Community invited to “First Look” at Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands

The Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, Tilth Alliance, Seattle Parks Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation are happy to invite the community to the celebration for the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands on Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The community “First Look” event will celebrate the completion of construction for this unique site that embeds environmental education, urban farm production, food distribution, experiential learning opportunities, community-building activities and park connections for the Rainier Valley neighborhood. The event will feature farm tours, pumpkin crafts, apple treats, music and fun for all ages.  Please park at Beer Sheva Park, 8650 55th Ave. S and enjoy the .3 mile walk to the celebration. Disable parking access at Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, 5513 S. Cloverdale St.  Thank you to the Berger Partnership and Cast Architecture for their design work and support of the event.

The transformational build out at the former Atlantic City Nursery includes an organic urban 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 construction began in July 2016 after extensive fundraising and community design participation.

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. It also creates a green connection from Beer Sheva Park through the farm to Pritchard Beach Park.

The project improvements include:

  • Better use of 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.

Over the past year during construction, Tilth Alliance’s African Elder farming program worked with the Green Seattle Partnership to maintain and improve the wetlands at the farm.

The project originated with funding through the Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund. The Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands hired the Berger Partnership to work with the community on the design of the site. Later the group received funding to continue the development of the design from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund. Originally, the project was to be built out in unique phases starting with advancing phase one which included a portion 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 was completed in a single major construction phase, and it includes most of the major elements envisioned for the farm.  Seattle Parks and Recreation awarded the construction contract to A-1 Contracting.

The vision is brought to life through a great partnership between many inspired parties and community members. The key partners follow:

  • Seattle Parks and Recreation builds community through people, parks and programs. They 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 worked with the community to develop 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.
  • Tilth Alliance, previously Seattle Tilth, is a regional leader in building a better, more sustainable food system including opportunities for immigrants, refugees, and low-income community members to participate in the local food economy. They work closely with community organizations to develop, raise support for, implement and 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 led the effort to raise private dollars to help fund the capital improvements at the Farm.

A majority of the components in the original schematic plan are being built. The partners are still seeking funds for the wash station and food stand.

For more information about the project and to download the invitation to the event including translation of the poster please visit:

http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/rainier-beach-urban-farm-and-wetlands. If you have questions, please contact project manager Jay Rood at

Jay.Rood@seattle.gov or 733-9194.

 

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