Dumpster Diving is not Illegal

dumpsterdiveAfter the great turn out to the showing of the documentary film Just Eat It, which highlighted the grotesque amount of food that is thrown into the dumpsters across America, the question arose, “Is it legal to salvage food from dumpsters?” I had to admit that I did not know the answer but that I would find out.
The City of Renton Police Department stated that there is no law that exists that would prohibit dumpster diving. You cannot go onto residential property and take things from a dumpster, but commercial properties such as restaurants, grocery stores or bakeries are open market for divers. Salvaging items for resale is illegal but salvaging food for personal consumption is not.
The woman on the phone did say that to be safe she recommended just asking the business if they would mind if their throw away food was taken away instead of thrown away. Seems like a good idea. Happy diving!

Socially Conscious Gourmet Dinner for 14!

Those of you that enjoy good food, good wine, good conversation, and supporting a good cause should LOVE this!

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The Renton Community Foundation is having their Annual Online Auction *right now*. This year’s theme is For the Love of  Community.  All proceeds from the auction go the the Foundation to help them meet the ever-increasing need for services in the Puget Sound area.

One of the auction items is a Socially Conscious Gourmet Dinner for 14. This dinner features the culinary talents of the Red House Beer, Wine Shoppe and Tapas Bar kitchen, wines from local vintners Cedar River Cellars, and produce from the Sustainable Renton Community Farm. This wonderful evening is being auctioned for 14 people, who will enjoy a 4-course meal paired with wines. The evening will also highlight the exciting partnerships happening in our community in this emerging ‘farm to table’ sustainable economy.

What a great way to support local charities, enjoy delicious food and wine, and to learn about a sustainable local food system in action.

You can find out all the details and bid here.

Meet our Gardeners #1: Liz Kramps

This is the first of many interviews talking with the people who garden and who are involved with the Sustainable Renton Community Farm. They are such an amazing group of people that I thought it would be great to get to know them a bit better.

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The first gardener I am featuring is Liz Kramps. She came to farm in July and has managed to make her plot so abundant, that she has been able to contribute to the harvests that go to The Red House twice a week. She has an amazingly mellow and confident demeanor that makes her very easy to talk with and when you do, you find out that she is a wealth of knowledge on various topics of gardening. She has provided the farm and other gardeners with excellent resources and information.

Liz lives in Renton. Here is the interview:

What do you do for a living?
Currently I’m working for a clinical research organization. Not my ideal job, would much rather do something with a bit more soul, but it pays the bills for now.

How long have you been gardening?  
I’ve been gardening for about 10 years to varying degrees.  I started with tomatoes and peppers on my fire escape, to a barrage of containers in a neighbor’s yard, to a community garden plot.  Most of my experience has been on the east coast so there’s been a little learning curve since I moved to WA 2 and a half years ago.  I am enjoying the mild winters and am really excited to grow this winter.

How did you become interested in Sustainable Renton Community Farm? 
I was looking for a space to grow things and in my search found the SRCF.  I was so excited to find such a great space so close to home!!

What do you like most about the SRCF?  I really like that it’s a new space with so much potential and a great mix in it’s knowledge base.

What kinds of things are you growing in your garden? 
Right now I have a LOT of greens, some peppers, eggplant, tomatillos and summer squash.

What is your favorite thing to grow and why?  
The one thing that I grow every year are thai hot peppers, though I’ve found the PNW a little tricky to grow hot peppers in.  I’m thinking of keeping them in a small hoop house all summer next year and/or keeping black plastic over the soil to keep the temps up.  I am most excited to expand my garden and include brassicas and garlic.

Do you employ a particular gardening philosophy? If so, what it is it and why? 
I don’t have a specific philosophy, obviously I employ organic principles.  Beyond that I grow food because I want to know what it is that I am eating.  Over the years I have transitioned to eating probably 85% local and in season, my weaknesses being coffee, sugar and bananas :).  I preserve quite a bit, have a well stocked chest freezer and participate in countless bulk buys to procure food that is locally produced from small farmers.  Overall I know who grows or raises most of my food.  I currently have a small flock of laying hens and have in the past raised meat chickens, which is something I’d like to be able to do again next year.  This year I am raising turkeys for my sister and I for the holidays and have learned that turkeys are super funny and am dreading their impending end.  Though I guess my ‘eating philosophy’ is that if I want to eat it, I should be able to grow/raise it and do all the steps from farm to table.

Interview conducted by Lara Randolph, Sustainable Renton Community Farm Manager.

A colorful partnership: Greens for the Red House

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Well, it is official. Sustainable Renton Community Farm is growing greens for one of the best restaurants in Renton, The Red House. The owner, Gene Sens, is an advocate for the slow food movement. His dedication to quality food has brought joy and happiness to Rentonites for decades. Along with being an advocate for good food, Gene is also an advocate for Renton and the local, small business owner.

A couple of years ago when Sustainable Renton first began, Gene asked us what we needed and we really didn’t know at that time. We had no idea then that we would be given this wonderful opportunity to have a community farm, but here we are, two years later with the most magnificent community garden and arm loads of bounty.

Gene and Frank Lucarelli, The Red House’s Chef, have been so gracious and wonderful working with us. We have made just three deliveries of Siberian Kale and Giant Red Leaf Mustard greens. So far, so good. When we made the delivery on Saturday morning one of the kitchen help said, with a big smile on his face, “I am really glad to see this.”  How happy could a gardener be hearing that their labor has made someone else happy? All gardeners are intimately aware of how beneficial and therapeutic it is to work in the garden, but when the harvest is benefiting the community too, all is well.

Thank you Gene, thank you Frank and thank you to everyone who has made the community farm a reality.

Our next move is a School garden, and we are looking into the possibility of a couple of goats. So exciting!

Any questions or comments please e-mail

Lara Randolph, Farm Manager larar35@comcast.net

Elizabeth Zwicker, Farm liaison linguisticnurse@gmail.com

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