Tag Archives: Community Gardens

Hilltop Urban Gardens’ Petting Zoo

Last week on Thursday, Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG) hosted a petting zoo at their farm on the corner of 19th and Ainsworth. The animals, brought by Raven’s Grove Family Farm in Shelton, were tiny reminders of how it’s possible to have farms and sustainable food sources right here in the city.

Hilltop neighbors, including kids from the Al Davies branch of the Boys and Girls Club, attended the event. Petting zoo visitors got to see and touch rabbits, pigs, ducks, and goats.

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Hilltop Urban Gardens is a wonderful addition to our neighborhood. Make sure to attend their other events. They work closely with the Boys and Girls Club and believe it is possible for everyone in our neighborhood to sustain themsleves through education and urban gardens.

We hope see the folks from Raven’s Grove Family Farm again soon. The petting zoo was fun. Our daughter’s still talking about it.

Plots Available at Hilltop House Garden

Hilltop House Garden, a community garden at the corner of South 19th and Yakima, has plots available for this growing season.

Hilltop House Garden is a community garden on a privately owned hillside lot.

The garden overlooks much of Tacoma, including the University of Washington Tacoma campus, the port, and beyond. The property includes an orchard at the top and garden plots at the bottom. Gardeners gain access by entering through a gate in the alley below.

Access to the garden is through a gate at the bottom of the property.

Hilltop House Garden is administered through a collaboration between the Guadalupe Land Trust and St. Leo’s Food Connection. It has eleven plots. Gardners must be from Hilltop and agree to help care for the property, including the area around the plots and the orchard. Guadalupe Land Trust’s mission is to “acquire and preserve green spaces in our Hilltop Community. [They] believe [their] gardens will help connect neighbors to one another, nourish and sustain [Hilltop’s] ethnic diversity, and serve as an educational opportunity for [Hilltop’s] young and older community members while providing a place to grow nutritious food. Saint Leo’s Food Connection works to eliminate hunger by providing food to those in need in Tacoma and throughout Pierce County. Their mission states: “We believe that God, out of love, has created a world where there is enough food for everyone. We believe that because of this, everyone has a right to enough food.”

Other Hilltop-area community gardens include:

*Gallucci Learning Garden at the corner of South 14th and G.
*Neighbors Park Garden at South 8th and I.
*McCarver/Zina Linnick Community Garden adjacent to McCarver Elementary at 2111 South J Street.
*Leo’s Garden adjacent to St. Leo’s properties at South 14th and Yakima.
*La Grande Garden, close to Hilltop House Garden and also managed by Guadalupe Land Trust, at South 18th and G.

It’s just about time to begin planting seeds. Interested in tending a plot at Hilltop House Garden? Inquire at (253) 327-1710. For more information about community gardens in Tacoma, visit Tacoma-Pierce County’s Grow Local website. You can also visit the City of Tacoma website for additional community garden information and gardening workshop opportunities.

Planting Seeds

Last week my mother hand-delivered an afghan my grandmother crocheted for us. “It’s garden inspired,” Mom said. “I have to tell it like Grandma did. . . ” She went on to describe the afghan’s carefully selected colors and the meanings behind its reds, greens, oranges, and yellows. “The red stands for tomatoes, the green is for beans, the orange is the carrots, and the yellow is for butternut squash,” she remembered.

Grandma's garden-inspired afghan brings hope and the blessings of spring.

The afghan was such a wonderful gift from Grandma and got me excited for the hope that comes with spring. Around Hilltop lately, buds have been forming on deciduous trees and shrubs. Safeway has been stocking bulbs for a weeks and lately we’ve spotted them carefully making their way out of the ground. Soon the sounds of the Daffodil Parade will be ringing throughout Tacoma and beyond. While the warmth of spring may seem like forever away, this week’s freezing temperatures are only a minor setback compared to what we have to look forward to. 

During my snow day yesterday, I read Paul Fleischman’s short book, Seedfolks. It is a story about neighbors in the city whose paths grow together and change for the better as they each take on their own part in a community garden. One of the community members, Amir, says, “When I saw the garden for the first time. . . I thought back to my parents’ Persian rug. It showed climbing vines, rivers and waterfalls, grapes, flower beds, singing birds. . . Those rugs were indeed portable gardens (58-59).” That is what my grandmother’s afghan is to us–a portable garden–something that will remind us that springtime is always near.

Community gardens offer city dwellers so many things. They give us a place to learn, build memories, fulfill dreams, teach each other, succeed, grow our own food and flowers, and so much more. Hilltop has come a long way since its years of notoriety and is ready for more community sharing and spaces. Friends of the community have worked hard to get us to where we are today.

This year, two spots on Hilltop have been proposed as possible community garden sites. Let’s hope we are fortunate enough to get support from the City of Tacoma so we can plant some seeds.

Tacoma’s Community Garden Program supports gardens city-wide and offers free gardening workshops for city residents. For more information about Tacoma’s Community Garden Program, visit their website.