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Portland Nursery

Abernethy Elementary School

It's interesting how things change, come apart and get put back together, sometimes...


When the progressive Environmental Middle School shared space with Abernethy School, they established an exemplary series of garden and habitat areas around the school grounds.

They were, in fact, one of the beginning recipients of donated material from Portland Nursery and early on set a standard for schoolyard gardens in this area.


They eventually outgrew that space, expanded to K-8, relocated to available space in what had been Sunnyside Elementary School and renamed themselves Sunnyside Environmental School. (They are busy gardening in their new space, and will be featured in a future Profile).

Meanwhile, Edwards Elementary School had created a “Garden of Wonders” under the watchful eye and boundless energy of one Linda Colwell. Their gardening program was in an upward swing when district redistribution and school closures brought their momentum to a halt with the closing of Edwards Elementary.


But wait…there was extensive garden space already in place at Abernethy; Linda was working with Portland Public School’s Nutritional Services to put into place an experimental cafeteria program that relied on fresh, locally grown and on-premises

made food, rather than pre-made meals shipped cross-country and revived in a steam table. The idea took hold, and so Linda put on her chef’s whites and became Abernethy’s new Lunch Lady.

In addition, here was this incredible garden space, and here was someone who had created and run a school gardening program and was now apron-deep in the eating end of school edible gardening. Why not do both? Why not connect them together? And so Abernethy’s Garden of Wonders was born.


During the 2005-06 school year, the students of Abernethy were treated not only to fresh food from a few miles away, but also from a mere few feet away, as they started to grow some of the vegetables for their own school salad bar. They had fun. They incorporated parts of many different curriculums into the garden: Math, Art, Science, History, Geography and Social Studies.

More about Abernethy Schoool

What Environmental Middle School left behind was re-established; what was begun at Edwards Elementary was revived; Abernethy was able to incorporate and expand its own programs and take on an adventurous project that could have wonderful ramifications district-wide. Win, win and win.

Visit Abernethy School.

Growing Gardens

We were proud to be a sponsor of the Reading, Writing and Radicchio event held at Abernethy, in October, 2006.

You can also read an article by Linda Colwell, describing the creation of the Scratch Kitchen at Abernethy, in the August/September issue (free!) of Edible Portland. We at Portland Nursery have participated in all these programs, past and present. We look forward to helping them into a hopefully bright future. See Edible Portland online.

Read more about the elementary school at their website Abernethy Elementary School

Planting seeds

Abernethy School

Contact us...

For information on how we can help, please send an email to corinar (at) portlandnursery (dot) com