CitySoil Farm at King County’s South Treatment Plant in Renton was able to donate 3,762 lbs. of fresh, culturally-relevant fruits and vegetables to the White Center Food Bank this year – even thought we had to cancel our in-person education programs and volunteers.
In a typical year, our utility’s education team brings hundreds of students and volunteers to the farm for “service and learning” educational programs. However, in 2020 due to COVID-19, in-person programs were canceled, plantings had to be adjusted, and the farm relied heavily on internal and partner staff to help maintain the farm and harvest vital food. The food bank also faced a decrease in grocery store donations and a rapid increase in community need.
One highlight from this year’s donations were the apples. Mara Bernard, food bank Community Farms and Facilities Manager, said, “Many of our customers use apples as religious offerings. Having ‘special apples’ that taste amazing and look beautiful was another way we worked together to make sure we’re offering relevant food for our community.”
Mara remembers hearing one food bank customer say, “I come to this food bank because they have such beautiful fruits and vegetables, and that’s what I like to eat. It’s always changing – like a farmers market.”
Our goal was to keep the plants healthy and produce food for the White Center community, despite the pandemic. Thanks to the hard work of our farm partners at the White Center Food Bank, Dirt Corps, and King Conservation District, we were able to accomplish our goal for 2020!