ASLA Oregon LANDbytes APRIL 2012 Feature:
Bend Pine Nursery Community Garden Design Charrette
By Robin Gyorgyfalvy, ASLA Oregon Public Awareness Advocate
Spring has returned to the east side of the Cascades and the Understory is beginning to unveil its continuing story. Last August, the 08.17.11 Understory event in Bend was a design charrette for Alford Acres. The goal of the design charrette was to persuade Habitat for Humanity to include a community garden open space within their proposed Alford Acres housing development as a place for residents to garden and raise food for Common Table, a non-profit cafe designed to feed all people. This purposeful event was one of many in Oregon and across the country that would collectively launch ASLA's National Public Awareness Campaign and tell the world what landscape architects do and how they create healthy and livable public spaces.
In Bend, the 08.17.11 Understory event brought together landscape architects, artists, master gardeners, permaculturists, the Food Policy Council, the Green Building Institute for Sustainability, Habitat for Humanity, Bend 2030 Community Vision, and specialists whose sole focus was the design of beautiful and productive agricultural community gardens. A wave of growing interest and establishment of community gardens is rapidly sweeping across Central Oregon. The enthusiasm and genuine interest of the design charrette participants has been reflected in their willingness to share their knowledge and expertise on this growing trend of developing community gardens.
Due to the momentum generated by the new collaborative interests from the Alford Acres design charrette, another community garden design charrette was held on April 12, 2012. This special event was hosted and organized by Deschutes National Forest employees Thom Hittlet, USDA People's Garden Representative and Robin Gyorgyfalvy, ASLA Oregon Public Awareness Advocate. The selected site was the Bend Pine Nursery Park adjacent to the Deschutes National Forest office building. It was a unique opportunity during National Landscape Architecture Month to spotlight the design talents of landscape architects Chelsea Schneider, Marlys Underwood (Chapter President) and Eileen Obermiller of the High Desert Oregon ASLA Chapter.
Once again, the collective efforts of landscape architects, master gardeners, permaculturists, botanists, Food Policy Council planners, garden designers, and forestry specialists created community garden conceptual designs. In addition to being functional gardening places, a lot of thought was put into the educational value of an outdoor place to grow food in such a challenging high desert environment. As much emphasis was placed upon aesthetics and creating a welcoming and enjoyable community space with central gathering areas under shaded trellises and whimsical art and water features and play areas for all ages. Master Gardener Linda Denall captured the spirit of the design charrette when she remarked “It’s amazing how this blank piece of land suddenly came to life and was full of creative energy, growth, and community.”
The continuing momentum from the 08.17.11 Understory to the April 12th design charrette during National Landscape Architecture Month will be showcased to the community on 04.26.12. The High Desert Oregon ASLA Chapter and design charrette participants will be displaying their appetizing community garden designs at coffee shops and various locations in downtown Bend. What a great way to design community gardens, find out more about what landscape architects do in Bend, and celebrate Frederick Law Olmsted's birthday. Let them eat cake indeed as we also celebrate the continuing community garden design conversation in Central Oregon.