We think about more than locum tenens and physician staffing at VISTA. In fact the company encourages community involvement and gives every employee a day of paid time for volunteer work or community service.
I have the great pleasure of sitting on the board of directors for Janus Youth Programs, a large non-profit organization based in Portland. One of our most exciting programs is Village Gardens, an 85,000 square foot urban agriculture program that uses sustainable organic gardening and farming to increase access to healthy food, improve economic opportunities and build unity with low-income residents of North Portland.
The program is based in the St. Johns Woods public housing development; New Columbia, the Housing Authority of Portland’s newly built Hope VI development; and on an acre of metro land on Sauvie Island. It offers individual and family garden plots, employment opportunities for adults and teens, after-school and summer activities for children, homework clubs, a mobile market shuttle, a youth-run entrepreneurial business growing and marketing specialty salad mixes at local farmers markets, and our newest venture–livestock.
In an effort to provide locally produced organic protein to the community while building economic opportunities, a committee of adult community members has partnered with younger members to jointly raise laying hens. The project—or more accurately, one of its participating hens—produced the first egg this month. It’s a great milestone for the program!
To find out more about Janus Youth Programs and Village Gardens, check out these links: http://www.janusyouth.org/what-we-do/urban-agriculture-services.php http://villagegardenspdx.wordpress.com/