Urban agriculture in the cold Washington weather

The Giving Garden is adding an on-site greenhouse. In partnership with Christine Stevens, they received funding through the Strategic Initiative Fund for a small 8×10 greenhouse.

“We want to figure out the logistics for a larger greenhouse,” said Garden Coordinator Mikel Pircey. “Our growing season is relatively short here in Washington and we can’t get our plants started until pretty late because it’s so cold. A greenhouse would allow us to start seeds indoors and move them outdoors when they’re ready. It would also allow us to grow more varieties of plants.”  

The Giving Garden at UW Tacoma works to eliminate food insecurity among students through hands-on experience with fresh food that is grown by students, for students. Further, this works to connect them back to their food system and allows students the opportunity to have a sense of power over their food choices. Through its partnership with The Pantry, the university’s on-campus food bank, the garden is able to deliver local produce directly to students in need.

 “Any excess produce goes to St. Leo’s food connection,” Pircey said. The Giving Garden creates a sense of community through their volunteer opportunities, events, and by connecting people living within Tacoma’s urban scene to nature and agriculture. The Giving Garden is a symbol of sustainability and connection to nature in an ever urbanizing world. It shows that Urban life does not need to be devoid of the natural world.

“We have added 20 more raised beds total, nine just over this weekend. We are expanding pretty fast, the greenhouse will take longer due to logistics, but there is a spot for it on-site already planned out,” said Pircey.

The Giving Garden occupies 18,000 sq. ft in downtown Tacoma. This includes 33 raised beds, a 2,000 sq. ft native plant walk, 8 fruit trees, and a Sustainable Hub for Education and Demonstration with a living roof and hempcrete wall. 

The Giving Garden was established in 2009 and is located at the corner of 21st and Fawcett. It is an example of affordable urban gardening, beyond that it serves as an educational research plot for determining best practices and also as a community resource for fresh produce.

All are welcome to stop by and visit the garden or volunteer. If you’ve never been to the garden before, please schedule a short orientation by emailing:
A community partnership with Clover Park Technical College yields the Giving Garden’s new Sustainable Hub for Education and Demonstration (SHED).

A flat bed of artichoke that has been sprouting in the Giving Garden.