Oregonian Article Featuring VG Spring Fundraiser

 Asha Gebibo, 64, makes injera every other day at the Village Market in New Columbia. Casey Parks/The Oregonian

Asha Gebibo, 64, makes injera every other day at the Village Market in New Columbia. Casey Parks/The Oregonian

University of Portland will host a fundraiser Friday for the nonprofit Village Gardens. The evening will include food from James Beard Nominee Cathy Whims of Nostrana, community participant presentations, videos and a silent and live auction.

Most people know Village Gardens through its corner store Village Market. The store in New Columbia offers fresh produce, take-out food from different countries and staples such as milk, bread and spices.

The organization also runs the Food Works farm on Sauvie Island and sponsors individual and family garden plots in low-income areas. The nonprofit it also offers employment opportunities for adults and teens, as well as after-school and summer activities for children and homework clubs. It also runs a livestock project, a community health worker program and a youth-run entrepreneurial business that grows and sells salad mixes at local farmers markets.

For the past 10 years, the nonprofit has focused on using grants to pay for its programs in low-income areas such as St. Johns Woods. It’s never asked for donations before. The new campaign hopes to build a network of donors. The money raised at this event will support families as they launch small market garden and farm businesses. It will create an incubator kitchen at the Village Market. And it will establish a seasonal community street farmers market in New Columbia.

They’re still looking for businesses to sponsor tables. So far, sponsors include University of Portland, and its School of Nursing, Bon Appétit, Nostrana, Portland Nursery, and New Seasons Market. Partners for the dinner include Columbia Distribution, Deschutes Brewery, Widmer Brewery, Casa Bruno, A to Z Wineworks, Alpenrose Dairy, Dry Soda and Batchpdx.

Tickets for the event, which runs 6-9 p.m. in the Bauccio Commons on campus, tickets are $40.