Seeder & Feeder: Stacey Givens, The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen
The Farm: 3 urban farm plots in The Cully neighborhood of NE Portland – vegetables, culinary herbs for Portland chefs & the community
What They Seed: Organically grown, urban-farmed vegetables, fruit and culinary herbs – DIY workshops & classes – kids camps
What They Feed: The Side Yard Kitchen, private catering – nomadic suppers & brunches
Their Story: Stacey Givens was born into a large Greek family (the youngest of seven kids) in Redondo Beach in Southern California. Her mother Cathy would cook everyday and make everything from scratch. Cathy grew up in a small village in Greece where they raised animals and cultivated everything they needed. From a young age Stacey was immersed in food and thought it was entirely common to come home from school to fresh baking and a daily family feast. Eventually she worked for her older brother who owned the busy little Sandwich Saloon in San Pedro. “That,” she says, “is where I learned to get my ass kicked.”
For the past 10 years Stacey has been in Portland, working in various kitchens from Rocket (now Noble Rot), Lincoln Restaurant, Sous Chef at Vino Paradiso and Chef at Raptor Ridge Winery. When at Rocket, she worked with her now-mentor Marc Boucher-Colbert on the rooftop garden of the restaurant. That was her first exposure to urban gardening and look at her now.
Five years ago a friend introduced Stacey to her current landlord, who had originally purchased the 1/3 acre site with hopes of getting an urban farmer onto the land. She began growing vegetables and culinary herbs for her chef friends and hosting sliding scale brunch at the farm for people in the neighborhood.
Above all, Stacey does an amazing job of connecting with the community around her: she has grown The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen into a farm that grows food for her neighbors, hosts celebrations and events, provides space for kids camps and chicken slaughtering workshops, bringing people closer to the food they are eating.
With the nomadic urban farm to table events Stacey sources ingredients from her own farm and from within 2 miles of the farm as much as she can. Some of her neighbor farmers include Red Truck Homestead, Cully Neighborhood Farms, Sun Blossom Farm and Simpson St Farm. Her ultimate goal is to provide up to 90% of the product for her events and catering company.
The Side Yard Farm has recently expanded to include a third 1 acre plot around the corner from the original location. This has allowed for even more community programs, more infrastructure for events and over 40 raised beds to grow beautiful vegetables and herbs for Portland chefs & neighbors.
Favorite things to grow:
fennel for pollen + seed (plus she uses the stalks in her smoker)
rat tail radish pods
“it’s all about the people”
“I’m obsessed with people & relationships and love talking”