Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feedback from Rainier Valley about the Seattle Community Farm

At our March 3rd meeting we learned a lot about what Rainier Valley wants from the Seattle Community Farm. 

We wanted to give Rainier Vista residents the opportunity to formulate design ideas for the Seattle Community Farm that will be constructed in the neighborhood starting in May.  This garden space will belong to the community, so the ideal design needs to reflect the preferences of the community members and meet programmatic needs.

Our landscape architect, Eric Higbee, and P-Patch Coordinator, Laura Raymond, present the survey

Meeting Feedback
We created visual, hands-on, and easy to translate surveys to determine community member preferences.

According to the survey results, the garden design should follow these general guidelines:

-     General garden aesthetic: tidy and well kept aesthetic

-     Garden beds: organic shapes, sustainable and natural materials 

-     Fences: inviting and natural looking and not too obtrusive

-     Gathering places: covered gathering space with tables

We also asked the five language groups (English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tigrinya, and Somali) what they would like to do and eat during free time in the garden.  Residents came up with everything from eating and cooking, to story telling, visiting, dancing and playing games.  Foods ranged from traditional foods to typical American picnic fare.

Residents also drew pictures of a farm.  Many included animals and shed/barn structures.  Many had fruit bearing trees and vegetables in beds. 

What we know coming out of the meeting
Residents are excited about the garden and have definite opinions about garden appearance and purpose. Preference was expressed for tidy and neat, yet lush and green spaces.  We also learned that we need to be more specific about what the garden is and how the programs there will work.

What’s Next?
The landscape architect is preparing three designs that incorporate the above feedback. These designs should be finished by next week and in late April, we will hold a community meeting to choose among the three designs!
We will be in the Rainier Vista neighborhood over the next few weeks, visiting and distributing flyers for the new meeting.

We hope that final construction documents will be formed from the outcome of this meeting.  Next, construction can start in the middle of May and that community work parties can begin in June, with the first beds planted that month!

If you have any questions about the results of our meeting on March 3rd, or how to be involved in the future, please contact Jamie Robinson or Leslie Heimer at or (206) 694.6829.

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