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A few months back, Rhoda Green, an Earlington Hill resident, contacted Sustainable Renton to see if we might be interested in collaborating with her to make another community garden spot in our city.
This location is under the power lines adjacent to City View Church at 200 SW Langston Rd, Renton, WA 98057. This land is allocated as plot #27 on a Duwamish Tribal map and is named ‘Spah-bah-DEED’ – ‘Little Mountain’. Seattle City Light (SCL) also has a right of way as the utility in charge of the overhead power lines. Rhoda has made contact with the tribe and they have consented to giving their blessing for us to use this land. SCL also loved the idea of letting us use this land for something other than open space, they had already been working with Rhoda who states, “We started our project near the foot of the mountain in 2007 by putting together a joint agreement with property owners. We received a Renton City [Neighborhood] Grant allowing us to landscape the area with drought tolerant, low maintenance native plants and install a ‘Welcome to Earlington Hill Neighborhood’ sign.” Rhoda, with the help of SCL and volunteers has been able to create a beautifully restored space using native plants such as Vine Maple, Twinberry, Serviceberry, NW Iris, Camas, Mock Orange, Sumac, Salal, Willow, Evergreen Huckleberry, Mountain Strawberries, Redtwig Dogwood, Flowering Current and Sword Ferns. Rhoda states, “That creates a lovely scene to accommodate the entrance to the Earlington Hill neighborhood [via Langston Road].”
As an extension of the hard work Rhoda et al. have put into this space, Sustainable Renton has agreed to act as the umbrella non-profit that will oversee the garden. SR will be offering our expertise and labor to help make this garden a reality. Not only does using this land for our community help our city, it helps the utility company with not having to maintain the space.
A lot of land located under power lines is available for lease if it is not being used already. There is a simple permit process to make sure that the land will not be used for the purpose of profit and that the organization or individual presenting the project has an idea of what they are doing. Standing at our proposed garden spot, facing North, there is 25 miles of power line land that is potentially available for use. Some patches are being utilized already along this corridor; however, this land is largely underutilized. It would be ideal land for urban agricultural movements to take advantage of.
One of our concerns is the power lines being so close and the possible risk factors involved. There are a lot of studies that have been conducted concerning growing food under power lines. So far, the evidence has been inconclusive. Because the food is not there for an extended period time the effects of the EMF’s (electro-magnetic field) is nil. There is some proof of EMF’s affecting trees that grow tall enough to come in proximity of the wires, but this is not the case for low growing food crops.
Sustainable Renton will be installing garden beds available for community use, and a food forest for folks to forage from. The remaining food will be used for our Farm Stand. These projects will help meet Sustainable Renton’s goal of providing local organically grown produce to multiple communities at reasonable rates.
There will be a ceremony honoring this land and our purposes on May 2nd 2016 at 11 a.m. All are welcome.
Sustainable Renton is thrilled to be expanding our reach to help our city and is looking forward to a fruitful and prosperous venture with the The Little Mountain Garden and Earlington Hill Neighborhood.
For more information on this project or to find out how you can get involved please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or the garden site manager Rhoda Green at 425-652-7699.