The Pierce County -Tacoma Community Gardens Program is fostering a culture of community gardening throughout Pierce County. The program helps neighbors to get organized to build shared gardens on public and private properties and to build the capacity to sustain thriving community gardens over time.
In addition, the Community Gardens Program is working to redirect organic ‘waste streams’ including woodchips, cardboard, the City of Tacoma’s biosolids Tagro product, and compost – delivering them for free to community gardeners. Putting these organic resources to work closes the carbon loop, helping build carbon-rich soils that not only benefit our atmosphere but make for gardens of plenty!
Under the leadership of Kristen McIvor, community gardens in Pierce County have proliferated: over 45 community gardens currently exist in Pierce County, up from 26 one year ago, with an additional 17 in development. (See Kristen in action in this YouTube video presentation). Together with Pierce County Public Works and Utilities, the program also offers a 9-part community garden workshop series for free in three locations through Pierce County. Other exciting features of the program include:
- Share the Harvest, thanks to generous support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which supports community gardeners to provide food for local food banks;
- A new effort to create a network of compost demonstration sites throughout the community gardens through partnership with Pierce County and the Washington State Dept of Ecology; and
- Community gardeners within the City of Tacoma can access fruit trees via a partnership with the City’s Urban Forest program, if they commit some of the harvest to food banks.
This remarkable program was developed by a steering committee representing an extraordinary variety of health, environmental, and community interests, including City of Tacoma, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities, Metro Parks Tacoma, Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department/ACHIEVE, Healthy Communities of Pierce County, Citizens for a Healthy Bay, Northwest Leadership Foundation, as well as interested community members and the leadership from several community gardens.
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