Kim Johnson standing beside Roger Peet in front of the Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly mural on 10th and Washington in Cottage Grove. MIKE ROTHGEB/THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
Cottage Grove is known for its beautifully painted murals that grace many of the historic buildings lining its streets. Another mural has recently been completed, and is a welcome addition to the Cottage Grove collection. On the corner of 10th and Washington, Portland Artist Roger Peet painted a breathtaking mural that spans an entire side of the Bohemia Food Hub building.
Peet’s mural is a beautiful depiction of the Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly in all its magnificent glory, which, unfortunately, is in real danger of becoming extinct. Cottage Grove was selected for this mural because the butterfly once flourished in The Willamette Valley. Due to the high level of urbanization, however, the butterfly’s habitat has changed, and the species cannot adapt. Peet coordinates with a non-profit organization known as The Center for Biological Diversity to raise awareness about mankind’s impact on the environment and to encourage conservation. This is one of 15 murals across the country sponsored by the Center for Biological Diversity and their Endangered Species Mural Project.
His mural’s unveiling took place on June 29, which gave community members an opportunity to gather at the Bohemia Food Hub building, meet Peet, enjoy refreshments, live local music and learn more about the natural history of the Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly. Peet hopes this project will help people identify with these animals and encourage them to make a difference.
Peet has several other projects in the works, and is coordinating with the Schmidt Ocean Institute and their research vessel, The Falkor. The Falkor discovered the world’s deepest fish inside the Mariana Trench, and Peet will paint a mural inside the staff quarters.
The mural’s unveiling was also beneficial to the Bohemia Food Hub, and gave the Cottage Grove community an inside look into its operations. The Food Hub’s owner Kim Johnson and Peet have known each other for twenty years, and both are originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Johnson mentioned the blank wall to Peet and knew the unveiling of the mural would bring a lot of attention to the area, which she felt was the perfect time for a presentation of her own.
Johnson began Real Live Food five years ago in the Bohemia Food Hub building, but for the last two years, the Food Hub has shifted to more of a commercial kitchen than solely a production space for her business.
Last month, Johnson sold Real Live Food and shifted gears from production to development. There are currently six local businesses utilizing The Food Hub’s workspace, and over the last few years, 12 businesses have started inside its walls. All the businesses currently producing goods are small, one to two person operations.
At the open house, Bohemia Food Hub had several tenants showing their food products to potential customers. Real Life Food, Lola’s Fruit Shrubs and Hot Winter Hot Sauce all made appearances on June 29.
The purpose of Bohemia Food Hub and their commercial kitchen is to provide a supportive start-up atmosphere for new small businesses. Besides the commercial kitchen, The Bohemia Food Hub building also has an office, working and inventory space and walk-in coolers for fresh produce. Johnson even provides an in-house distribution service left over from Real Life Food in the form of a refrigerated truck.
For those interested in using Bohemia Food Hub’s commercial kitchen space, contact Kim Johnson at [email protected], or 541-844-9124. More information about The Center for Biological Diversity can be found at www.diversity.org/murals or by searching #endangeredspeciesmurals on Instagram. Roger Peet is also available as @toosphexy on Social Media.