Garden of Eden Indoor Farming
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South King County (WA) food desert mirrors income & neighborhood decline
Placeholder. Article under revision/update.
Dr. Maxine Mimms Visits Tukwila Garden
Well-known Tacoma educator Maxine Mimms recently visited the IFC Garden in Tukwila, Washington. The garden, established in 2021, is currently teaching indoor growing of microgreens and various leafy greens using multiple technologies. Teaching is coordinated by GOE president Michael Twiggs in associating with Maxine Mimms Academy (MMA).

MMA's indoor gardening program was established in 2013 and has trained indoor gardeners in Seattle, Tacoma and other cities. In addition to indoor growing, the program explores business aspects of gardening and the potential role of urban gardening as an economic engine that can innovatively create opportunities based on addressing the "urban food desert" observed in many cities around the world.

Dr. Mimms founded Maxine Mimms Academy in 2004, initially to address concerns about re-engagement of secondary school students who had experienced conflict with conventional education, often due to family and social issues. The Academy has since expanded into other areas of community based education.

Indoor Farm Collaborative (IFC) is a joint venture of several Seattle-area organizations and firms.

Maxine Mimms Biography

Garden friends
In case you're old school and growing outdoors, here are some succesful planting groups. Where your lead "crop" is in the left column, pair with those in the center. We can't attest to the results, but it sounds reasonable. Sign up to share your own experience.
Micro-what? Diversify your diet!
Go to any health food store and you’ll be sure to find microgreens lining the produce section. They have been all the craze in the food sphere for the past couple of years but don’t let all of the hype confuse you–microgreens are a simple way to bring nutritional variety to your diet and can easily be grown in your own home!

Microgreens are a class of vegetable greens, in between a sprout and mature vegetable plant, (typically grown indoors and harvested 10-14 days after planting) and are especially conducive adaptable to an urban agriculture environment.

Microgreens require minimal space, materials and time making them extremely versatile and something you can do at home. They can be produced from a wide variety of plant seeds–sunflower, pea shoots and radish being most common but micro-herbs, -grains, and even -beans too. The possibilities are truly endless.

What they lack in size, they make up for in flavor and nutritional content. Fresh microgreens can contain up to 40X the nutrient content as compared to a mature plant leaf. Due to their high nutritional content, simplicity to grow and delicious bold flavors, microgreens serve as the perfect complement to a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Tune in next week to get the scoop on what you’ll need to get started in growing your own and even one of my favorite recipes for using these delicious and nutritious greens.

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Using a garden to tackle food inequities
Food is a human right. If specific communities are being left out of the equation, we need to break down the food system and rebuild it better. We need to build resilience for all in order to have a collective food secure future ahead of us.

Tackling Food Inequities

Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
The number of individuals, groups and community organizations seeking to build stronger local food systems is growing. It is encouraging to see the USDA continue to provide financial support to city stakeholders as applicants around the country aim to improve their communities through urban agriculture.

Urban Agritecture

Hydroponics Popular with Prison Inmates
From Correspondent John Zarella; reposted from CNN archive, which had somehow lost part of the text and all the graphcs — MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Some novice farmers in central Florida have just brought in their first bumper crop. That's not necessarily unusual -- except that the farmers are inmates at the Seminole County Jail in Sanford, Florida.

Two months ago, the inmates began planting lettuce in 4,000 square foot recreation area converted to hydroponic farming - - farming without soil, usually in moist air, water or other non-soil medium. The Seminole County facility is the first hydroponic jail farm in the country -- and the inmates are doing all the work.

"A win-win situations for us because we train inmates in an industry that's expanding here in central Florida and throughout the country actually," said Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger.

The inmates are buying the idea.

"I never realized I had a green thumb," said Lindsey.

And fellow inmate Charlene said that learning hydroponic gardening is "something we can take with us when we leave."

The idea for the project came from a prison staff member who visited "The Land Exhibit" at Disney's Epcot Center. That exhibit features hydroponic gardening, which proponents believe is a more efficient way of growing food.

But the jail farm is not only a way to educate inmates, said Eslinger, but also a way to save dollars. Money from an inmates' welfare fund covered the start-up costs, and Eslinger said he believes the crops grown will save taxpayers $20,000 in the first year.

"We need probably another 6- or 8,000 square feet of crops to save $100,000 annually," he said.

And the inmates have already learned one of farming's most important lessons.

"I think it'll make it taste better 'cause I'm the one that grew it," said Mildred.

GOE Urban Farming is currently working with an inmate group in Washington to bring microgreens and other hydroponic gardening into the state prison system. The project is popular with inmates but has been delayed for an unknown period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Microgreens Can Diversify Food Systems
Broccoli Microgreens Can Diversify Food Systems
By Carolyn F. Weber
Republished from Frontiers in Nutrition; Nat'l. Institutes of Health


Current malnourishment statistics are high and are exacerbated by contemporary agricultural practices that damage the very environments on which the production of nutritious food depends. As the World’s population grows at an unprecedented rate, food systems must be revised to provide adequate nutrition while minimizing environmental impacts.

One specific nutritional problem that needs attention is mineral (e.g., Fe and Zn) malnutrition, which impacts over two-thirds of the World’s people living in countries of every economic status. Microgreens, the edible cotyledons of many vegetables, herbs, and flowers, is a newly emerging crop that may be a dense source of nutrition and has the potential to be produced in just about any locale.

This study examined the mineral concentration of broccoli microgreens produced using compost-based and hydroponic growing methods that are easily implemented in one’s own home. The nutritional value of the resulting microgreens was quantitatively compared to published nutritional data for the mature vegetable. Nutritional data were also considered in the context of the resource demands (i.e., water, fertilizer, and energy) of producing microgreens in order to gain insights into the potential for local microgreen production to diversify food systems, particularly for urban areas, while minimizing the overall environmental impacts of broccoli farming.

Regardless of how they were grown, microgreens had larger quantities of Mg, Mn, Cu, and Zn than the (mature) vegetable. However, compost-grown (C) microgreens had higher P, K, Mg, Mn, Zn, Fe, Ca, Na, and Cu concentrations than the vegetable. For eight nutritionally important minerals (P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, Zn, and Na), the average C microgreen:vegetable nutrient ratio was 1.73.

Extrapolation from experimental data presented here indicates that broccoli microgreens would require 158–236 times less water than it does to grow a nutritionally equivalent amount of mature vegetable in the fields of California’s Central Valley in 93–95% less time and without the need for fertilizer, pesticides, or energy-demanding transport from farm to table. The results of this study suggest that broccoli microgreens have the potential to be a rich source of minerals that can be produced by individuals, even in urban settings, providing better access to adequate nutrition.

Keywords: microgreens, food systems, minerals, urban agriculture, distributed agriculture, sustainability

Ed.: We note that other studies have reported even higher relative concentrations in cotyledon plants compared to their mature equivalents.

Read the Original Article

Tacoma Urban League to Host Hydroponic Training
Starting in December Tacoma Urban Leage will host a training program on hydroponic gardening. The first seminar will take place December 9 at the League's office. The training is offered in cooperation with Garden of Eden Urban Farming and Maxine Mimms Academy and will be coordinated by Michael Twiggs.

Since spring 2017, Tacoma Urban League has sponsored a hydroponic gardening demonstration garden. A group of students and young entrepreneurs in training is experimenting with growing as part of a future independent commercial project.

Future training sessions will range from DIY home gardening to commercial scale. For more information contact Michael Twiggs via the GOEUF contact form here.
Youth Involvement Strengthens Communities
Far too many of our youth are falling through the cracks - not being serviced in our education system. They are simply not engaged - and if you can't engage them - you can't teach them.

For many years, our approach to instruction has always been a piece meal, cumulative learning experience. Students were given a piece of information to be studied and analyzed; then a second piece; and then another to be combined and studied together within a predetermined context. This was the learning experience, and its been tremendously successful - till now.

Those of us on the front lines have noticed a difference in how today's youth learn and respond to instruction. Many do not respond to the cumulative approach to learning. More than a few report that school is boring; unrelated to their life experience. Teachers report that many students are inattentive; easily distracted. They're distracted because they're not engaged.

In fact, the exact opposite approach has proven to be most effective


More Information about the Event

Schoolteacher farms the Bronx desert
Bronx schoolteacher Stephen Ritz suffered great personal loss. So he refocused on everyone else's kids — and turned a class with a 40% attendance rate to a 93% attendance rate. He was teaching in one of the most troubled schools in the South Bronx. It had a 17% graduation rate, lots of violence, lots of poverty, and lots of really hungry kids.
(Excerpted from

Many of the people who live in the South Bronx also suffer from something called "food insecurity." Food insecurity means you don't know where your next meal will come from. For people who live in food deserts, this is a fairly common feeling. Most of his kids are homeless. Many are in foster care.

So he and the kids created the Green Bronx Machine


Original Article

Finding Quality Wooden Pallets for Craft Projects
I've noticed recently that there is a lot of incorrect or outdated information regarding wood pallets. My company makes dozens of pallets each day so I thought I would clear the air...

More companies are starting to build one-time-use pallets or use heat treatment rather than Methyl Bromide fumigation. Pallets now require an IPPC logo which certifies that the pallet was heat-treated or fumigated with Methyl Bromide.


Tomato or not tomato, that is the question
We've had mixed success with tomatoes in our Seattle project, but others have had better outcomes. Here's one 2014 story from Southern California..

Strawberries for Christmas!
The first strawberries in our newest growing environment, a vertical tower, have begun to redden. This first crop will be subject, of course, to a bit of "professional sampling and quality control" by the staff, but thereafter we will be moving toward a distribution process. By late fall, when others are hiding from rain and snow, ours will be ready to enjoy for the holidays.
Lettuce begin!
The first lettuce crop at our Seattle facility will be ready for harvest soon. The photo shows project director Michael Twiggs with some plants under cultivation. They will be available as "living lettuce" in April. The plants are doubling in size weekly, and this image is already a week old. Also shown are collards, peppers, tomatoes and other species under experimentation as we determine the best combinations of light and nutrients for our facility. (Sorry for the bad pun.)