Today I had the pleasure of welcoming hundreds of gardeners from across the globe to Seattle via the 34th Annual American Community Gardening Association Conference. The American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) was founded in 1979 and its mission is, “to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada.”
Past ACGA conferences have been held in New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta, among other cities. We welcome the opportunity to act as host this year and show off our beautiful P-Patches and growing Greenways. Bernie Matsuno, the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods (DON), and her team have worked hard over the past year to bring this exciting conference to our hometown. Employees of DON and the Department of Parks and Recreation(DPR) are presenting several workshops this weekend including: City of Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund Program; Inclusion: Building & Sustaining Community Gardens in Diverse Communities; Market Gardening – Models for Community Food Production on Public Land; Tree Fruit in Parks – Sustainable Bounty or Impossible Dream; and Grow Food: Growing Great Food & Cohesive Community through Food System Programming. I want to thank them for all their great work. Check out the schedule of the conference here.
At the opening session, Valerie Segrest spoke to her passions: social justice and community gardening. Valerie is an enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and a creator and designer of community gardens. She works as the coordinator of the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project and hopes to use both scientific and traditional food and plant knowledge to improve the health of her community. I was grateful to hear her speak and to learn about issues that are effecting both communities around the region and those in Seattle.
The ACGA began today, August 9th, and runs through Sunday, August 11th. You won’t regret taking in a workshop or participating in one of the many tours offered through the conference. Register here!