Growing Gardens is a non-profit organization in Portland that uses the experience of growing food in schools, backyards, and correctional facilities to cultivate healthy and equitable communities. Their vision is for everyone to have equal access to healthy food and share resources within their own communities. Over the last few years, I’ve covered Growing Gardens’ farm tours highlighting local BIPOC and women-lead farmers and Chef In Your Garden dinners (previously Chef In My Garden) featuring some of Portland’s best chefs.
This year, Growing Gardens Chef In Your Garden dinner series is back with in-person and takeout events uniting chefs, beverage makers, and farmers, while raising funds to help support local food leaders and equity work within our food systems. Growing Gardens has also continued their biannual Growing Gardens farm tour — this time, we visited Unity Farm in North Portland.
Growing Gardens Farm Tour, North Portland
Mariquita Medicinals at Unity Farm
Flynne Olivarez of Mariquita Medicinals is one of several farmers of color growing at Unity Farm collective next to Oregon Food Bank. I recently toured the farm with Growing Gardens as part of their farm tour series.
At Mariquita (it means ladybug in Spanish), Flynne grows medicinal herbs and flowers and explores her Mexican roots and ancestry. You’ll find many herbs that nourish nervous system and aid with anxiety, sleep, digestion, gut health, and respiratory health. Flynne’s holistic approach to nourishment applies not only to our own bodies, but to the land and our communities too. For example, during the wildfires, Flynne harvested herbs to assemble steam packs, which were distributed to the community via mutual aid volunteers. You can find Mariquita Medicinals infused oils, salves, teas, tonics, and bouquets at the upcoming Come Thru Market, Rocky Butte Farmer’s Market, Hawthorne Farmer’s Market, and more.
After touring the farm, we enjoyed a delicious lunch by David Sai, Alex Saw, and Nick Sherbo of farmers market stand turned restaurant Rangoon Bistro. I adore their thokes (the chickpea tofu!), and the khao pyan sane is an oversized rice noodle veggie dumpling of pure joy. If you haven’t visited their brick and mortar at the Breathe Building yet, get yourself over there!
I was invited by Growing Gardens to this farm tour. As always, all opinions are my own.