By Derek Farmer, Just Garden Program Manager
Vegetable gardening at home can be a great way to save money over buying organic produce at the grocery store. But for many people, the startup costs of building a raised bed garden can be prohibitively high. That’s where Seattle Tilth’s Just Garden program enters the scene. Just Garden builds subsidized raised bed vegetable gardens with families in King County who want to garden, but might not have the funds to get started.
Each family may apply for up to three 4’ x 8’ garden beds, subsidized for those living below 200% of the federal poverty line. We provide plant starts, seeds, fish emulsion (a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer) and a copy of our Maritime Northwest Garden Guide. To help prepare families for long-term success, they receive seven hours of hands-on organic garden education and opportunities for additional workshops during the year. Our Just Gardeners agree to use organic gardening methods, to share whatever produce they cannot use with neighbors and friends, and to volunteer with Seattle Tilth building gardens for their neighbors.
Since 2010, Just Garden has built nearly 180 gardens for families in King County, as well as for organizations such as food banks, transitional housing, neighborhood clinics and houses of worship. At our five garden building events in 2015, we constructed 87 garden beds at 38 different locations.
Upcoming Garden Build Events
In 2016 we plan to nearly double our impact by building 160 garden beds with up to 80 different families. To accomplish this, four large garden building events are scheduled across King County:
- Sat., Feb. 27 in Southeast Seattle
- Sat., April 16 in Federal Way
- Sat., June 18 in Burien and White Center (NOTE: This build was originally scheduled for 6/11 but is now on 6/18.)
- Fri., Sep. 16 in Bellevue
Just Garden needs 100 volunteers at each event to help build these gardens, including 20 site leaders who are willing to lead a group of 3-7 volunteers, ideally at all four events. We’d love to see you there! It’s quite fun and rewarding. To volunteer, please sign up on our website. If you or a neighbor would benefit from having a raised bed garden, apply online or call (206) 633-0451 ext. 116.