Latino and Mesoamerican Indigenous families in Lincoln County generally have less access to land for growing their own food. Due to language barriers – most of the residents speak Spanish or Mam, a language spoken by more than half-million people in Guatemala – they have less access to gardening information and programs that Oregon State University Extension Service offers in English.
To fill this gap, Renée Johnson, OSU Extension Master Gardener program assistant in Lincoln County, worked with the community coalition Juntos de Colaboracion, Lincoln County Public Health, the Olalla Center and volunteers to support the Latino and Mesoamerican Indigenous communities. Feedback from a survey indicated a desire for a community garden where the families could grow culturally relevant food.
As a result, the Extension Master Gardener program spearheaded efforts to increase food security by creating a new community garden space for 12 Latino and Mesoamerican Indigenous families at the Lincoln County Commons. In addition to creating the garden, Master Gardeners supported teaching efforts of Siembra la Cena (Seed to Supper) in Spanish via Zoom, along with workshops in the garden for Spanish-speaking families.
As a result, 12 Latino and Mesoamerican Indigenous families were able to grow and harvest vegetables and herbs in 16 raised beds at the new site. The creation of the garden led to new outreach approaches that increase access to both land and information for underserved community members.