As promised from our last blog, I wanted to share some of the awesome things my local community is doing to raise environmental awareness and find solutions to support the earth for everyone.

My favorite project can be found at our local community garden in Beaverton, Oregon. One of the churches in the area donated a massive plot of land to be used as a space for anyone who chooses to come and grow ‘n’ glean organic vegetables that they can take home to feed their families. I volunteer there most Saturdays where I pull weeds, sow seeds and harvest healthy vegetables side by side with people from all walks of life.

In the harvesting months leading into fall, we also provide trips to farm country where we pick plums, pears, and apples that would otherwise go to waste. These fruits are donated by local farmers with the caveat that we honor the land and gather the food to take back to the city. This is conservation and community cooperation at its finest!

This non-profit group has a huge impact on surrounding impoverished areas by sharing a space for folks to connect with the earth while also providing healthy, safe food for a local food pantry. Over the course of my time there, I’ve realized that sometimes the first step in supporting the environment is to ensure healthy food security. Once families don’t have to worry about how they’re going to feed their kids they can move on to think about other issues such as recycling and pollution. The conversations we have there have absolutely supported this idea, and the best part about it is that we’re all learning to appreciate even more the value of our natural resources such as clean air and water.

The second piece of community outreach is another non-profit that my best friend works for. This group focuses on water quality around the city of Portland. They both test the water regularly and spend the bulk of their time planting native grasses, trees, and plants that support clean water in self-cleaning ditches and culverts. These ditches are gorgeously green and built to filter toxins from storm water before the water flows to the creeks and rivers. Once the ditches are built, they are monitored, cleaned and maintained several times a year to ensure clean runoff.

What I love about these two community projects is that they don’t focus on just one area. Communities that normally couldn’t afford the time and resources to have their water filtered are treated the same as those who maybe could afford these natural water filtering systems, and that is exactly the point of addressing how poverty affects the environment. We all share the same river, the same air, and the same gorgeous wildlife. The only way to protect it worldwide and at home is to accept that we’re all in this together for our children and for the future of the planet.

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