Friday, May 31, 2013

The Marra Farm Ecosystem

Some of Lettuce Link's interns and volunteers will be guest blogging for us over the next few months. Today, we welcome the words of Rachel Sofferin, a children's garden and nutrition education volunteer.

An ecosystem is a community of living organisms and the nonliving components of their environment (such as air and water) that interact as a system.

Ecosystems are defined by both the interactions between different organisms and the interactions between organisms and their environment. Ecosystems can come in any size, but usually encompass specific, limited spaces.

The specific ecosystem under discussion recently is that of the four acres of preserved farmland in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood known as Marra Farm. Here, groups of second and fifth grade students from neighboring Concord Elementary School bring classroom learning to life. Students identify components of the farm’s ecosystem and learn, hands-on, just how connected everything is.

Before spring break, students in Mr. Hunt’s class planted their garden experiments. After a few weeks there is much to observe. Crouched figures huddle around the raised garden beds and speculate about the height of sprouts. They carefully count and record the number of plant leaves in their field books and make other observations about their experiment and control gardens.

On the other side of the fence in the Giving Garden, volunteers from local businesses, religious communities, and schools work tirelessly to cut grass, weed beds, and mix nutrient-rich compost into the soil. Local food banks receive the organic produce grown here - over 22,000 pounds a year!

As the students learned, Marra Farm is a thriving ecosystem of plants, animals, and people. Come join the ecosystem! Volunteer in the Giving Garden, donate gardening tools and supplies, or stroll through the farm on your daily walk. 

The Marra Farm ecosystem is constantly growing and evolving - how can you be a part of it?

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