a Sustainable Renton event

Sustainable Renton presents: Good Food (The Movie)

For decades Northwest agriculture was focused on a few big
crops for export. But climate change and the end of cheap energy
mean that each region needs to produce more of its own food and
to grow it more sustainably. Good Food visits farmers, farmers’
markets, distributors, stores, restaurants and public officials who are developing a more sustainable food system for all farmers.

We will be viewing the movie followed by a community
discussion of its content and how we can foster change in our own
community.When: Friday, October 26th 7-9 pm
Where: 970 Harrington Ave. N.E. Renton, WA 98056

This is a FREE event with a suggested donation of $5
Refreshments provided

For more info please contact

Cascade Neighborhood-a Local Food System in action?

Today, I took a walk around the Cascade neighborhood of Renton with my kids. We spotted a couple of signs of healthy local food system developments-a school garden, and fresh homegrown produce for sale.

The gardens are at Renton Park Elementary. They are bursting with color.

Each classroom has their own raised bed.
The kids are going to have a great time in the Fall exploring what they planted.

And the produce is being sold from someone’s home-but I wasn’t able to find it today. I’ll have to go exploring further another day.

Seen on SE 168th St.

It’s nice to see these simple ways to reconnect with our sources of food. What have you spotted in your neighborhood?

Meaningful Movies – URBAN ROOTS

Come join Sustainable Renton at a new monthly film series we are hosting called Meaningful Movies. The first film in the series will be URBAN ROOTS, shown on Friday, August 31st at 7pm. These film screenings are free and open to the public, but donations are accepted to support Sustainable Renton. There will be a discussion to follow the screening. Board member Lara Randolph will be our host.

Location: 970 Harrington Ave NE, Renton WA.

From the Meaningful Movies Project: We are a group of concerned citizens in your neighborhood who are trying to make a difference in the defense of justice and pursuit of peace. We present social justice documentary films the last Friday night of every month, along with facilitated open community discussion on a wide range of topics, free and open to the public, with donations accepted to support Sustainable Renton. Our purpose is to gather, educate, inspire, connect, and commit to peace and justice

URBAN ROOTS is the next documentary from Tree Media. Produced by Leila Conners (The 11th Hour) and Mathew Schmid and directed by Mark MacInnis, the film follows the urban farming phenomenon in Detroit. Urban Roots is a timely, moving and inspiring film that speaks to a nation grappling with collapsed industrial towns and the need to forge a sustainable and prosperous future.

Sun + rain = lots of yummy veggies?!

Between all this warm, sunny weather and some rain, gardens are bursting w/ veggies right now. See the harvest of Kim, a gardener at the Sunset Community Garden.

The tomatoes, though, might not be faring so well. What do you do to keep your tomatoes from splitting and growing healthy with this sort of weather?

Fresh from the Sunset Community Garden

How is Your Garden Growing Potluck!

Sustainable Renton is hosting a potluck dinner event for you to gather up with fellow gardening residents of the Renton area.  We will eat and get to know one another while we share learning and success on our garden adventures.
This is a great way to learn from a friendly group and find out about other events in the area.  Questions?  Contact Michelle at or 425-518-9692 (text or voice).
Feel free to bring kids, we have an area for them to hang out.
Thursday, July 26, 6:30-8PM
970 Harrington Ave NE; Renton WA.

What’s growing in your garden?

We would love to share pictures from your garden here on our website. What are you growing this year? Any surprises? Any spectacular results from a new crop? Leafy lettuces, vibrant-colored strawberries, 7-foot tall pea vines-we want to see them!

Send us an email with the pic, or share them over on our Facebook page!

A surprise in our garden this year was the chamomile that was supposed to be carrots! Oops. Certainly a pretty accident. Now to figure out how to harvest and store them for tea.

Chamomile-*not* carrots!

Everything has a beginning…


This past Sunday, Sustainable Renton hosted a community meeting on the Big Idea of a community farm in Renton. We really just wanted to see what kind of support and interest there was in this idea to determine if it would have energy to move forward.

While we did not have a huge turnout, the 10 non-board members that came had lots of energy, enthusiasm, and ideas for this project. Everyone wanted to see it happen, and wanted to help to do so.

Some steps that we’ll be taking as we start this journey:

  • Building “test” gardens in the area as a way to exhibit different methods of designing gardens: raised beds, lasagna-style, wheelchair accesssible, etc. This would also serve to model for potential donors that we are commited to seeing this project happen.
  • Researching studies done on the positive health and lifestyle benefits of organic food and gardens. The information collected will be used as a tool to help the project gather support and donors.
  • Start an online forum for discussions around the community farm project. This will allow community members to come together to share ideas and visions for what the farm could look like.
  • Outreaching to other area farms and organizations for support and ideas on securing land, fundraising, and farming methodology.

The planning group would also like to see us outreach to the various ethnic communities in Renton to engage them in utilizing gardens and a farm to grow produce that is unique to their cultures.

Mmm…fresh produce.

We will be having more community meetings on this project in the future to continue to draw in more ideas, energy, and support.

Imagine it: a farm here in Renton where food could be grown and sourced to serve at local restaurants, to sell at the farmer’s market, where classes could provide education on healthy living for all ages, and a community space where families and organizations could gather for celebrations, for cooking classes, and more.

What an exciting project to be a part of. As this journey evolves, we’ll continue to share what’s happening here on our website and on Facebook.

Intensive Urban Gardening Concepts and Baby Greens Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Here is the winning blog entry for our Mother Earth News Fair contest. Thank you for your submission Amanda-it is insightful and looks delicious! Enjoy everyone.

This spring I have home grown vegetables in spades. I planted my first squares of sugar snap peas, beets, carrots, greens, and radishes on March 21st, the first day of spring. Nine weeks and a couple plantings later, I have lots of short plants, and am already harvesting my first baby greens for salads.

Since I am gardening in a community garden, and only have a 5’x8’ plot, I am maximizing my space by gardening intensively. I have gleaned concepts from many helpful sources. Here are a few:

Square Foot Gardening 

One of the concepts taught by square foot gardening is eliminating the space wasted between rows of plants. Instead you make a grid of square feet in your garden, and each square foot can be planted with a certain number of plants. You can see the influence of square foot gardening in my patchwork blocks of greens.

On the left side of this photo you can see alternated squares of spinach and mesclun greens. To the right of the greens there are squares of kales and chard. This picture was taken six weeks after planting.

Dick Raymond’s Gardening Year

This out-of-print gardening classic was my ever-present companion in my teens. I read it over and over, learning about planting in wide rows. The advantages of planting in wide rows include: it keeps roots cool, discourages weeds, and makes the most of limited garden space. Basically you plant as closely as the seeds allow in blocks or rows up to four feet wide. At the bottom of this photo you can see my blocks of peas.

And here are my blocks of bush beans. They’re just coming up now.

Another reason I love planting this way is that I am addicted to seed catalogs. The descriptions sound so delicious and the pictures are so lovely that I want them ALL. All the seeds. The end.

This picture is of one of the blocks of greens. Rather than spacing them evenly, like they recommend in square foot gardening, I scattered the seeds in a wide row sort of way. This makes for a really full and fluffy square of Mesclun for salads. I’m drooling just looking at this mix of red lettuce, arugula, kale, dandelion greens, and who knows what else.

Companion planting

This is so romantic: the idea that by planting vegetables together makes each of them better. Awwwwww!! I am experimenting with a few combinations that I have learned:

Carrots and Radishes

Carrots and Beets

Tomatoes and Basil

Behind the row of mixed onions you can see baby radishes companion planted along with carrots. The basic idea is that the radishes will mature quickly, and will be removed just as the carrots need the space. Meanwhile, there are few weeds, and no wasted space at all.

Succession planting

Succession planting is a relatively new concept to me. Basically it means planting an area several times during a growing season. As one crop matures, you replace it in the same year with something else that will grow to maturity before the end of the growing season. This seems to require a degree of planning and thought. Some plants do better in cool weather. These are better planted in the early spring, and then again at the end of the hot summer, before the frost sets in. These types of vegetables include peas, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and fava beans. Other vegetables, like potatoes, tomatoes, squash, carrots, green and shelling beans, and corn need the heat to grow well. By scheduling your plantings, you can make a tiny gardening space work overtime.

Everything is growing so quickly now that the weather has warmed up. This picture was taken a couple days ago. You can see how much everything has grown in just a couple weeks since the first garden picture was taken. Particularly the blocks of greens have really filled in and are starting to look pretty crowded. You know what that means…Dinner time!

Baby Greens with Raspberry vinaigrette

Thinnings from veggie plants

Some good ideas include:

Lettuce, spinach, kale, pea shoots, green onions, baby radishes, ½” diameter or smaller, with greens on, sunflower sprouts (with no more than 2 leaves), arugula, tiny dandelion greens (yes, the ones that are weeds, as long as they are first year plants, and they haven’t been sprayed), beet greens, radicchio, fennel with bulbs less than 1/4”

Do not use:

Tomato greens, potato greens, pepper leaves, carrot tops

Pinch off the roots and wash the veggies well. A good soak will help to loosen stubborn soil. Drain and dry your greens. You can chill them at this point and they will make an extra crunchy salad. Just wrap them in a paper towel and put them in an airtight container or zipper bag in the fridge.

Meanwhile, you can make the simple dressing.

¼ cup frozen raspberries, thawed, with juice

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Honey or brown sugar to taste

Whisk all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Keeps in the refrigerator for a long time.

Arrange the greens on a plate. Drizzle the dressing ever so lightly over the greens. Serve to your friends, or anyone you want to impress. Expect ooohs and aaaaahs.

– Amanda Feldman Liddle

Season’s Eatings

Seed Starting Workshop Thank You & Fliers

I know this is a bit late but I wanted to put a word in about the success of our Seed Starting Workshop that was held in March. First of all I would like to thank everyone for showing up and to all who got the word out about the event. It was, by far, our largest turn out so far and we hope this trend will continue for our workshops in the future. Next I would like to thank Barb Mandic our resident Master Gardener whos presence is one of grace and wisdom. Also, a big thank you goes out to the ‘Urban Food Warrior’, Caitlin Moore, for her outstanding examples of seed starting techniques and her endless knowledge base of seed starting and how we can become closer to the sustainable lives we all want to cultivate. The fliers that were passed out from the workshop are being attached so those of you who could not make it can also have the information. Thanks again to everyone who made this evening a great success.

-Lara Randolph.

Transplanting Your Seedlings.

Seed Starting Tip Sheet.