PORTLAND, Ore. — There's a farm in the middle of Portland that gives people who’ve lost loved ones a place to find comfort and support.
"We like to create a safe space for folks to come out here and share their stories and make sure they don’t feel alone," said Stacey Givens, owner of The Side Yard Farm and Kitchen.
Tucked away in Northeast Portland's Cully neighborhood, The Side Yard brings people together in more ways than one.
"We host a wide variety of events April through October, from brunches, bike and movie night, BIPOC and queer farmer’s markets," said Givens.
Givens bought the one-acre property 14 years ago with a goal of providing a safe, inclusive space. One of the monthly events hosted there was born out of the pain of losing her father.
“I’d go to grief groups at hospitals that just didn’t feel — they were triggering because maybe you lost your person at the hospital," said Givens. "So I was like, I have a farm and it’s really peaceful out here. Why don’t I bring people out here that have had loss in their lives out well and we can all share a meal?"
The grief group, known as the "Lost Table," started at the farm 10 years ago with people bringing the favorite dish of the person they lost.
Jessica Barber jointed the group about two years ago after her only sibling passed.
"I brought homemade kombucha that I started brewing a few weeks after my brother passed away," Barber recalled.
She added, "I found that talking to strangers who have been through something very similar is a lot more helpful than talking to people you know that you’re comfortable with that don’t know what you’re going through."
Michael Hayhurst agrees. When he lost his partner, the group brought him comfort.
"Finding a group that come together, that talk about their journeys, their grief journey — it was very peaceful," he said.
The farm-to-table experience with food to nourish both body and soul.
"We like to create a safe space for folks to come out here and share their stories and make sure they don’t feel alone," said Givens.
The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen hosts The Lost Table grieving group once a month. The next one is on June 23rd. The gatherings are free and everyone is welcome.'