Let them Grow Food – Community Gardens Resolution

Let Them Grow Food

The Olympia City Council showed both vision and pragmatic leadership in adopting the Community Gardening Resolution, 12/19/17. 

The resolution establishes a key goal- that every citizen in the city limits lives within walking distance (1/2 mile) of a community garden.  If this is achieved, all Olympians will have the opportunity to grow at least some of their own food. As well as food for others, depending on how the garden is designed.

Why?  Because community gardens empower residents to get more active in their community.  Because they strengthen neighbors, reduce criminal activity, and help prevent illegal dumping.  Because it improves nutrition, food security, and teaches valuable skills to participants of all ages.

The City already has an established goal of a neighborhood park within walking distance of all residents – a wonderful element to parks IS a neighborhood garden.  In addition, the City actually already has two garden programs in operation, they just don’t get talked about enough.  First, through Parks, they operate the Sunrise Park and Yauger Community Gardens, where individual citizens can reserve a plot, and grow each season.  There is a small fee, but they offer a great many amenities and organizational help.

In addition, through Community Planning/Public Works, there’s a program for unused right of ways and other miscellaneous City property to be converted into gardens by neighborhood associations.  The infrastructure is in place for Gardens to flourish throughout Olympia in coming years.  The Resolution, proposed by Sustainable South Sound, is meant to further that commitment through implementation, and also to raise awareness and spread the word about the great opportunities available.

Community Gardens are important to Olympia – it made the top ten list for new programs and facilities in a recent Parks plan.

Sustainable South Sound boardmembers proposed the resolution to the City Council in August 2017, after several meetings on the topic with Councilmember Clark Gilman.  It was referred to the General Government committee, where City Staff and SSS boardembmers presented a slightly revised resolution in early December.  At the very last meeting of 2017, the Council adopted the resolution – making 2018 the perfect time to plan and implement an explosion of gardens throughout the community. A copy of the full text is linked below.

But by ‘throughout the community’ we mean more than just Olympia.  Citizens in rural areas can generally grow food at home- but the other urban areas are next.  Sustainable South Sound plans to present a similar resolution to both Lacey and Tumwater later in the Spring.  Yelm is also rapidly growing- and there’s a real opportunity to include gardens AS they create density, and not chasing after it.

Want to organize a garden in your neighborhood?  Click on the link below for the full application.  Want to try your hand at gardening this season?  Apply for a plot in Olympia, with the application below.  Want to get involved in helping us create gardening opportunites throughout South Sound?  Contact us at: Sustainss@gmail.com

Neighborhood Program Application
Olympia Resoution As Adopted
Parks Plot Application to Garden