WorldMark by Wyndham, a vacation club brand, is launching a pilot program called Planting Seeds aimed at introducing guests to the concept of urban permaculture. The program includes interactive workshops and an on-site vertical demo garden, allowing guests to learn about sustainable living and reducing waste by growing their own food. The program is being launched at WorldMark Portland Waterfront Park.

To oversee the program, WorldMark has partnered with Daniel Campbell, a master regenerative urban farmer and the operator of Portland’s PDX Farm. Campbell installed a demo garden on the outdoor patio of WorldMark Portland Waterfront Park, which will be used for monthly workshop series. 

Related: Why regenerative agriculture will reverse climate change

“Access to healthy, organic food doesn’t have to cost a fortune – and, through the application of permaculture principles, it’s probably a lot closer than you might think,” said Daniel Campbell, WorldMark’s Urban Farming Educator. “Teaming up with WorldMark, I look forward to teaching travelers how to follow nature’s lead and use whatever space they have at home to grow their own food, just like we’re doing on this resort patio in the heart of downtown Portland.”

The food produced in the garden will be donated to local families who are part of PDX Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Planting Seeds program

Through the Planting Seeds program, guests will have the opportunity to participate in monthly workshops conducted by Campbell. It will cover various topics related to urban farming, including soil health, fruit pruning, pickling and selecting suitable vegetable species for different climates. Campbell will also address advanced topics such as nitrogen fixation, biochar and native beekeeping based on the participants’ experience levels.

The launch of the Planting Seeds program aligns with WorldMark’s larger environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy and reflects the increasing interest in sustainability among travelers. According to a recent survey conducted by WorldMark, nearly 80% of American travelers consider sustainability an important aspect of their travel experiences. 

“Now more than ever before, travelers are seeking meaningful vacation experiences that emphasize sustainable practices and satiate their desire to learn something new,” said Annie Roberts, SVP Club & Owner Services at WorldMark by Wyndham. “Our Planting Seeds pilot program aims to do just that – taking steps to plant seeds in the minds of our visitors, empowering them with the knowledge and skills they need to create meaningful change in their homes, communities and environment. The wisdom gained through travel experiences like this, is the ultimate souvenir.”

The program aims to promote local, organic food-sourcing and provide communities with access to healthy food, while spreading the word to travelers who will take the information back to their home region.

Urban farming for food insecurity

WorldMark plans to expand the educational program to other urban destinations across its portfolio of more than 20 metropolitan-based properties in the future. The initiative comes at a time when urban farming is gaining popularity worldwide as a means to promote healthy diets, address environmental challenges and transform industrial cities. Research conducted by Arizona State University and Google suggests that rooftop farms and vertical gardens in urban areas could play a crucial role in fighting hunger and reducing emissions. This program emphasizes the importance of sustainable practices and offers guests a chance to learn and engage in urban farming during their vacation.

Urban farming is seen as an important solution to address food insecurity and climate change, with reports of vegetable scarcity and soaring food prices further raising concerns. The U.S. has significant urban area potential for carbon capture, food security and global regeneration, making it an opportune time to join the urban growing movement.

Owners and guests at the WorldMark Portland Waterfront Park can sign up for a complementary monthly session. Currently, the topics and times have been mapped out through February 2024, taking place at either 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. on pre-established dates. 

It makes sense that WorldMark would choose the Portland Waterfront location as the launching point for a campaign focused on the environment. 

Why Portland, Oregon?

Portland, Oregon is widely recognized as a sustainable city due to its innovative practices, commitment to environmental conservation and efforts to promote sustainable living. For example, Portland is renowned for its extensive public transportation system, including buses, light rail, streetcars and commuter trains. The city encourages the use of public transit and provides excellent cycling infrastructure, making it easy for residents to commute without relying on cars.

Portland is often referred to as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. It has an extensive network of bike lanes, dedicated bike paths and bike-sharing programs, which helps reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

Portland’s urban planning prioritizes walkability, creating neighborhoods with a mix of residential, commercial and recreational areas. The city takes pride in its abundant parks and green spaces. Portland boasts a vast network of parks, including the iconic Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the U.S. 

Portland is also a leader in sustainable architecture and green building practices. The city has strict building codes and encourages the use of eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient designs and renewable energy sources in construction projects. 

The entire state of Oregon is also a long-time leader in the areas of recycling and waste reduction. Portland’s goal is to achieve zero waste by 2040.

+ WorldMark by Wyndham 

Images via WorldMark by Wyndham