A map of southern Oregon counties.

A look at the people and organizations coming together to do extraordinary things for their community during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This series is produced by Julie Akins in partnership with Southern Oregon PBS.

Ep. 1: Solidarity Gardens

On this episode of Southern Oregon Responds, we meet J'amie and Toni, a young couple who love each other and gardening together. As a result they met with a few other people throughout the Rogue Valley who have soil, plant starts and land to assist the process of "Solidarity Gardens." They assist back yard food growers and in exchange only ask that they share their crops with others in their area. They receive no pay and money never changes hands in this casual gift from one person to another. They have so far worked on 15 gardens scattered from Central Point through Ashland.

If you'd like more information on this grass roots association you may contact the reporter. julieanneakins@gmail.com


Ep. 2: Talent Maker City

Talent Maker City focuses on providing high end manufacturing equipment in a creative environment to tackle today's difficult problems. TMC harnesses the talent and knowledge of area engineers, fabricators, builders and designers to collaborate with students to build what the community needs. During the pandemic the group made manifolds and filters for ventilators, personal protection equipment for medical professionals and work on a daily basis to create what products that are needed on a 24 hour turn around.

Talent Maker City wishes to thank its many partners such as Asante and the Cow Creek Band for their generosity and support.

To learn more: https://www.talentmakercity.org

Southern Oregon Solutions features the Hutchings family of Medford who have converted their home into an assembly line for hand stitching masks during the Coronavirus. The masks are free and constructed through donations of fabric and elastic to the family which cuts, irons, installs filters and stitches them together. In all they've made more than 1,100 masks for people who work in essential services and members of the public who want and need a mask.

The family of six each takes a role in hand sewing these masks as a labor of love and care for the community. "I felt nervous and uneasy when the virus hit," says Gwen Hutchings who came up with the idea, "but when I started doing something to help I felt much better."

The Hutchings family, creating solutions in the midst of the pandemic featured on Southern Oregon Responds with Southern Oregon Solutions.

About the Producer

Julie Akins

Julie Akins is a multi media journalist who has lived in the Rogue Valley for the past 11 years. Her background includes investigative reporting for television stations in Seattle, Tampa, Baltimore and San Francisco. She taught journalism at Southern Oregon University and Emerson College in Boston. Akins continues to contribute as a free lance writer for several publications including Yes! Magazine and Huffington Post and her work has been seen on CNN, NBC Universal and syndicated across the country. Akins has also directed newsrooms in Medford and written for the Medford Mail Tribune and Ashland Tidings. She has been a host of Southern Oregon PBS broadcasts for the past five years and holds dear an interview with Ken Burns for his work on his Viet Nam doc-series.

To make a recommendation for a future feature, please email jlebeau@sopbs.org with the subject line "Southern Oregon Responds" or call 541-200-2053.