Fiskars’ “Project Orange Thumb” Tills, Instills Community Spirit in Portland

Communities and neighborhoods around the world have been re-thinking their surroundings in recent years. With a shifting economy, a growing awareness of the importance of healthy foods, and an increasing appreciation for beautiful common spaces, neighbors are becoming neighborly again and banding together to shape their small slice of earth through community gardens.

With that in mind, Fiskars® is sowing the seeds of community togetherness with the return of its philanthropic initiative, Project Orange Thumb. On April 28, the North Brentwood Community Garden will become the first 2010 recipient of a community garden makeover, as Fiskars partners with the City of Portland, The Home Depot Foundation, and community leaders, to build and plant a food-yielding garden. The festive, one-day celebration and beautification project will include the donation of a range of Fiskars tools, gardening materials, seedlings and start-up plants.

Festivities begin at 8 AM and run through early afternoon. Twenty-three lucky gardening enthusiasts were selected from the Portland Parks & Recreations’ waiting list of more than 70 to become seasonal owner-operators of the Project Orange Thumb plots.

Fiskars, which is one of the world’s leading suppliers of tools for the home, garden and outdoors, founded Project Orange Thumb in 2002 and, to date, has donated nearly $1 million to community gardens through the program. Baltimore, Atlanta, Toronto, Orlando, San Francisco and Chicago have been recipients of past community garden makeovers and neighborhood beautification. Columbus, Ohio (June 2) and Vancouver (June 23) are the other beneficiaries of the project in 2010

“In addition to the great practical benefits of gardening, we understand that when the tools are right, the activity comes with a powerful sense of achievement and creativity,” said Paul Tonnesen, President of Fiskars. “The Fiskars team is honored to roll up our sleeves and work side by side with the Brentwood neighborhood to help them create something beautiful and useful.

Gardening remains one of nation’s favorite pastimes, both at the home and community level. More than 41 million U.S. households grew vegetable gardens in 2009, while approximately 19.5 million households grew herb gardens and 16.5 million grew fruits during the same period. Surveys indicated that 37% of households planned to increase the size of their edible gardens in 2010. There are approximately 20,000 community gardens nationwide.

Images provided by Renee Moog, Global Village Photography.



ABOUT FISKARS

Fiskars, the World’s #1 scissors brand, is a leading global supplier of consumer products for the home, garden and outdoors. The group has a strong portfolio of trusted international brands including: Iittala, Gerber, Silva, and Buster. Founded in 1649, Fiskars has over 360 years of product quality excellence and is Finland's oldest company.

ABOUT PORTLAND’S COMMUNITY GARDENS

Portland Parks & Recreation’s Community Garden program has provided gardening opportunities for the physical and social benefit of the people and neighborhoods of Portland since 1975. There are 34 community gardens located throughout the city, developed and operated by volunteers and PP&R staff, offering a variety of activities. Visit portlandparks.org for more information on the program and how to participate.