Rodney Dale Bender – 1970~2015

Growing Gardens mourns the loss of Rodney Bender, our dear friend, and for over ten years, our Home Gardens Program Manager. Rodney celebrated life every day. He enjoyed the outdoors, camping, hiking, gardening, cooking, trying and learning new things, and he gently reminded us that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. Rodney loved spending time with our home gardeners and visiting their gardens. And they loved him back. He helped build many hundreds of food gardens in Portland, and he taught thousands of people how to grow their own food. He mentored so many of us, and over the years, he embodied all that was Growing Gardens. Recently he worked for Portland’s Community Gardens, but he continued to volunteer for us. Rodney was so full of joy and fun, and we miss him greatly.

Help us celebrate Rodney by volunteering to do one of the things he loved… Help us build more gardens. Consider joining one of the garden installation teams on Saturday, October 17th. For more information or to sign up for TEAM RODNEY, please email Cristy at Growing Gardens.


Have a ghoulishly grand time digging in the dirt, spreading compost and planting garlic to ward off vampires. A perfect beginning to the spookiest day of the year and your participation keeps the walking dead from hunting you down for dinner! Join us now and don’t forget your garlic wreath and wooden stake!

Growing Gardens’ mission is to reduce hunger. We work with thousands of volunteers to build home and school organic vegetable gardens. We provide three years of support, supplies, seeds and plants, mentoring and more. When we support low-income Portland residents with the resources and education they need to grow their own food—they become healthier, more physically active and self-reliant— and that’s a recipe for strong, sustainable and vibrant communities.

plant distribution day

You can help people grow their own food.