Next stop for the Tacoma Art Bus: a community garden near you! On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Art Bus will get off the track of its celebrated Third Thursday Gallery Night tours; instead, it is organizing a Community Garden Harvest Tour of the city’s neighborhood food gardens, to show off the vital and incredible work the Tacoma/Pierce County community has accomplished in building and managing these thriving urban treasures.
Pick from three fun ways to follow-the-plots: hop on the bus, opt for a bike tour of the approximately 10-mile route, or do a self-guided tour with a map courtesy of King’s Books (available from 10am-2pm the day of the event, at 218 Saint Helens Ave. in Tacoma, or download the map here, under 2012 Events, Self-Guided Tour). Both the Art Bus and the cycling group will meet at 10:30am at McCarver Elementary School (South 23rd & South J street). Cyclists, helmets are required! Following the morning tour of nearly 20 gardens, the celebration continues from 1-4pm at The Hub (203 S. Tacoma Ave.), where community gardeners and tour participants are invited to gather for appetizers.
The bus tour is free, but seats are limited and pre-registration is required. To register, click here or call TAGRO at (253) 502-2150.
To encourage visitors to learn the history and interesting facts about Tacoma’s community gardens, there will be a scavenger hunt at the event. Complete the hunt and you will be entered to win some amazing prizes – including gift certificates to Gardensphere and a gift basket from Multicare valued at $250. Scavenger hunt forms will be handed out the day of the event at McCarver Elementary School, and can also be picked up at King’s Books.
Tacoma’s food-growing network – and underground food culture – is fast-growing (joke intended). One of the most innovative and timely new programs is Kevin Freitas‘s Crop Swap, an online community where gardeners can meet and barter the crops they are growing. You can see Freitas’s interview with KIRO radio master gardener, Ciscoe Morris, here.
Community gardens help create great communities, connect people to their food supply, empower residents to grow their own food, promote healthy activity and better nutrition, and create a more livable urban environment. Our local community garden program is adding garden spaces throughout Tacoma as part of the Tacoma-Pierce County Community Garden Program, a collaborative effort of the City of Tacoma, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Metro Parks, Pierce County, Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy) and other community groups.
As you do the circuit of healthy, overflowing, lovingly tended gardens on Sept. 15, you’ll see “organic art” (leafy squash, sunripe tomatoes, rampant zucchini), produced by local green thumbs. Who knows, you may even be inspired to pick up a shovel, some FREE, award-winning TAGRO soil (produced by the City of Tacoma’s wastewater treatment center), and find a community garden near you!