Love gardening and fresh produce? Find out how King County’s Giving Garden is helping neighbors in need
King County employees and community partners came together last week to celebrate the downtown Goat Hill Giving Garden. Attendees took a short break from their day to enjoy lavender lemonade made with lavender from the garden, pick up giveaways provided by LOOP Biosolids, learn about the history of the garden, and to hear firsthand reflections from Caroline Whalen, Whitney Abrams, Pike Market Senior Center, and many more.
“We provide two meals to 150 people in the downtown area every day. That’s why it means so much to us that you donate the fresh fruits and vegetables grown here,” explains Jeannie Falls, Executive Director of Pike Market Senior Center. The Center provides warm meals, a food bank and other resources for people in need. To date, over 1700 pounds of healthy vegetables, herbs, and fruit from the Garden have been donated to help feed low income and seniors in the downtown area.
“We’re committed to equity and social justice in our programs and design, and are proud to support a program that provides resources for people close to us who may be hungry or homeless,” offers Elissa Benson, Deputy Director of King County’s Facilities Management Division (FMD).
This year, FMD expanded the garden with new raised beds, an irrigation system, and picnic benches, all in support of creating a safe, secure environment. “Seven years ago, I stood in the rain with Executive Constantine and dedicated this space,” recounts Caroline Whalen, King County’s Chief Administrative Officer. “This expansion and the improvements on the Administration building plaza are all part of the County’s efforts to provide space for employees to be active and healthy, and to recharge when needed.”
In its first seven years, the garden has provided an opportunity for employees to learn more about gardening, contribute to their community, and reduce stress. “We know that employees that have strong support at work are more engaged and resilient,” says Whitney Abrams, King County’s Director of Employee Engagement and Support. “That’s why Executive Constantine and I support places like this that give employees a chance to connect with their community and de-stress.”
“We are so thankful to King County leadership, FMD for their expansion work, LOOP Biosolids for providing the soil that nourishes the garden and to our community partners. The garden thrives because of their support and our dedicated volunteers,” offers Caroline Hughes of King County Employee Health and Well-being (EHWB). “The garden is truly a testament to their dedication and willingness to share skills with other employees.”
For more information about the garden or to volunteer, please contact HealthyIncentives@kingcounty.gov.
Click the image below to view highlights from the re-dedication.
To view KCTV’s Goat Hill Giving Garden news conference in its entirety, click here.