Monday, December 6, 2010

Giving Gardeners: Steve Tracy, Marra Farm

Steve, holding a bundle of radishes at Marra Farm
Every Friday during the growing season, Steve Tracy arrives at Marra Farm, pulls the hose from the shed, plugs the drains, and fills each side of the sink with clean water for washing vegetables. Rain or shine, you will find Steve washing, weighing, and stacking bins full of radishes, beets, chard, broccoli and squash all morning, finishing just in time for the 1pm pick-up from the Providence Regina House food bank truck.

Not only does Steve have a deep commitment to Lettuce Link and garden education, but he has been living in the area for 62 years and currently resides in same house in Burien where he was raised. He says that in addition to the thousands of pounds of food grown for the food bank each year. Marra Farm “is an important place [in the community] for networking and education for ‘one-time’ volunteers about food and agriculture systems.”

Steve’s dedication to helping change the food system started in his mom’s vegetable garden, where he learned basic gardening skills. Later, during the oil crisis of the 1970s, Steve joined with others to explore alternative ways of energy and food production. He has spent time on the board of Seattle Tilth, taken permaculture courses, and always has an eye out for new projects. “There is a vacant lot across from the library where I envision a great community garden, but I have not pursued that dream yet,” he says. Some of Steve’s greatest contributions to Lettuce Link are his stunning photographs of Marra Farm produce. Ranging from the colorful complexity of a simple radish to a bee landing on a flower’s anther, his pictures capture the delicate beauty of our food.

Steve has been a regular volunteer at Marra Farm for five years and plans to continue indefinitely. Thank you Steve for your dedicated service and elegant portraits!

--Blair Hensen

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