The community that farms together, stays together
Crossposted from Clean Water Stories
Hidden on the South Treatment Plant lies a small oasis known as the CitySoil Farm. This pleasant surprise comes as a vast scenic change from the surrounding industrial area and brings a different sense of life to the plant.
Located on a previously unused 1.5 acre plot, the CitySoil Farm has transformed the vacant space into urban agriculture that is dedicated to environmental education and sustainable farming. Through this teaching farm, King County and its non-profit partners hope to see a future where environmental education can lead to an increase in community participation and sustainable food systems.
What is recycled water or Loop? Recycled water is odor-free water produced onsite at the plant that enriches the soil and protects our waterways, and Loop is a natural fertilizer and soil builder, also produced onsite that recycles the nutrients in our food back into the soil. Through this usage of Loop biosolids has come the commercial product GroCo compost which is a local and recyclable alternative to chemical fertilizers that boosts plant growth and replenishes the soil. By demonstrating the sustainable resources used at the farm, we are encouraging conversations and spreading awareness of how we should manage our nutrient and waste streams.
Those who volunteer at the farm are free to harvest the food while they work, but most of the product from the farm is donated to local food banks such as the Renton Food Bank and White Center Food Bank. In fact, very recently the summer interns at WTD were able to tour the teaching farm and native tree nursery. There at the farm, the interns were able to harvest figs, plums, apples, and veggies and apply mulch between the garden rows for water retention and weed suppression. Everything that was harvested by the interns was donated to the White Center Food Bank, which receives thousands of pounds a year from the CitySoil Farm.
This farm couldn’t have been possible without the four-way partnership between King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division and King Conservation District, Tilth Alliance, and DIRT Corps. Without this communication and organization between the partners, our strong ability to interact with the community would not be possible. Through this partnership we are able to give under privileged groups access to resources they may not otherwise have.
The partnership has brought stronger community involvement and participation at the farm, heightened accessibility, and created a larger platform for ideas around sustainability.