Friday, January 21, 2011

Build Your Shed on Solid Ground

On the 25th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday, Habitat for Humanity of East King County AmeriCorps members teamed up with the Habitat Seattle/South King County AmeriCorps to volunteer their time and skills on a community project. The twenty AmeriCorps members partnered with Solid Ground's Lettuce Link Program in Seattle. Lettuce Link is an innovative food and gardening program that creates access to fresh, nutritious and organic produce, seeds, and gardening information for low-income families in Seattle. They work to educate the community about food security and sustainable food production.

As an individual who has operated a food bank in the past and worked on food security and nutrition with lower-income and ethnically diverse communities in the Seattle area, I was thrilled about the program and how it gives residents agency in growing a healthier community! Our countribution to support their newest community garden project was to build a tool shed. Solid Ground supplied the plans for the shed while we procured most of the materials through donations. On MLK Day, part of the AmeriCorps team worked on the shed while others helped with tasks for the farm such as building drainage ditches, creating garden paths, and removing invasive plants. We had a great time working with the folks from Solid Ground and were glad to contribute toward their goal of making the Seattle Community Farm a working farm by spring 2011. Building a shed is no simple task, so the construction experience of AmeriCorps CVLs was certainly invaluable!

The effects of the farm will be far-reaching; produce grown there will stay in the immediate vicinity for Rainier Vista neighborhood residents and it will be used by the Rainier Valley Food Bank and Teen and Childcare Programs. It was an honor to be part of the partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Solid Ground's Lettuce Link program--it illuminated how vital collaboration is in community building and how passion-sharing is essential in building Dr. King's Beloved Community. AmeriCorps members and staff persons from both teams were able to share their diverse skills, ideas, passions, and resources to work toward a unified goal. From this collaboration I was reminded that to serve not only means to give of yourself and your time, but to accept the gift of self and time from others and use those two things for the greater vision.

Thanks to all those involved in organizing this event. Thanks to the two staff members, Andy Varyu and Mike Hammerquist, for working on your day off—an extra thank you to Mike for lending your construction expertise!

Check out the Lettuce Link blog about their take on the service day!

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