the garden all season long. He joined us along with lots of folks who came out to celebrate the collective effort that went into our beautiful garden.  So far, the community garden has produced over 3,154 lbs of fresh produce for families in New Columbia.

$50 for 50

We are excited to introduce you to Kelly - an amazing partner, Village Gardens Advisory Committee member and friend of Village Gardens. On her recent 50th birthday she decided to jump in for justice and set up a fundraiser that supports our work. Here are her thoughts.

When I was hired to open the University Park New Seasons Market as the Community Coordinator, Chenoa Philabaum, the Senior Community Relations Manager for New Seasons said Kris Soebroto, the Program Director at Village Gardens, was someone I HAD to meet. She was right! It was love at first sight. It was the beginning of a fruitful partnership (pun intended!).

Village Gardens is creating equity in an area traditionally underserved, known as a “food desert.” And that equity is not being bestowed upon the neighborhood, it is being created by those who call New Columbia home. It is truly creating community through food.

Kelly hosting at the New Columbia Farmers Market in 2017

Kelly hosting at the New Columbia Farmers Market in 2017

Kelly with Staff and Friends at the Village market birthday celebration

Kelly with Staff and Friends at the Village market birthday celebration

A community member once told a story about how she hardly ever left her apartment and never talked to anyone in the neighborhood until she started gardening at the Seeds of Harmony community garden. She choked back tears as she talked about how she looks forward to seeing her friends and fellow gardeners there. Many of the children come help her or just offer a supportive pat on her arm when she comes to the garden on her scooter to the raised beds that she tends with lots of love. And now she is helping to coordinate the garden.

I experienced first hand how well resources are utilized, a little bit of support grows into big results. A donation of seeds last year have grown into food sold at Village Market then purchased by those looking for fresh choices.

For my fiftieth birthday this year, I'm asking for donations to Village Market throughout August because “everyone has a right to live in safe and thriving neighborhoods with access to good food.” If 50 people are generous enough to give $50 in honor of my 50th birthday, it would raise $2,500 for this amazing work. And YES! Every donation is tax-deductible. I love the idea of using a personal celebration to bring resources to a worthy cause and social media makes it SO easy.

There is absolutely no reason for anyone, anywhere, to go hungry. The work of Village Gardens is a small piece of the larger infrastructure that gets food to those who need it. The seeds of solving a global problem have been planted right here in North Portland.

Please donate to my birthday campaign.

Village Market Celebrates 7 years!

We hope you will join us on May 5th to celebrate Village Market's birthday. Village Market has been at the heart of our neighborhood for 7 years and there is no better way to celebrate than to thank all of you, our customers and supporters.

Last year we welcomed 122,000 customers at the Market. Each customer transaction is a donation to support our right to choose Good Food for ourselves and our families. As a customer at our nonprofit grocery store, you are an essential part of our neighborhood committment to affordable, fresh and local food for all thank you!

Right now, our Good Food program provides $5 of free fruits and vegetables for every $20 spent using SNAP benefits. We have been seeing folks use their SNAP dollars in the Market during the first two weeks of the month and bank away the Good Food points that they earn to use later in the month. There isn't anything more awesome than a customer that walks out of the store with two bags of free fresh produce that they earned with Good Food points. 

Kids are continuing to come in for free fruit each day and we are expecting to pass our record of 16,500  apples, oranges and bananas that we gave out last year. This summer we will sell produce grown by adults and Food Works youth at the Seeds of Harmony community garden just two blocks away. The Market is where we go to see our neighbors and our friends. It continues to be the hub of our community.

For our birthday celebration, the Market will be open and we will have a block party in full swing. You can expect a delicious BBQ plate lunch, plant starts sale  (grown by our Seeds of Harmony community gardeners and donated by Portland Nursery, Tony's Garden Center, Food by Design and Livingscape), facepainting, free birthday cake provided by New Seasons Market, music, raffle prizes and the unveiling of our neighborhood photo story project. This is all made possible by the support of United Way of the Columbia Willamette, Portsmouth Neighborhood Association and University of Portland Moreau Center.  We also want to thank our special sponsors at CareOregon who are providing a $1-to-$1 match for up to $1000 in donations received before May 5th. We hope you will donate today and double your donation.

Register now for the Food Works CSA! **Update. The Food Works CSA is not available for the 2018 season.

Food Works CSA is not available for the 2018 season.

We grow 2 acres of organic greens for cooking and salad, roots like carrots, beets, and potatoes, hot weather veggie classics like tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers, plus herbs, melons, and more!

By joining our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, you can support our farm, support our youth leadership programming, and enjoy fresh, organically-certified vegetables all summer long. 

My Culture


This summer, Eva joined the Food Works community as one of 10 new Summer Program youth hired by a peer hiring committee. After a successful summer, Eva was hired on as a member of the Academic Year Program, which meets weekly throughout the school year to plan the farm for next year's season, build community and youth leadership, and explore food and social justice issues.

We sat down with Eva to learn more about her story...

"At Food Works, we grow food from seeds, it is all organic food. We have a CSA and sell to Village Market. We provide organic, sustainable food for the community. People can really get a sense where their food comes from and I think that's really cool.

I work alongside a lot of other youth. A big part of my job is being open to experiences, learning a lot, and taking a step back. Another big role I have is to listen and learn and teach. Just because some people are older than me doesn't mean I can't teach them and they can't learn from me. I think that is a cool part of the job.

A big gift that I learned from my grandma was empathy. She would help other people because she knew the struggles of these people and she could empathize with them. She was one of my biggest role models. Even in my hardest and weakest moments I want to be able to recognize what other people feel and try to help them.

When I was in third grade, I wrote a poem because I was so in to my culture and learning about who I was. I was so inspired by the dancers, and I was having so much fun  at the powwows. My grandma would take me to  powwows and she would be so excited to see me dance." 

My Culture
A small pot of beef stew.
“Dance,” cries my close people and they get their wish.
I slip on my moccasins.
Native dancing is a dream.
The loud shouts make me feel at home.
Just a native song makes me feel like I belong.
So close to god I pray it will never go away.
In a true powwow
when I dance and my feet go off the floor
I never want to leave.
My hair smacks me in the face
and reminds me that I can’t stay forever.
So I enjoy dancing as much as I can.
I can’t believe that one night at the powwow could set me for life
But I can never get enough of my culture.

We want to give a BIG thank you to Eva for sharing her story and her poetry with all of us! The stories that we share are the building blocks of the relationships that make us a stronger community. In 2017, Food Works supported 24 youth leaders like Eva to grow themselves, their farm, their business, and their communities through Food Works programming!  To hear more stories from Eva and others in the Village Gardens community this month, follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Village Voices


In March of 2011, Chelsea noticed a job posting at Village Market, a brand new non-profit grocery store in her neighborhood of New Columbia in North Portland. As one of the first employees at Village Market, her  task was to help build the shelving that would eventually hold all our market goodies. Six years later, Chelsea is still providing warm customer service, helping out her community and has taken on management of fresh produce for the store. Whether she is ordering from Food Works youth farm or our supplier, her personal values support her commitment to meeting the growing demand for fresh produce in the neighborhood.

"I am most proud of changing my eating habits. Seven years ago, my sister in law was the first person to get me to try something she cooked that I don't really care for, but from then on I kept trying things. Now I eat more fruit and vegetables in my diet, and am learning how to cook with them and learning what is good for you. My toddlers really like to copy, so whatever I do...they do. They follow me around and I try to make eating exciting. So I say" Let's eat carrots kids!!" and they say "yay!". The more I am excited about a healthy snack, the more they are too. Peppers, I did not like for a long time and then I learned lots of ways to cook with them or to put them in my food and now I like to add them to a rice bowl with black beans, shredded chicken, taco seasoning and lime juice. I get my peppers by eating them like that.

My job lets me build relationships with people and get to know people, you never know when you might need help or someone might need you. I like to help people - whether
its my kids, my family, people at my church, my neighbors or customers...when you help somebody it does a lot for you. It makes me feel good as a person. Like for a day or something little for someone else that just makes you feel good..and then it comes back to you."

At Village Market, we are simply removing the biggest barrier to choice - affordability. For the past few years, Village Market has been using "Good Food" models to figure out how to level the playing field so that all people can choose fresh fruits and vegetables. We rely on supporters like you to make sure we all have authentic choices for how to feed ourselves and our loved ones.  Your donation helps to support Good Food and employment for North Portland neighbors.

Bridging markets and communities

We are excited to announce that New Columbia Farmers Market (Village Gardens) and St Johns Farmers Market (St. Johns Center for Opportunity) are partnering up for the 2017 farmers market season. The partnership will strengthen efforts of both markets to support local farmers and hot food vendors, provide a space for weekly celebration, support accessibility to fresh and local produce, and meet the needs of our vibrant North Portland community. We are co-hiring a Farmers Market Coordinator to be the lead on both markets for the 2017 season and to build the bridge for our farmers, vendors and communities to grow together.  We think it is a great opportunity for New Columbia Farmers Market to work with emerging vendors and prepare them for a mid-sized market like St. Johns Farmers Market.  Check out our employment page for more info.

Make your veggie commitment

By purchasing a portion of the season’s harvest, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members develop a partnership with our farm, the youth employed at Food Works and the Village Gardens' community. All funds from our CSA go back into the program to help employ youth from North Portland and to operate our 2.5 acre certified organic farm on Sauvie Island.

What can you expect from your share?

  • A weekly pick up of a diverse assortment of at least 8 types of vegetables for a total of 23 weeks.
  • It’s a great size for a family or a couple hungry adults.
  • The weekly Food Works newsletter keeps you up to date on what’s in season, our favorite recipes, youth writings, and Food Works program updates.

How much does it cost?

A full Food Works CSA share costs $600. You can choose payment in full or two installments. We have a limited number of shares available to SNAP participants for $400, thanks to the Double Up Food Bucks Program. Get in touch to find out more. The cost of your CSA goes directly towards supporting youth employment.

Sign up early to get your share reserved!

A Partnership for Health

As the soil at Food Works farm is getting tilled, as the cover crop is being planted, and while the van is continually getting stuck in the mud due to the fall rains, we at Food Works are reflecting back on the successes, learning moments, and beauty that defined this past season on the farm. We had two successful farmers market booths, an account at the University Park New Seasons, and the biggest, longest CSA we’ve ever had.

An exciting addition to our CSA this year was our participation in CSA Partnerships for Health, a CSA prescription program that provides affordable vegetables and fruit to folks in the community. For those that don't know, CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture," which means a farm takes a certain number of members for the whole season and provides them with a full box of produce each week at a fixed price. We are at the beginning of a multi-year partnership that includes Zenger Farm, Adelante Mujeres, OFB Community Farm, Portland Fruit Tree Project, Rose CDC, OHSU Family Medicine at Richmond, Multnomah County Health Centers and Portland State University. For this particular program, Food Works provided organic vegetables to 11 CSA members who are patients at North Portland Health Center and whose wellness plan include healthy eating and cooking with fresh whole foods. This is easier said than done when your food budget is limited, so the partnership covered the marjority of the cost of each share and SNAP benefits covered the remaining, making locally grown, organic, fresh produce truly accesible.

Each week we would bring that week’s produce to the clinic and set it up farmers market style with the colorful produce billowing out of baskets for each person to pick from. This gave them an opportunity to have agency in their food choices and to ask and learn about each thing. It was so inspiring to see folks mystified and unsure about something like celeriac one week, then come back the next with their mouthwatering descriptions of the amazing soup they had made with it. We also partnered with Village Gardens’ Community Kitchen program so that almost each week there was a cooking demo with samples for an easy, nutritious recipe that uses the produce in that week’s  CSA share along with a recipe written out for folks to take. This created a weekly community gathering time where the patients, healthcare providers, and staff and youth from Village Gardens all had a chance to hang out outside, eat together, and connect about recipes, preferences, and experiences. We had a chance to ask the members about this experience and this is what they shared “[My favorite thing about the CSA was] learning about vegetables that I’ve never seen before. My favorite was the fresh big green beans. They’re so different from the grocery store. I really learned the difference between fresh and store bought vegetables- it’s astronomical.” Another listed the health benefits he’s experienced this past season, “[The positive effects of the CSA were] that I’m off my diabetes meds, my hemoglobin levels are where we want them. My mental health is better with the pre and probiotics I’m getting from the vegetables and supplements and I’m having less anxiety and depression. I’m more physically active and have higher energy levels!”

A big thanks to the generous funders of this revolutionary program; USDA-NIFA Community Food Project, Kaiser Permanente HEAL, Knight Cancer Institute, and Oregon Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. And to Bob’s Red Mill for donating a dry bulk item to each weekly share. Food Works is already doing farm planning to do this again next year, we look forward to it.

In memory of a friend

As a community and a family we say farewell to Barbara Angel, an active leader and passionate community member of Village Gardens who passed away last month.

In addition to her position as a Community Health Worker, over the years Barbara volunteered much of her time at the Seeds of Harmony community garden. Barbara was involved in every aspect of planning and organizing the Seeds of Harmony garden when it first began 12 years ago. As a graduate of the Oregon State University (OSU) Master Gardener Program, shecontributed so much knowledge and skill to the garden and to her neighbors. About seven years ago, Barbara had the great idea to start a Peace Garden in the community garden. She thought a peace garden would fit perfectly with the goals of Seeds of Harmony, in which community members strive for “things to run harmoniously,” using conflict resolution to ensure that "everyone feels safe in the garden.” With the help of fellow community members during a work party, a 20 by 50 foot area was dug up and cleared for the Peace Garden. Barbara wanted this to be a safe space for people “to come and sit for some peace of mind; a place to be quiet, to hear the birds, to listen to the leaves of the cheery trees blowing in the wind.”

Many diverse plants, flowers, and medicinal herbs grow in the Peace Garden- all planted intentionally to create a tranquil environment. Goldenrod, a tall wild flower that can grow up to five feet tall, lines the perimeter of the garden to keep the space more secluded. Fragrant lavender and colorful succulents are found throughout the garden, as well as alyssum, bamboo, and strawberry  bushes. The herb beds grow low to the ground with mint, echinacea, lemon balm, chamomile, yarrow, and St. John’s wort. Barbara, a huge tea enthusiast, made her own tea using the mint and lemon balm that grew in the garden. In one corner of the garden is a patchwork of small pebbles, which Barbara called “soft rocks.” She said this was designed to provide a space for people to do yoga in the garden. In the middle of the Peace Garden is a stone bird bath, and on either end are wooden benches. Barbara said she found it “really calming to come and sit on the benches.” This calming energy in the garden inspired Barbara to teach her meditation classes here. Barbara’s vision of the Peace Garden has become a reality. The Peace Garden remains a space of reflection, solitude and memories.