Seventeen local community groups have been awarded Community Livability Grants from the Portland Development Commission. $1.2 million was awarded to help support Hacienda CDC, the Earl Boyles Commmunity Center, SE Works, and more.
The Livability grants were awarded to organizations that foster vibrant and healthy neighborhoods in the Interstate, Lents, and Gateway Urban Renewal Areas.
One of the largest grant recipients this year is Southeast Portland's Zenger Farm. The urban farm is one of the largest in Portland, and our first Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. CSAs provide a new way to get fresh and local produce instead of going to the grocery store. With CSAs, community members can buy a membership at the start of the growing season so they can take home a portion of the farm’s harvest.
In the past, CSAs were thought of as only benefitting higher-income families with a disposable income – but Zenger Farm reconstructed payment plans so their CSA would be able to accept food stamps and reach more families.
The PDC grant will help Zenger Farm bring their "Urban Grange" vision to life. The Urban Grange will feature 8,960 square feet of classrooms, food processing facilities, a commercial kitchen, offices, and community meeting areas. As Zenger Executive Director Jill Kuehler explains, "the Urban Grange will allow us to double our programs." Zenger has been fundraising over the last year, and they hope to break ground next spring on the $1.9 million project.