About Marra Farm
Marra Farm is an historic urban community farm engaging people in sustainable agriculture and education while enhancing local food security. Located in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle, it has four acres of historic preserved farmland.
Marra Farm generates tons of fresh, organic produce each year. In 2014, volunteers helped us grow more than 13,000 pounds at Marra Farm! In addition to South Park residents growing food for their own families, the food grown at Marra Farm goes to local residents through food banks and meal programs, and Concord Elementary School students and their families. Also, through a Seattle Parks and Green Spaces Levy, the adjacent property was transformed into the Marra-Desimone Park in 2009.
Children’s GardenLettuce Link has maintained a Children’s Garden at Marra Farm over the past 15 years. There, we facilitate a series of gardening and nutrition programs for children in South Park. The children walk to the farm, garden in their own plots, taste and cook fresh vegetables, and learn about their environment through scientific exploration and outdoor-themed games. At the end of the class series, children take home produce to share with their families.
The Children’s Gardening and Nutrition program connects students to their food, encourages them to try new recipes, and cultivates healthy eating habits. Moreover, students gain self-confidence and pride by working together to grow their own food and reap the harvest.
We also offer experiential and educational field trips for local schools. We gratefully accept sliding-scale donations for all field trips. For more info or to schedule a tour, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out these videos about Marra Farm...
In 2011, the Rainbow class from Sea Mar's Child Development Center took weekly field trips to Marra Farm. (Marra Farm from Mapping Voices, produced on Vimeo by teacher Amy Halter.)
The Marra Family, Italian truck farmers, worked this land from the early 1900s until the 1970s when they sold it to King County. It is one of the last two remaining pieces of original agricultural land in Seattle. In 1997, a handful of neighborhood residents launched the earliest restoration efforts at the Farm with support from a VISTA volunteer. The following year, a diverse group of nonprofit organizations, government programs and individuals joined together to care for this valuable agricultural space. In 2000, community organizer John Beal and the King Conservation District daylighted a section of the Lost Fork of Hamm Creek on the western edge of Marra Farm. Working as the Marra Farm Coalition, a group of organizations and individuals (listed below) continues to build and expand Marra Farm's role addressing community food security needs, providing a space for sustainable agriculture education, and engaging community members.
Community Served & Needs Addressed
- Poverty: South Park is an area of high poverty, with very few affordable fresh produce sources. About 12.5% of South Park households live below the poverty line, and 85% of children at South Park's Concord Elementary School qualify for the free or reduced school lunch program. According to 2000 Census information, the population is 37% Hispanic, 43.7% White, 14.1% Asian and 8.4% Black – and 47.1% speak a language other than English at home.
- Pollution: South Park is one of the most polluted areas in our region, making the pristine farmland at Marra Farm a particularly vital community resource. A freeway and a large highway isolate South Park from other, nearby residential neighborhoods of the city. Surrounded by industrial land, South Park includes an unusually high number of industrial sites for a residential neighborhood.
- Food insecurity: Access to nutritious food, particularly fresh produce, is very limited in this community. While two small mini-groceries exist, they have limited offerings of fruits and vegetables. South Park has no supermarkets, and Seattle's recent growth in farmers markets has not yet reached the neighborhood.
Marra Farm Coalition Members
- Mien Community Garden is tended by Yao Fou Chao and Mien community members living on low incomes who practice traditional Mien agricultural techniques. All of the food generated goes to feed the families of the gardeners, Mien elders, and food banks in the International District and Beacon Hill neighborhoods.
- P-Patch Program (City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods) works in conjunction with the nonprofit P-Patch Trust to provide community garden space for residents of 44 Seattle neighborhoods. The Marra Farm P-Patch provides 20 garden plots to area residents.
- Seattle Farm Works is a pilot project of the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods that launched in 2014. Local growers tend larger plots of land than a typical P-Patch plot, and all produce is sold locally.
- South Park Neighborhood Association (SPNA) is the community council for and steward of the South Park Residential Urban Village Plan. As the steward to the Neighborhood Plan, SPNA provides the coalition with meeting space, liability insurance, and support in decision-making processes.
- For 15 years, Seattle Youth Garden Works (SYGW) played a key role at Marra Farm, empowering homeless and at-risk youth (aged 14-22) through garden-based education and employment. Youth tended their plots at Marra Farm, sold their produce at the Columbia City Farmer's Market, and received a share of the proceeds from their cooperative market garden business. While no longer working at Marra Farm, SYGW is now a program of Seattle Tilth, and the program is based at the Center for Urban Horticulture and Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands.
Volunteer: Help grow and harvest! We have regular volunteer opportunities for individuals, families and groups to help prepare the soil, plant, water, weed and harvest. We need volunteers March – November, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays, 10am - 2pm. Our final work party of the year is Saturday, 11/14/15.
Lettuce Link & Marra Farm in the news
Partner Contact Information:
Marra Farm Giving Garden is a project of Solid Ground's Lettuce Link program.
206.694.6746 x 1 (TTY: 7.1.1)
Lettuce Link/Marra Farm at Solid Ground
1501 North 45th Street
Seattle, WA 98103-6708