On a small stretch of interstate right-of-way in South Seattle, nestled between I-5 and the rapidly developing 22-acre public housing development of Yesler Terrace apartments, sits Yes Farm. This Black Farmers Collective project is a 1.5-acre farm designed to build community, provide educational programming, and of course, grow food.
In 2019, KCD awarded EarthCorps, in partnership with Black Farmers Collective, a KCD-Seattle Community Partnership Grant to hire a farm manager. The role was designed to develop the shared garden model of the farm to increase food access for residents living in Yesler’s low-income housing and to provide exposure to environmental careers for youth of color.
Hannah Wilson was hired as Yes Farm’s first farm manager. Under her guidance the farm expanded its footprint in the neighborhood and local food community. The farm holds regular community activities that draw local youth who get a chance to learn from and participate in local food production.
Additionally, the farm provides a sustained and diverse amount of produce to food banks and local markets for those in need. One such partnership with Rainier Beach Action Coalition sees the coalition help harvest produce and compensate the garden for the harvest, while distributing what they’ve gathered for free at their market.
The Yes Farm model is already being replicated for other urban farm projects like the Small Axe Farm in Redmond to recruit and train a farm manager.
The project is now looking at long-term sustainability challenges, including securing additional funding to offer competitive wages for youth working at the farm, adding support for growing the farm’s network of organizational partners, and offering additional training and certification options for participating youth.