HAMMOND — Not long after she moved to Hammond, Kathleen Adams stuck a note on the community garden gate.
She can’t remember exactly what she wrote but it was something like, “I’m a really insane plant person. Can I get involved in this?”
The Hammond Community Garden off Pacific Drive got its start in 2008, when longtime resident Ferne Berg donated an empty lot she owned in Hammond to the Warrenton Community Garden. The Hammond garden officially opened for business in 2009 and people are able to purchase a raised bed for the season and grow whatever they like. Several boxes, however, are reserved and under Adams’ care, their produce destined for local food banks.
Adams, a special education teacher at Warrenton High School, took over management of the garden around four years ago when the previous manager moved away. He gave her a quick overview before he left.
“It was kind of like: ‘OK, here’s this stuff that needs to get done and there’s those boxes over there where we grow produce for the food pantries and I’m leaving,’” Adams said of her introduction to the garden and her first whirlwind days as manager.
But Adams comes from a long line of gardeners. Her grandfather was known as the person who could grow the best strawberries. Her mother always maintained an acre of gardening space. Growing up, kids could choose between working in the house or weeding in the garden.
“And I always chose to weed the garden,” Adams said.
So the Hammond Community Garden has been a good fit for her. Adams includes her students in the work, too, sending them off to deliver produce to the regional food bank or the local food pantry. The deliveries help her students, giving them the experience of taking something to someone else. When the students deliver to the Warrenton Food Pantry, they meet the people who are going to benefit from the food.
An average of six to seven families reserve boxes in the Hammond Community Garden each year. Besides providing a fenced-in, deer- and elk-proof area for people to grow food and flowers, the garden is a place where deeper community connections can form, Adams said.
“Those of us who are crazy plant people, we just like to talk about plants a lot with each other,” she said. “I’m always hoping to get some children in there or some younger people that we can educate about growing their own food.”