Edible Garden Tours are organized by the Food Action Team to give both new and experienced gardeners an opportunity to learn and grow. The tours have typically featured local gardens in which the hosts share how they’ve transformed their available space, selected what to plant, and overcame any challenges. There is always time for questions and exploration.
Edible Garden Tours started in 2012, when the Food Action Team organized a series of neighborhood garden tours focusing on edible front yard landscaping. We wanted the tours to be neighborhood-based for a couple reasons:
- Gardeners learn from each other, and we wanted to help encourage these connections among neighbors.
- We wanted the tours to be walking or biking tours, in order to keep the carbon footprint to a minimum.
Our July 2012 tour focused on the northwest section of Corvallis, in an area bordered by 6th and 15th, and Harrison and Fillmore. There were 7 stops on this tour, ranging from rental properties that made extensive use of the streetscape, to small raised-bed gardens, to the Spartan Garden at Corvallis High School. We were amazed when about 60 people showed up for the tour!
The August 2012 tour was in south Corvallis, near the intersection of Alexander and Crystal Lake Drive. There were 8 stops on this tour, which started at Sunrise Community Garden—a privately owned garden that includes 6 individual family plots and a large plot gardened cooperatively by about 20 people. Again, this tour included a real diversity of sites, and it ended at the home of Andrew Millison, who teaches permaculture at OSU. Again, there were about 60 people in attendance.
Our 2013 tours featured additional gardens in South Corvallis and in neighborhoods in the SW Western Blvd area. The diversity was amazing, from small yards to community gardens.
In 2014, we expanded the program by offering coaching to new gardeners who agreed to include their gardens on the tours. The areas covered included northwest Corvallis neighborhoods adjacent to Calvin Community Gardens (more than 90 people attended this tour!) to the Lincoln School Garden and additional private gardens in south Corvallis.
On each of these tours, we provided handouts that told something about the sites we visited, as well as tips for converting lawn to edible landscaping. The Corvallis community has been very responsive to the tours, and there are other communities that are interested in what we’ve done. So we’re going to create a “toolbox” to provide support to other communities that want to do similar tours.
From 2015 to 2019, we expanded to include backyards, small farms, and community gardens, forming partnerships with other nonprofits to make this event as informative, nourishing and fun as possible.
Edible Garden Tours were on pause during the height of the pandemic (2020-2021), but resumed in 2022.