Post by Kari Quaas, Outreach Specialist
At Focus on Farming, I met a young woman named Lia Andrews who is studying to achieve her Horticulture degree at Edmonds Community College (EdCC). Separately, as staff, she helps to manage their community garden. She is an ambassador for how easy and accessible gardening can be. At the end of November, I had the opportunity to tour their garden and cultural kitchen.
In our first emails, she also mentioned the beekeepers club at EdCC, and how their campus was hoping to become certified as a good place for bees through the Bee Campus USA program. Gonzaga University was the first in our state, and EdCC is hoping to be the second.
Started by a few guerrilla students, and more officially assisted by Zsofia Pasztor of Farmer Frog, this forgotten corner of the campus next to the golf course, has become an excellent teaching facility for all kinds of gardening and farming practices. The EdCC Campus Community Farm receives funding through a "Campus Green Fund," which is akin to a gym fee or technology fee. Overall, the site includes a three-oven cultural kitchen, a hoop house, 20 raised beds, and through student volunteering, they harvest fresh vegetables and fruit for students in need on their very own campus and for local food banks.
The sign above their Cultural Kitchen is in Lushootseed, a Coast Salish language, and says something like "the place for fire." The goal with the Cultural Kitchen is to "serve to demonstrate indigenous foodways, including the preparation and cooking of Pacific Northwest Native foods as well as foods eaten throughout the world." The stone oven is a Coast Salish pit oven. The students can make many things with it, but commonly have pizza parties. They recently made pumpkin pie!
Community members may reserve this space for events.
During my visit, I was able to harvest some brassica and parsley with other student volunteers.
This place is a super example of many farming Best Management Practices (BMPs) in a fairly compact area. Anyone looking to increase their knowledge of farming or urban agriculture, and what is possible in a small space, could learn a lot by volunteering at this garden. They even have a scarecrow named Bob to welcome and encourage visitors.
For more information about the community garden and cultural kitchen, please get in touch with the staff at Edmonds Community College - http://www.edcc.edu/campuscommunityfarm/. And, stay tuned. It is our hope that this group will have a table at our annual Plant Sale in February.