At the very southern edge of Seattle, you’ll find a small but vibrant neighborhood that’s been hemmed in over the years by two highways, a series of industrial lots, and one of the most heavily polluted rivers in the nation. Called South Park, it’s home to a diverse and resilient community, including many immigrant families, but it has no nearby grocery store or other consistent source of fresh fruits and vegetables.
What South Park does have is Marra Farm: Four acres of preserved farmland stewarded by several community partners, including Solid Ground’s Community Food Education (CFE). Our Giving Garden at Marra Farm serves as an outdoor classroom for our education programs, as well as a source of fresh, local fruits and vegetables for the South Park community. It provides more than 10,000 pounds of food a year for community partners like Providence Regina Food Bank and Sea Mar Health Clinics. (To learn more, read Growing healthier communities with farm-to-clinic fruits and vegetables.)
In the last quarter of 2022, we were able to increase food access for our partners at nearby Lowell Elementary School and make major improvements at the Giving Garden thanks to the support of our longtime partners at PCC Community Markets. With PCC’s support, we were able to purchase farm supplies, equipment, and structures – including a greenhouse – all of which will extend the growing season.
The controlled greenhouse environment inside the greenhouse will give our Giving Garden team more planting options, increasing the amount and diversity of what we can grow and helping us respond to community requests for more culturally appropriate food.
In addition to their work at the Giving Garden, the CFE team also partners with elementary and preschools to provide nutrition education and food access support. In 2022, PCC’s support allowed CFE to provide healthy snacks for students and families at Lowell Elementary at health fairs, during school hours, and on Fridays so students had something to take home.
“PCC’s mission is to ensure that good food nourishes the communities we serve while cultivating vibrant, local, organic food systems,” says Rachel Tefft, PCC Community Markets Senior Manager for Community Food Systems. “Solid Ground has been a great partner in this work for many years, and we are humbled to support their work providing direct services [and] community-based advocacy – and addressing hunger and health disparities.”
PCC is also sponsoring Solid Ground’s upcoming Social Justice Salon, Equitable Eating, which will bring together urban farmers, food justice advocates, and Solid Ground program staff for a conversation about how we can build a more just and resilient local food system in King County. Tickets are now available for the event, to be held on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 4:30-6pm, at The Forum at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101.
Solid Ground envisions a community where all people have equitable access to healthy and culturally appropriate food, invest in our local food systems, and understand food and nutrition as powerful tools for social justice. We’re grateful to partners like PCC Community Markets who share this vision and walk alongside us in the work to realize these goals.