Gardening and addiction recovery have a lot in common.
- The process is slow.
- It requires a great deal of tender care and hard work.
- Hard ground must be broken up. Weeds that choke growth have to be pulled.
- New growth is fragile, but strengthens when nurtured.
- Over time, something healthy, strong and beautiful emerges.
At Shepherd’s Door, our recovery ministry for women and children, gardening and personal growth go hand-in-hand.
Thanks to the outpouring of community support several years ago, Shepherd’s Door enjoys numerous garden beds where women in the New Life Ministry learn to grow their own food. They’re especially grateful for a generous donation of seeds and soil from Dennis’ 7 Dees this year to kick off the growing season.
Join us in thanking Dennis’ 7 Dees for their support. If you, or someone you know, is preparing for spring gardening, check out the latest “Daily Deal” from Fox 12. For $20, you can get $40 worth of garden supplies, plants, tools and more at Dennis’ 7 Dees. A portion of those sales benefit Portland Rescue Mission.
For the women of Shepherd’s Door, the community garden serves as an incredibly powerful learning tool – on multiple levels.
“It’s such a good experience,” said Kat, the resident who heads up all things related to the community garden. “When you’re out there from the beginning, you have to take care of the soil, plant the seeds, water it and take care of it for months at a time before we can harvest it and take it inside to eat it.”
Gardening isn’t just for grown ups. Starting this week, the children will be planting so they too can get a hands-on experience about what it takes to raise vegetables. They’ll be responsible for taking care of everything from weeding to watering. (They might even test out some of the vegetables themselves for quality control).
In addition to being a great practical teaching tool for the women and children, the community garden has also served as an integral part of the recovery process. It’s been vital for helping the women with their communication.
“I think you’re kind of unique if you have an addiction and don’t have a problem with communication,” Kat said. “As the lead, the community garden has helped me become a stronger leader. It’s not about lording over somebody. It’s about working as a team and incorporating everybody in the process.
“It’s helped my decision-making by helping me create the best plans possible and, in turn, ease the workload for everyone.”
It’s also helped supplement the cafeteria with an ample amount of organic food options.
Including Kat, the “yard crew” at Shepherd’s Door includes two women who work on the community garden and two other women who work the rest of the grounds at the northeast Portland facility. When the weather is nice, the main courtyard at Shepherd’s Door doubles as host for graduating residents’ graduation celebration.
Shepherd’s Door is currently serving 48 women and children.
Thank you for playing such an important part in the recovery process for women like Kat, the “yard crew” and the many other women and children we have the privilege of serving at Shepherd’s Door.