For the Reporter
A former parking lot in Kent is now a community garden that offers food and kinship for newly arrived immigrants and refugees, thanks to countless volunteer hours and funding through King County’s WaterWorks Grant Program.
The public toured the project on Wednesday, May 9 at the Hillside Church, at 930 E. James St. The family friendly event offered children’s activities and international food samples.
King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division allocated $75,000 in funding to a project spearheaded by World Relief Seattle and the Hillside Church to reduce stormwater pollution and control flooding through the inventive use of green stormwater infrastructure.
The result of the hard work is the Paradise Parking Plots Community Garden, a 1-acre site with 50 garden plots irrigated by harvested rainwater collected and stored in four 4,000-gallon cisterns.
In addition to reducing impervious surface and polluted runoff, the transformed site offers a place for community members to bond while growing their own healthy and culturally appropriate food. The garden project will also feature a full-service commercial kitchen, offering classes on harvest preservation including canning, freezing and fermenting techniques.
World Relief Seattle is one of the largest refugee resettlement organizations in the state of Washington that has resettled more than 30,000 refugees in its four decades of operation. More information on King County’s WaterWorks Grants is available online.