Across the street from Brentwood Park, on S.E. 60th Avenue, plant lovers from all over East Portland were coming in to buy plants in the third week in April.
Shoppers visiting Greenhouse #1, operated by the Community Transition Center campus, were choosing from a wide selection of annuals, perennials, herbs, and hanging flower baskets - all of them cared for using organic techniques.
The growers of the plants received more than money in this endeavor - they were 17 to 21-year-old students at the Portland Public Schools facility, and they learned how to start the plants, how to grow and care for them, how to help customers - and they even learned how to operate the cash register.
Sarah Goforth, greenhouse coordinator at the Community Transition Center, said the program provides students with vocational opportunities and meaningful work experiences which can be utilized in the community. CTCC students develop practical life, social and work skills in a supportive environment that emphasizes independence and self-sufficiency.
'The greenhouse is important,' Goforth explained, 'because it puts our special-needs students in touch with nature. They gain practical experience working with plants, and get to learn in a non-traditional classroom. Here, they're in a living environment.'
The greenhouse is complimented with an outdoor garden. 'Thus, our students are able to enjoy fresh vegetables. There is a strong nutritional component in my program, also,' Goforth said.
Area neighbors Jenny Doyle and Kevin Smith were shopping when we visited the greenhouse. 'We moved into the area last year, and a friend just told us about the plant sale. It's great! I'm delighted by the wide selection - and it feels good to be able to support the school, too.'
'We're having another plant sale May 5 through May 9,' Goforth revealed. 'We'll be selling fresh spring vegetable starts, and other beautiful plants.'