Tacoma Narrows Rotary sponsored University Place Community Garden (UPCG) Background


The idea of a vibrant community garden started last year with a casual conversation about personal gardens and the poor growing year between a fellow Rotarian and I.  I said the year is so bad I cannot even grow Zucchinis to give them away or something to that effect.  That was when the idea of growing veggies for our local food bank (Families Unlimited Network, FUN) was hatched. 


Community need and interest:

I toured University Place for possible locations, called FUN to assess need and interest, looked at the existing community garden in UP, talked with the current UP Mayor and I decided this would be a great project for our club. This project would be a great signature project for my year as president.  

·         We have a definite need for fresh vegetables at the food bank. Helen McGovern, director of EFN (Emergency Food Network), advises FUN does not get enough fresh food to go around. They currently get approximately 85,000 pounds of fresh and frozen food from EFN.

·         Our community has a large population of Master Gardeners who can help and want to help. They agreed, as a group, to take this project under their wings and provide us with guidance and support. They were the first group to donate to the UP Garden ($250).

·         The City Council, the Mayor as well as the Parks and Recreation board loves this idea. They are very enthusiastic to see a Community Garden started within UP boundaries.

·         Community Support has been positive with more than a dozen site taken before an actual location had been confirmed.


Short and long ranges goals of this Signature Project for Tacoma Narrows Rotary. 

·         Provide food for the FUN

·         Provide fellowship opportunities for our community in the furtherance of charitable work with the local food bank.

·         Provide a starting point to work within one primary school for Rotary to have a presence with younger children with the hopes of creating long working relationships with them and the School.

·         Provide one of two ADA accessible Community Gardens in Tacoma. This site can easily be the best ADA assessable garden in Pierce County if the need is there. (We have room on site for substantial gardening for those with mobility issues whether it be someone wheelchair bound or just not comfortable with kneeling or bending over for long periods of time.)

·         The community betterment from a vibrant community garden has been well documented for the last several years. Some of the benefits seen in other communities have been vast: reduced crime; increased property values; increased individual community involvement; increased mentoring of at risk youth; mentoring of youth; increased community connectedness; and increased involvement of the elderly; and increased involvement of the handicapped. All of which is in addition to providing a resource for FUN to further their impact on our community.

·         Promotion of Tacoma Narrows Rotary club in city, county and in the District.


Tacoma Narrows Rotary Club Role:

Our role is to be one of an initiator and not as an ongoing administration.  As such, two possibilities exist.  One is for the University Place Community Garden to become its own 503 c group; and the other is for the UPCG to become part of another community garden group. Such group exists and we are discussing a union.  


Evergreen Primary’s Role:

The location of the garden is on the property of Evergreen Primary’s grounds (7102 40th Street West, UP). They have a very large and unused space west of their soccer fields which they do not use. This space has ample paved parking and access to potable water. Thanks to the work of Terry Pullen, Deputy Superintendent and fellow Rotarian, we have permission from the School District and the School Board to use this area as a community garden.  The UP Garden Committee wants to work with the principal, Lance Goodpaster in the upcoming year and he is very interested involving the students in some way.


Funding: The start up costs for this project varies greatly as we are trying to get a lot of the costs donated. To date we have the following breakdown. (08/12/2011)


            Water Fee for Resource Planning                                                               $2,382

Water Access Construction cost                                                                  $2,325

                (for a 5/8 inch pipe hooked up to water main on site)

                Water Backflow device                                                                             $125

                Plumbing Permit from City of UP                                                              $50        

                Soil/Targo from City of Tacoma                                                                 Free/Donated

                (All soil needed delivered to site)

                Wood Chips                                                                                                Free/Donated

                Grading and leveling of site                                                                      Free/Donated

                (Donated time and equipment from New Tacoma Cemeteries)

                Signage with Rotary Logo                                                                           $800      

Wood for construction of raised boxes                                                          $1,950 + tax

                (325 5/4thx6x6 Cedar wood)                                                                   (new estimate $800)

                Fasteners/Screws                                                                                       $210 + tax

                (#8, 2” Galvanized Screws)

                Rebar                                                                                                          $130 + tax  

                                                                                 Subtotal                                       $6822