Growing Food at the Table

Photo by P. Annie Kirk

You’ve probably heard of the Farm-to-Table movement that encourages using locally grown food to produce delicious, healthy meals. Increasing interest in CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and community and home gardens are part of that trend. P. Annie Kirk, Red Bird Restorative Gardens, and Kevin Schindler, Autumn Leaf Landscaping, have taken Farm-to-Table a step further by creating a Farm-at-Table display that can be seen and enjoyed at Bauman Farms in Gervais.

Both Annie and Kevin grew up around agriculture in the Willamette Valley and they wanted to find a way to express that connection to others in an aesthetically pleasing, representational, functional and sustainable design. Bauman Farms, a multi-generation family-owned farm and garden center, was the perfect place to try out the concept. The Bauman family willingly provided the space, which has been enjoyed by customer visiting the destination nursery since spring of this year.

Photo by P. Annie Kirk

Imagine…a table made of found and recycled materials that incorporates a water rill (a channel that moves water from one place to another) and planters for seasonal herbs, edibles and decorative plants. Water bubbles up and traverses the center of the table to an urn where the overflowing water finds its way to an underground reservoir, from which the water is pumped back into the rill. The rill represents the importance of water to our sources of food; springs from which water often flows; the irrigation of food in the field and greenhouse; and the recycling of water for reuse. As you see from the photo, it also can nourish animal life. And the rill can be used to cool the locally produced wine you’re serving for dinner!

Photo by P. Annie Kirk

Strawberries, lavender, edible flowers, lettuce, peppers, chard, basil, parsley, rosemary and sage can be planted and changed with the seasons to enhance the food served and communal experience at the table. Sedums, cut greens, berries and holiday decorations could enhance the table during the winter months.

Red Bird Design and Autumn Leaf Landscaping will be creating showcase gardens for the Yard, Garden & Patio Show, February 8-10, at the Oregon Convention Center. (FYI, the table and other elements in the design, such as the gas-fueled fire pit, seating and arbor, are available for purchase.)