After a lengthy search for space, a partnership was started between Lettuce Link and the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA). SHA manages low-income and mixed-income housing developments throughout Seattle. A piece of land in the Rainier Vista re-development that was unused for years is now the Seattle Community Farm. Rainier Vista is in the Rainier Valley neighborhood in Southeast Seattle. The Farm got started with money from the CFP grant, a Parks and Green Spaces Levy from the City of Seattle, and many other donations. Numerous groups have donated funds, materials, and labor to help establish the farm’s infrastructure. Rainier Vista is a mixed-income housing development, and includes families speaking 56 different languages, so the farm is particularly focused on community involvement and how to equitably offer programs and services.
Overview of the Seattle Community Farm
The Seattle Community Farm (SCF) has many goals in the community: getting fresh produce to those who struggle to afford it, educating children and adults about growing and cooking their own food, and connecting people across cultural and linguistic barriers to garden together. The farm is maintained by volunteers and a few Lettuce Link staff members. Some of these volunteers are low-income residents who have signed up for a Work Trade, a program which allows them to volunteer in exchange for vegetables. This program is highly informal, and anyone who has trouble affording produce can participate. The farm’s remaining produce goes to the Rainier Valley Food Bank.
Besides recruiting volunteers, we engage people and groups in the community through various activities and events at the farm. We host field trips for schools and local youth groups throughout the growing season, and during the summer we run an educational gardening program in partnership with the Rainier Valley Boys and Girls Club. We also host groups from local organizations during work parties, such as the day treatment program for mentally ill adults from Asian Counseling and Referral Service.
We also get involved with other events and groups in the community, such as potlucks, cooking classes, and parties at the farm during the summer. Residents of the neighborhood enjoy walking through the farm and looking at all the beautiful plants. The neighborhood is incredibly diverse, our goal is to offer many kinds of activities so everyone can feel comfortable participating.
The Seattle Community Farm (SCF) has many goals in the community: getting fresh produce to those who struggle to afford it, educating children and adults about growing and cooking their own food, and connecting people across cultural and linguistic barriers to garden together.