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Alice Aikens

Volunteer manager Alice Aikens oversees 45 plots in the Amazon Community Garden. "We have very low turnover," she observes. "This year we had four openings -- they were snapped up in 10 minutes." (Other community gardens still have space -- inquire at 682-4800.) In 1942, as a three-year-old Sansai (third-generation Japanese-American), Alice Endo moved with her family from California to Utah on a two-week deadline to avoid being sent to a concentration camp. "It was a hardship," she recounts. "We lived in a warehouse, in a chicken coop, in back of a dry-cleaning shop for years." After high school and college in Salt Lake City, she taught junior high before she married Mel Aikens, who joined the UO anthropology faculty in 1970. "We have so many trees at home," Aikens says. "I signed up for a plot in '91 so I could grow vegetables and flowers that need sun." Two years later, she was asked to manage the site. "I said, "I guess so, then,'" she relates. "And here I am!" The output of one communal plot plus excess produce from other gardeners is hauled off weekly in season to Food for Lane County. "Last year we donated over 2000 pounds," Aikens notes.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 27 March 2003

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