Akasanjaku Beans, Ping Tung Eggplant, Molokai Spinach and Armenian Striped Cucumbers are all tastes of home for many of South King County’s newly arrived immigrants and refugees. However, access to these familiar foods is both limited and costly. Thirteen-year-old, Erica A., of Seattle decided she wanted to do something about that and has dedicated her Bat Mitzvah project to growing plant starts that will be distributed at community gardens across South King County this spring. Erica and her father, Larry, met me to plant out the first batch of seed starts earlier this month. The process involved a bacterial wash of the seed trays, filling the trays with starter mix and planting out hundreds of tiny seeds. “It was exciting to hear about how even people who do not have their own land are able to learn about gardening, soil and conservation,” Erica observed. She was particularly interested in International Rescue Committee’s New Roots Namaste Garden in Tukwila, where she hopes to see some of her culturally relevant plant starts grow into food that will provide access to fresh food and a taste of home.
A special thank you to Auburn Mountainview High School for the use of greenhouse space and to Horticulture Instructor, Regina Grubb, and her students for caring for the plant starts.