By Vanessa Richins
As an interest in the environment (and the pocketbook) grows, more people are interested in sustainable living.
Portland State University wants to use a recent grant to become a leader in the field.
PSU was the lucky recipient of a $25 million dollar grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, with the condition that it be used to benefit the entire city.
The university will need to raise an additional $25 million for the project to match the donation. The grant will be distributed over the course of a decade.
Now the university has the tough job of deciding how they should spend the money. They want to make sure this generous donation (the largest the school had ever received) could properly serve the citizens of Portland and, by extension, the world.
Some proposed projects include:
- A new method of draining storm-water.
- Testing the carbon footprint of old neighborhoods versus new ones.
- A green technology lab to study the impact of equipment and procedures.
The project of most interest for us urban gardeners is the Learning Garden Laboratory, an 11 acre school garden project in Southeastern Portland. It was established in 2005 as a collaboration between Portland State University, Portland Public Schools, and Portland Parks and Recreation department. As their website shows, They could possibly use this to instruct schools and cities on how to grow produce for school cafeterias.
I hope they choose this project. Food is one of the basic necessities of life, and we should help people learn how to provide for themselves. The Learning Garden Laboratory could help lead the way.