Urban Community Farming in Olympia, Washington
By Clare Follmann | GRuB | October, 2020
GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty) is a 501(c)3 community nonprofit which works at the intersection of food, education, and health systems to grow healthy food, people, and communities. At its core is the GRuB urban community farm located on the westside of Olympia. This 2 acre farm, composed of a variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers, wild plants, chickens, and more, serves as the living classroom for many of our community programs and projects. GRuB sells some of the harvest through CSA shares, and aims to donate half the food grown to such organizations as: Food not Bombs, the Thurston County Food Bank, EastWest Food Rescue, and low income families in the community. GRuB’s programs include:
The GroundED Program: A sustainable agriculture-based alternative education program in which youth work to complete their GED while growing and distributing nearly 15,000 pounds annually of produce and flowers from the GRuB farm. Through this work, youth learn practical skills, social skills, collaboration skills, as well as skills in leadership and facilitation. Youth in GroundED have the opportunity to continue their learning in other seasons while increasing their levels of learning and leadership in sustainable agriculture and food system change.
The GRuB Garden Project (GGP) and Food Investment Gardens (FIG): Each spring, GRuB partners with veterans, individuals, families, and organizations to build backyard vegetable gardens. The GGP offers free gardens, including hand-built garden beds, vegetable seeds, plant starts, cover crop mix, and our extensive gardening workshop series, to low-income families, while also connecting garden recipients with the greater gardening community. People who don’t qualify for the free gardens may purchase a FIG as an investment in both GRuB’s mission and their own health and enjoyment of growing food.
Victory Farm: Located in Lacey on the grounds of the Thurston County Food Bank, the Victory Farm offers hands-on opportunities for veterans to develop their skills in sustainable small-scale urban agriculture and food production. Learning opportunities include (and are not limited to): irrigation, fungi cultivation, vegetable propagation and cultivation, soil health, harvest techniques, and small market management. Victory Farm is a safe, non-confrontational environment where veterans work shoulder to shoulder, immersed in the healing nature of the outdoors, agriculture and dirt work. In this environment, we find new meaning and purpose.
GRuB Wild Foods and Medicines: We partner with native educators, Elders, and cultural experts in developing educational tools that are place-based, promote respect for the land, and increased understanding of tribal history, traditions, and food sovereignty. Through discovering the wonders of plant life through an educational approach steeped in traditional Indigenous knowledge, WFM helps people build skills in food security, health, social/emotional intelligence, and land stewardship.
*Honoring cultural property rights and protected knowledge is an important part of this work. We respect and honor Native communities’ right to keep sacred knowledge within their communities, and strive to share knowledge that is appropriate for a broader audience.