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Aug 30

Grant Award to Help Harvest Pierce County Focus on Diversity

Posted on August 30, 2016 at 11:05 AM by Allan Warren

Cover PhotoRepresentatives from Tacoma Community College (TCC) and Harvest Pierce County (HPC) pose next to the bilingual sign at the TCC Community Garden, which is primarily tended by Moldovan, Ukrainian, and Russian gardeners. In 2016, HPC worked in partnership with TCC and the gardeners to come up with an inclusive and sustainable leadership structure. Pictured (from left): TCC Director of Facilities Greg Randall, TCC Director of Marketing and Communication Tamyra Howser, Harvest Pierce County Program Director Kristen McIvor, Harvest Pierce County Program Coordinator Micaela Cooley, and Harvest Pierce County Program Specialist Renee Meschi. (Photo courtesy of Jefferson Mok.)

District staff, and especially our Harvest Pierce County team, are excited about a new opportunity to focus on making our programs more inclusive for constituents throughout Pierce County who are non-English speakers. A $50,000 grant from the National Associationof Conservation Districts, sponsoredby the National Resource ConservationService (NRCS), is going to allow for the translation of outreach and education materials into multiple languages, interpreter services at workshops and events, and the recruitment of a team Grant Award to Help Harvest Pierce County Focus on Diversity of bi-lingual local community members to help our HPC team reach out to historically underserved citizens.

The District had identified the need to focus on diversity outreach in our recently finished 2016 – 2020 StrategicPlan, but this grant allows us to get started on this important work much earlier than we anticipated. Though a long term initiative, the grant funds are for one year and so to start, HPC staff will focus efforts on five targeted community gardens, and their associated non-English languages:
  • Kandle – (Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Swan Creek Park – (Vietnamese, Khmer, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Somali, Thai) 
  • Tacoma Community College – (Russian/Ukrainian) 
  • Viet Huong – (Vietnamese) 
  • Salishan – (Vietnamese, Khmer, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Somali, Thai) 
Each of these gardens are in areas that the US Department of Agriculture defines as food deserts, meaning that these community members suffer from lack of access to fresh and healthy food and many of them rely on our community gardens to help provide that access. Yet, language barriers prevent many of the people who need access to our gardens from participating. This initiative will break down those barriers.

What’s more, this project will also help better connect our Harvest team with local staff for NRCS to leverage more resources to help our community gardens throughout Pierce County gain access to things like cisterns and hoop houses, which will help extend the growing season and provide even greater access to healthy food.

For more information about this initiative, contact Renee Meschi: reneeme@piercountycd.org.

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