PORT TOWNSEND — The Recovery Cafe patio, with its tables, chairs and view of Kah Tai Lagoon, looks like a good place to sit back, breathe the fresh air, and chill.
It has become that kind of place.
As of this spring, though, the patio in back of the cafe at 19th and Kearney streets is transforming into a place for work, growth and nourishment. In support of everybody who comes to the Recovery Cafe, the Nordland Garden Club and YourTinyFarm.org have established a substantial kitchen garden on the patio.
The three-way partnership has a single aim: supplying fresh produce for the Recovery Cafe’s weekly lunches and brunches.
The cafe, an arm of Jefferson County’s Dove House Advocacy Services, opened in 2020 as a haven for people in recovery from addiction or trauma of any kind. These days there are support groups, social activities, visits from the no-cost JC MASH healthcare providers and free meals prepared in the cafe kitchen.
Leslie Watkins, Alice Tibbals and Sandy Haynes of the Nordland Garden Club connected with the cafe as they were looking for a place to share their gardening skills.
The women applied for a $1,000 Plant America grant from National Garden Clubs Inc., and when they won it, they found more support from a couple of local businesses. Shold Landscape Products delivered a load of gravel and dirt for free, and then Cenex in Chimacum gave the club a 15 percent discount on the big troughs they’re using as container gardens.
Because of that discount, the women were able go from the planned four troughs to five. Those will be filled with leafy green vegetables, herbs and strawberries — “as many as we can get to sprout,” Tibbals said.
The 85-year-old Nordland Garden Club is collaborating with Your Tiny Farm, a nonprofit organization just getting started in Washington state.
Its mission, founder and Port Townsend resident Carolyn Lewis said, is to turn city spaces and backyards into fruit and vegetable gardens — and then share the harvest to local people who are in need.
Already established in Cloverdale, Rincon Valley, Healdsburg, Geyserville and Windsor, Calif., Your Tiny Farm’s first Washington garden is at the Recovery Cafe.
Lewis and her husband, Tim Hylas, also volunteer inside the cafe, he as a cook and she as the starter of its Facebook page. And Lewis is a Cafe Companion, who spends time conversing and sharing meals with members. The place has a welcoming and nondenominational feel to it, she said, adding newcomers are encouraged.
Free meals are served at 12:30 p.m. Thursdays and at 10:30 a.m. on Fridays; to learn more about the cafe, see https://www.recoverycafejc.org, find the “Dove House-Recovery Cafe” page on Facebook or phone 360-385-5292.
Meantime, as Your Tiny Farm fledges, Lewis is looking for other local gardening spaces. Much like the Food Bank Farm and Gardens network run by volunteers around East Jefferson County, she wants to find garden plots for growing vegetables — with and for people in need. Information is found at YourTinyFarm.org and by emailing [email protected]
The trio of partners in this venture — the Recovery Cafe, the Nordland Garden Club and Your Tiny Farm — together seek to give people a sense of belonging and empowerment.
The cafe is open Wednesday through Friday, with the complete calendar of activities posted on the front door and at https://www.recoverycafejc.org/#calendar.
As for the garden club, it has long been a organization built on the friendships among its women members. They continue to award scholarships to local students and donate to food banks and school programs around East Jefferson County.
To fund such things, the 57-member club holds fundraisers, including a major one next month.
The Nordland Garden Club will hold its annual plant sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 23 at their longtime clubhouse, 320 Garden Club Road on Marrowstone Island.
Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]