Thinking big-a Renton community farm?

21 Acres

Today I was invited to speak at the Board meeting for the Renton Community Foundation on behalf of Sustainable Renton and our work around community gardens, education, and supporting a healthy, local food system. They are currently looking at different ways of addressing issues surrounding hunger in our community. The Foundation is an important supporter of local non-profits and charities in our community, and I felt privileged to be able to speak with them.

While speaking with the Board, there were conversations around the impact community gardens have on a community, how livestock and poultry fit into the picture, and how education is a pivotal piece in people eating healthier lifestyles. I shared with them the inspiring story of 21 Acres (http://21acres.org/). 21 Acres, located just outside downtown Woodinville, is an agricultural and environmental learning center that has a community garden, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), a community food kitchen, classes on sustainability, and a farmer’s market.

This got me to thinking-What would a center like this look like in Renton? Would it have livestock-like chickens or goats or rabbits? Would it have a community garden? How about a community food kitchen? What about a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? How about a meeting space for classes on gardening, canning, food drying, cooking with vegetables? The possibilities for creating an inspiring, community-building center like this are limitless.

A bigger question is: what would it take to make this happen? Who are the stakeholders in a project like this? Could partnerships with the Salvation Army Food Bank, King County Conservation District, and other local organizations pull together a project of this scale? Is there land available to support a farm of this nature in our suburban town?

What are your thoughts? How would you like to be involved with a sustainable community model like 21 Acres in Renton? Please share your thoughts!

Let’s see where this idea takes us.

-Chris Conkling