People living in Bend, Oregon love a challenge, and growing food locally is the ultimate challenge in a high desert environment. Landscape architects from the High Desert Section of the Oregon Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), have taken a leadership role in the movement that has created a wave of new community gardens with the purpose of strengthening and enriching Central Oregon’s budding local sustainable food movement.
On Saturday, April 6, 2013, the Central Oregon Food Policy Council led by Karen Swirsky, hosted its very first Urban Agriculture Workshop at Central Oregon Community College. Along with other gardening and urban farming tables, there was an ASLA table that provided flyers and information on landscape architecture. One of the afternoon sessions was a design charrette for the COCC Student Garden, led by ASLA members Robin Gyorgyfalvy, David Olsen, Jay Battleson, and Debbie Goodwin. Other ASLA members participating in the Workshop included Chelsea Schneider and Katrina Langenderfer on the Workshop Committee and Jim Figurski as an invited speaker.
In addition to being one of the many featured events for the ASLA 2013 Year of Public Service, both the Central Oregon Food Policy Council and the High Desert Section of Oregon ASLA are Lead Partners for the Bend 2030 New Vision Accelerator Projects. These are projects and priorities that were selected by the community in 2012 to accelerate steps toward making the community vision become a reality for Bend in the year 2030. This is the third in what has become a series of community garden design charrettes led by landscape architects designing your environment beginning on 08.07.11.
The importance of community gardens is expressed through creating social capital, developing local partnerships, learning new skills, and improving nutrition and self-reliance. Landscape architects demonstrate and facilitate collaborative community designs from a private garden scale to a larger public and regional scale with a focus on circulation, site conditions, constraints and opportunities, and creative land use systems.
*Photos & Story via Robin Gyorgyfalvy, FASLA