Just Garden and Renton History Museum Build 20 New Gardens

By Derek Farmer,
Just Garden Program Manager

Just Garden volunteers set about moving four tons of soil by hand. In total we moved seventeen tons in a few hours

Just Garden volunteers set about moving four tons of soil by hand.

What do you get when you mix seventeen tons of donated soil, forty-six volunteers and the Renton History Museum? Twenty brand new vegetable gardens which will collectively yield $5,000 of fresh organic produce every year for eight Renton families!

“This opportunity will be life changing for our family. It’s a chance for us to transform our lifestyle, eat better, learn about food production and respect the Earth,” said Shawn Koyano, one of our newly-minted gardeners.

Just Garden works with low-income families in neighborhoods across King County to build backyard vegetable gardens. We also work with a variety of community organizations including schools, houses of worship and transitional housing programs to support local food banks and nutrition programs.

A few months ago Liz Stewart, the director of the Renton History Museum, was trying to find a way to beautify an empty lot they owned. The museum had recently created an exhibit to showcase the food system and agricultural history of Renton and she wanted to create a garden to compliment the exhibit and provide produce to the Renton Food Bank.

Liz Stewart (second from left) and volunteers from the Renton Historical Society.

This July, Just Garden helped make that vision a reality by bringing together forty-six volunteers from the Renton Historical Society, Boeing and Seattle Tilth.

We met at the Renton History Museum to share a meal and learn how to build raised beds.

By 10 a.m. we had split into teams and arrived at nine sites where over the next four hours they would build twenty new garden beds.

In those four hours, these volunteers helped change many lives.

“In years past, I had a garden where I grew vegetables to make healthy, organic baby food for my kids.  I had garden beds in our last home but had to leave them behind. We just couldn’t afford to build them. I would love to teach my children about hard work and the fruits (vegetables actually) of our labors again,” said Lisa Lewis, recently restored to gardener status.

On behalf of all our gardeners, we would like to thank the Renton Historical Society, Boeing’s volunteers, Cedar Grove for donating the Vegetable Garden Mix soil and Rebuilding Together Seattle for providing extra tools and wheelbarrows.

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