Monday, May 2, 2011

Planning and Planting at the Seattle Community Farm

Despite a few cold and rainy days, spring has sprung, and the Seattle Community Farm is finally ready to start planting! This Friday we get our first delivery of partially composted manure. A team of Solid Ground's Washington Reading Corps AmeriCorps members will help us spread the compost over the whole farm. Then we'll till it in, and - voila! - our soil will be ready for planting.

Meanwhile, we're gearing up for summer, which is just around the corner. In May we're starting a four-part gardening class, taught by an educator from Seattle Tilth. We've been doing outreach for the class for a few weeks, and it seems like there's a lot of interest out there. Although it's a basic gardening course, it's designed for people who have some experience gardening and want more information about best practices. Many Rainier Valley residents have experience growing food in parts of the world, so the classes will focus on the timing and plants best suited to our Northwest climate. Since the classes occur monthly, participants will get to watch (and help!) our garden grow over time. We made sure to contract interpreters for the class, which regular readers will know is important in this neighborhood of more than 50 languages! We have interpreters for Vietnamese, Chinese, Somali, Oromo and Amharic.

We're also partnering with the Rainier Valley Boys and Girls Club this summer to teach kids about gardening. The second and third graders participating in the Club's summer program will spend an hour each week at the farm. We have a great curriculum in the works, including Bug Day (devoted to studying beneficial and pest insects), Seed Day (kids will explore how seeds do what they do), and many more hands-on experiences. We are looking forward to hearing their giggles and exclamations when digging in the dirt - nothing livens up a garden like excited children!

In addition to these two major partnerships, we continue to reach out to schools and community centers in the Rainier Valley to let them know about field trips and volunteer work opportunities. We now have a handful of volunteers coming to the farm each week, and we look forward to more people coming as the weather improves (it's been so chilly lately!). Stay tuned for updates on how our planned activities and planted vegetables turn out!

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