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Holy Family students help the needy with shoebox gardens

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Fifth grade Holy Family Catholic School students hold out their 'shoe box garden' boxes, while gardener and teacher Baruch Bashan shovels in the dirt.The fifth grade students Margaret Dickinson’s class at Holy Family Catholic School are learning about botany – and also serving their community, by growing food for charity, at the same time.

“It’s important for our kids to make a connection between the science that we’re learning and community service projects,” smiled Dickinson, as her class was preparing for a “field trip” – walking a block to the Holy Family Community Garden.

Getting ready for the students’ visit was noted East Portland gardener Baruch Bashon.

“I’ve been a gardener for forty years, and professionally for the last ten,” Bashon told THE BEE.

Bashon said he approached Holy Family Catholic Church’s Father, who was open to the idea of putting in a vegetable garden. “All of our garden’s produce goes to our St. Vincent De Paul Chapter for distribution to those folks who need it. We have a bunch of corn. I’ve been growing lettuce, parsley, scallions, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, kale, summer squash, spinach, and potatoes.”

The teacher told him of her interest in teaching about gardening. “I suggested shoebox gardens. Students take shoe boxes, line them with plastic, plant some seeds, and take care of it. They can grow baby carrots, radishes, and all sorts of stuff.”

Instead of their simply shoveling dirt into boxes, Bashon explained to the children about different kinds of dirt, why soil amenities are important, and suggested how to plant seeds in the miniature gardens.

“I look forward to seeing how their gardens grow,” Bashon smiled.