By: Jon Thomas
Recology Oregon Compost (Nature’s Needs)
Recology Oregon Compost, also known as Nature’s Needs, is an advanced composting facility located about 20 miles northwest of Portland, OR. Recology has been involved in the North Plains community since we acquired Nature’s Needs in 2009. In the last few years, we’ve planted a large community garden, about 250 feet by 20 feet, using our organically certified Recology Oregon Compost. As the garden began producing large volumes of produce, we’ve since donated the food to local senior centers and food pantries.
Recology Oregon Compost employees did most of the gardening and upkeep, but we were very grateful to have customers and contractors donate their time to the garden by offering plants, seeds, weeding, and harvesting as needed. The organic vegetables were harvested, and within hours were transported to the senior center kitchen and prepared for that evening’s dinner. The center’s manager and residents are always excited about the vegetables that Recology provides.
In 2014, we harvested a total of 4,200 pounds of fresh, organic foods that were delivered to the center, including peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, squash, broccoli, carrots, string beans and many others. We also donated our pumpkin patch (50 total pumpkins) to the city of North Plains for their 1st annual kid’s pumpkin carving contest. Last summer, the heavy volume of vegetables was overwhelming that we enlisted the help of Meals on Wheels to distribute a portion of the vegetables directly to homes in need. According to the senior center’s manager, Margaret Rey, “A lot of people in the area have food on the table tonight because of the work you are doing.”
This year, we plan to expand our garden as well as the recipient list. The adjacent city of Banks has a food bank in need, so we hope to provide our harvest to them as well. We’re now busy preparing the garden for planting and have also discussed the senior center’s preferred vegetables. We’re all very excited for this year’s garden harvest!