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Coronavirus Preparedness At Lighthouse

Lighthouse Volunteers at the Marra Farm Giving Garden

Lighthouse volunteers weed garden beds at Marra Farm.

Marra Farm is 8.7 acres of preserved farmland located in the Duwamish River Valley in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood. A large segment of that land is dedicated to the Marra Farm Giving Garden, where organic produce is grown and youth educational opportunities are created for the community. The Giving Garden is one of many projects run by Solid Ground, a nonprofit organization focused on ending poverty and undoing racism and other oppressions that are the root causes of poverty.

The Marra Farm Giving Garden was first introduced to Lighthouse by Chrissy Bauer, Senior Administrative Assistant at Lighthouse. This past spring, Chrissy took some of her volunteer time off (VTO) to work at Marra Farm with her sister. The two worked with other volunteers to harvest beans, dig garden beds, and plant spinach for the fall harvest. Chrissy enjoyed her experience so much that she organized an Urban Farm Work Party for others in the Seattle office this fall.

“I really appreciate Lighthouse for giving us the opportunity to use our VTO in the community. It was really rewarding to get outside and work in the garden to support the efforts of Solid Ground and the Giving Garden. Plus, it was so nice to see my co-workers in person after so many months!”

– Chrissy Bauer, Lighthouse Senior Administrative Assistant

Seven Lighthouse employees joined Chrissy for a four-hour working session at the farm. Together, they met at the farm where they received an overview of what Marra Farm is, as well as what Solid Ground and the Giving Garden program focus on. Keeping safe social distancing practices in mind as well as wearing masks, the volunteers started by weeding out the garden beds of beets, carrots, and spinach (which happened to be the same spinach that Chrissy planted back in the spring with her sister). After the volunteers finished weeding the beds, they composted their weeds and moved over to another section of the farm, where they removed already harvested green bean plants from their trellises.

“It was great to join my colleagues in volunteering for such a worthy cause. Solid Ground has taken a big hit due to COVID-19, seeing only a quarter of their typical volume of volunteers. Given that the community need is so high for the vital support they provide, anything we can do to help is highly valued and makes a direct impact.

Diane Miller, Lighthouse Senior Director, Marketing
Erica Carr, Lighthouse Project Manager, Advisory Services, removes old green bean plants from trellises.

At the beginning of each season, Marra Farm employees and volunteers plant the vegetables in different sections of the farm than the last season to avoid pests and insects getting too comfortable with their favorite plants being in one area. This also promotes biodynamic farming, adding vitality to the plants and soil. Once the crops have finished producing and are harvested, the team takes out the old plants and plants cover crops until spring when they start the process all over again.

All of the food that is harvested at the Marra Farm Giving Garden is donated to people within the South Park community and to local food banks and senior centers.

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