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A Seattle Urban Garden Models What Community Input Should Look Like

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iUrban team members and Seattle Parks and Recreation staff at an Earth Day event this year. (Photo courtesy Seattle Parks and Recreation)

Sponsored: An innovative urban garden project in Seattle, with community input and partnerships at its heart, will serve as a city-wide and national model.

By Jennifer Caddick
Next City
June 11, 2024


With support from the grant, the Rainier Community Center Garden will be fully refurbished. Fifty years ago, the land was used as a municipal dump. Today, the park is a vibrant neighborhood focal point, with a busy community center surrounded by sports fields, a playground, and a walking loop, with the garden at the center of it all. (About forty years ago, the city cleaned up the dump, and the land was capped so that anything remaining underneath couldn’t be disturbed.) At almost 2,000 square feet, the garden allows ample room for planting. Because of the site’s history, the garden will be planted in raised beds and containers, which provides flexibility and the opportunity for community partners to get creative. The project will produce thousands of pounds of fresh, nutritious food.

The Rainier Community Center urban garden project involves several partners. One of them is the project’s lead partner iUrban Teen, a STEM+Arts education program that brings together underrepresented teens and young adults for career exploration and mentoring. The students will play a key role in developing and maintaining the garden and will make a difference in their community as they learn about sustainable food production and environmental stewardship. The food grown in the garden will be distributed by a food bank operated by the Seattle Indian Health Board, a nonprofit serving the indigenous population in Seattle.

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