Construction begins for renovation of Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands

The Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, Seattle Tilth, Seattle Parks Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation are pleased to announce that a construction contract has been executed with A1 Landscaping and Construction. Construction began in July 2016 and will be completed in April 2017. The project will create great benefits at the site. Seattle Parks and Recreation will work with the contractor to minimize impacts on the neighborhood and during construction limited programs will still be available at the farm.

The transformational plan of the former Atlantic City Nursery includes an organic farm, a children’s learning garden, outdoor and indoor class spaces, a community gathering space, greenhouses, orchards, apiaries, chicken coops, protected wetlands, park amenities and a connection to Beer Sheva Park.

The farm brings diverse community members together to learn, play, and enjoy. It will ultimately engage 5,000 community members and produce more than 20,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables annually, to be distributed primarily to Rainier Valley residents.

The project improvements include:

  • Better use of the site. The site improvements will demonstrate the “farm to table” experience and bring to life the food system in a powerful and interconnected way while engaging the community.
  • New classroom. The new building will provide extensive opportunities for hands-on environmental stewardship and food production education for the community, directly on site at a community based urban farm.
  • Commercial kitchen. We will prepare food harvested at the farm, providing cooking and nutrition education with school and community groups, the first time we will have a functional kitchen for cooking, teaching and food preparation.
  • Office space. Staff will work on site to administer programs, being part of the fabric of the community, the first time having adequate year-round facilities.
  • Improved access. The new gate at Beer Sheva Park will allow community members greater access to the farm and a new circle drive will better accommodate school buses, delivery vans and service trucks.

Programming will be scaled back during construction and access will be limited on the farm. The program focus during construction is on wetlands restoration work parties with volunteers and the ongoing African Elder farming program. The farm will be open limited hours and the gate will be locked when the farm is closed.

The project originated with funding through the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund. Originally the project was advancing phase one, which included some of the major elements in the plan. The community partners recognized the value in completing the project as a single phase and started a large capital campaign. Because of the success of these efforts, the project will be completed in a single major construction phase, and it will include most of the major elements envisioned for the farm.

The vision for the farm is coming to life through a great partnership among many inspired parties and community members. The key partners follow:

  • Seattle Parks and Recreation builds community through people, parks and programs. We seek opportunities to partner with organizations with common core values.
  • Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands is a committed group of neighborhood residents who created the vision for the project and secured the initial commitment of public funds. They have mobilized hundreds of community members, generated excitement and support throughout the city, and are leading efforts to secure additional public resources.
  • Seattle Tilth is a regional leader in building a better, more sustainable food system including opportunities for immigrants, refugees, and low-income community members in the local food economy. They manage day-to-day programs and operations at the farm.
  • Seattle Parks Foundation supports community-led public space initiatives, working with volunteers, donors, and community and public-sector leaders to build and sustain a system of thriving and connected public spaces that are accessible to all. They are raised private dollars to help fund the capital improvements at the farm.

A majority of the components in the original schematic plan are being built.

For more information about the project, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/atlantic_city/nursery.htm. If you have questions, please contact project manager Jay Rood at Jay.Rood@seattle.gov or 733-9194.