Americorp Garden Coordinator

Axcelle Bell
Garden Coordinator
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I was born and raised by a single mother outside of Atlanta, GA, and
traveled by train to Portland in 2008 for school, and for the splendor
of the natural environment in the Pacific Northwest. I grew up under
the beautiful deciduous forests of the foothills to the Appalachian
Mountains. As a kid, one of my natural pastimes was to observe and
selectively experiment with the plants, animals and soil around me. This was a slow, experiential, and imaginative process, very much how gardening is. I would sit in my front yard among the hair-cap moss that stands upright like small pine trees, and imagine being an ant or other small creature running bipedally through the lush green thicket.
This kind of imagination, taking hold in nature, allowed for my observations about how the ecosystem worked to take form in the conclusions I drew, and served to reconnect and ground me through hard times. Nature continues to this day to be a source of inspiration and spiritual grounding to me, and a source of wisdom.

My fascination with living things was continuous with my humanist desire for a social fabric of mutual respect, empowerment and social justice later in life, and as I grew up I realized more and more how the larger living world was linked with the human social world. While in college I became interested in social justice and social change. I
became interested in ethics, economy, living ethically and living intentionally. I also discovered my passion for outdoor work while there, working in the Reed Canyon on the conservation crew. I discovered that how we organize around using our natural resources impacts the environment that we live in, and that we seek to conserve. I volunteered with the Reed Community Garden for at least three years before designing my own permaculture-inspired garden, volunteering
with the Urban Farm Collective and with Tryon Life Community Farm. I have also, though briefly, worked at Dancing Roots Farm, an organic farm in Troutdale and continue to volunteer for the Cully Young Farmers Project. My academic background is in the humanities (religion) and environmental studies (history and economics). I am interested in invoking the landscape scale change that will restore the land and heal the people, socially and spiritually. In my spare
time I enjoy, playing and writing music, circus-y things (Aerial and Flow Arts), activism, and spending quality time with my collective household.