CitySoil Farm is all about partnerships. King County, King Conservation District (KCD), Tilth Alliance, and DIRT Corps joined to create this unique 1.5 acre demonstration garden. Located at King County’s South Treatment Plant in Renton, CitySoil has transformed an unused area of the grounds into a teaching farm. CitySoil partners envision a future where education leads to sustainable food systems in urban areas.
Partnerships also help CitySoil deliver healthy food to people who need it. In 2016, CitySoil delivered 3,100 pounds of fresh produce to the White Center Food Bank. These deliveries included culturally specific foods requested by the food bank.
White Center Food Bank was started in the mid-1970’s to assist people in the White Center and Highline areas during a major economic downturn. The food bank, about 15 minutes from South Plant, is a natural place to donate harvests from CitySoil. The donations do much more than provide calories and nutrients.
“You helped a family come together around a table, helped a child go to school full, and a grandmother cook her favorite dish,” says Ian Smithgall, Development Director.
Many hands made this happen at CitySoil Farm. Emily Meshumar, farm manager, and coordinators Fedora Williams and Lia Spianolo guided efforts. Courtnee Fallon Rex, a DIRT Corps trainee, helped a day each week from May-September. Jarret Griesemer from KCD removed invasive blackberry plants and built hugelkultur mounds. High school students put in over 500 hours at the farm. Tilth Alliance hosted a 4-hour master composting class for 15 adults.
Donations helped nurture crops. King County contributed recycled water and GroCo compost made from Loop® biosolids. A Renton coffee company provided burlap bags, and a tree service delivered mulch.
King County provided not just the land, but also tools, seeds, equipment, and a greenhouse.
Smithgall says that contributions from project partners, students and volunteers fed over 1,500 families a month.
“Thank you for your gift,” he wrote, “and your willingness to plant whatever we have asked you to grow.”
You can join us at CitySoil to learn about urban agriculture and to help keep healthy meals on the table for people in need. Visit our Web page to find out how to volunteer, take a class, and join events.