Garden of Eden Urban Farming

Tacoma Urban League Site Demonstrates Productive Concept
photo of rotary structures for hydroponic gardening
Individual and multiple production carousels.
The Garden of Eden of Tacoma Demonstration Project showcases our ability to grow healthy, safe, affordable, organic vegetables, herbs, plants and flowers all year long. In addition to supplying abundant quality food, this project can create many long term, good paying, local jobs and a new sustainable economic institution.

The Garden of Eden is "Urban Farming 24/7/365"-- a new economic engine in our community. It is scalable -- meaning the technology can be configured to support a single family, church, school or community. It has the capacity to impact several thousand local families, seniors, small businesses and other food sellers, generating several million dollars in revenue annually.

Crops produced year-round include: tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, hot chilies, lettuce, mustard and collard greens, chard, cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, beans, snow peas, spinach, bok choy and a wide variety of herbs, flowers and house plants.

Other significant benefits include: higher food quality using a sustainable business model, non-traditional job opportunities, improved food security, more control of food production, community building and local economic revitalization.

The Garden of Eden is open to the public, commercial, customers and through subscription membership. For a nominal fee, members will receive weekly baskets/ boxes of fresh organic vegetables. Sample boxes include, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, herbs, eggplant, beans, bok choy, tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, etc.....all year round.

The Garden of Eden of Tacoma is a Community Agricultural Initiative. It features the collaboration of the Maxine Mimms Academies - a 501(c)(3) non-profit, The Evergreen State College-Tacoma Campus, and the City of Tacoma. Donations in cash and in kind are welcome.

The Garden of Eden reduces costs associated with transportation, packaging, spoilage, pollution, water usage, soil erosion and contamination; and eliminates the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives. It is one of the new approaches that form part of a new direction in food and nutrition policy - one that focuses on health, ecological integrity, education, training, job creation and the development of complete communities. Our experience has led us to define some parameters for a successful growing operation in communities.

Facility - The ideal building structure is a multi-level, mixed-use facility in existing neighborhoods zoned for commercial businesses. The first floor is a farmers-market style retail outlet featuring products grown on-site. The upstairs areas - second, third, fourth floors, etc., are the farm, where continuous growth and harvesting takes place. Innovative technologies and strategies are combined in a new business model for organic food production. Transportation costs are eliminated, reducing prices to consumers.

Food - The use of new indoor farming technology increases the yield by a factor of 3 to 5 times greater than regular soil production. Everything produced is organic without soil, petroleum based fertilizers, or pesticides. The indoor controlled temperature and lighting make year-round production possible and enormously profitable.

Energy - The use of solar panels to generate energy for the lighting and energy needed to support the hydroponic garden systems is part of the design. The solar panel array can initially supplement energy requirements - then later serve as an additional revenue stream through the sale of excess energy produced to local utilities.

Soil - Although GOE is primarily a hydroponic growing operation, the non-edible fraction of our output is composted to provide tilth for other forms of community gardening.
This article has been updated in 2018 to reflect our current efforts in association with Tacoma Urban League. An earlier project culmintated with the graduation of a dozen local trainees, some of whom are working in related industries.